A Christmas Challenge by Pastor Scott Lively
Of all the ethnic groups in this world, I love Jews the most, because my Lord and Savior, Yeshua Hamashiach (Jesus Christ) was one, and because some of my greatest friends and benefactors throughout my life have been Torah-faithful Jewish people whose sincere care for others reflects the love of God. Among these I count a Jewish Cadillac Dealer who picked me up hitchhiking near Boston as a young teenager and took me into his home where his family cared for me like a son during a period of crisis in my life, and later a special-ed teacher who went out of his way to get me placed in a far-left “hippie” alternative school after I had dropped out of high school in a spiral of self-destruction – an intervention that (strangely enough considering my conservatism today) helped turn my life around. There have been many others.
Yet, at the same time, some of those who call themselves Jews have been among the most cruel and destructive to me personally – and to all of humanity – by aggressively undermining the law of God upon which the infrastructure of Judeo-Christian civilization rests. Among these are unscrupulous men of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the billionaire Paul Singer, patron of the so-called Human Rights Campaign, who all have singled me out for vilification and harassment for publicly scrutinizing the LGBT movement and its history through the lens of the Hebrew Torah they themselves reject. And who could forget the curse inflicted on the world by Torah-faithless Jews like George Soros, and various Jewish Hollywood and news media moguls in the mold of Harvey Weinstein, who use their influence (and push fake news) to degrade rather than uplift society.
I am reminded of the profundity of Jeremiah, Chapter 24, in which God Himself compares the Jews of pre-captivity Jerusalem to figs: the good ones being like the choicest first fruit of the season, while the bad ones were too rotten to eat. As His chosen people, Hebrews have always been intended to represent the best and worst of mankind – measured by their faithfulness to His law — demonstrating in their own lives the consequences of their obedience or rebellion, with significant implications for the entire world.
Indeed, it was the Jewish intellectual become Christian apostle Paul who observed in his letter to the Romans “A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew because he is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code” (Romans 2:28-29) citing the “circumcision of the heart” promised by God to faithful Hebrews in Deuteronomy 30:6.
It is this spiritual truth that explains the meaning of the word “Semite” (Shemite) by which Jewish identity is linked to Noah’s son Shem, held by Hebrew sages to be none other than Melchizedek, the Priest of the Most High God, to whom Abraham paid homage in Genesis 14. Thus it is that “Semite” does not define an ethnicity – for the physical descendants of Shem are vast in number (especially compared to the Jews) and include untold numbers of Jew-hating Islamists. “Semite” is instead a religious designation meaning “Worshiper of Yahweh,” for that is what has always distinguished true Jews from fake ones, and what has always allowed non-Hebrews to become true Jews per Deuteronomy 23:7-8 and other passages. And, importantly, faithfulness to Yahweh is judged most pivotally over the issue of male homosexuality, for it is no accident that Melchizedek’s rival for the fealty of Abraham in the pivotal story of Genesis 14 is King Bera of Sodom, whose name means King of Evil, while Melchizedek means King of Righteousness.
That same homosexual issue serves as a key litmus test for Jews today. As wise Solomon observed, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
In a recent conversation with an Orthodox Rabbi with whom I’ve been friends for years, I opined that the rise of anti-Semitism around the world is rooted in large part in the perception that Jews are behind the rising tide of moral depravity afflicting the entire planet today. This opinion (re the anti-Semites) is informed by my personal observations in a study of the populist/nationalist movement through travel in 27 countries in the past two years. One can almost correlate the degree of suspicion of Jews in these nations to the degree to which George Soros and his cronies have been active in their societies, especially in Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation. It also does not escape the attention of the world – including billions of morally conservative Moslems, Buddhists, Hindus and Christians — that Torah-faithless Jewish leaders are among the most vocal champions of the American-style sexual perversion that has overflowed into their nations with such terrible consequences.
Because I work closely with many Torah-faithful Jews I know those perceptions are false: for every morally regressive left-wing Jew like Al Franken, there are many Torah-faithful Jews just as aghast as the rest of us over their immoral agenda. But there are bitter memories and fears among true Jews about the consequences of taking a strong, public moral stand. According the German Jew Samuel Igra, author of Germany’s National Vice (1945), it was the righteous Jewish newspaper publisher Maximilian Harden who exposed a homosexual cabal in control of Kaiser Wilhelm’s pre-WWI German government, leading to a series of major public trials from 1907-1914. Those trials angered the growing German “gay” subculture, including the young Adolf Hitler (who was, according to Igra, a male teen prostitute in Munich and Vienna in those years), turning him violently against the Jews because they were responsible for the “homophobic” moral crackdown. When Hitler’s Nazi Party later started scapegoating Jews, the majority Christians did not come to their defense (with some exceptions) and the result was the Holocaust.
During my recent visit to Israel, leading a tour group of Christians, I stayed at a guest house in Old Jerusalem on the grounds of the oldest Protestant church in the Middle East, ground-zero in the Anglican Christian effort to repatriate Jews to the Holy Land many years before the political movement called “Zionism” would be founded. My email and Facebook comments at that time triggered a backlash from anti-Zionists, whom I vigorously debated by email for many subsequent weeks and lost at least one friend in the process.
This led me to a great deal of self-study and contemplation about the issues touched upon in this article, and numerous failed attempts to put these thoughts in a form that balances two perspectives that divide lots of Christians into two opposing camps: those who love Israel and the Jews so much they won’t admit some men and some Israeli policies are just plain bad, and those who hate Israel and the bad Jews so much they won’t admit that many Jews are righteous, some of them exemplary. For my part, I will continue to seek and speak the truth in a balanced and objective manner.
The New Testament contains a famous proverb about the wheat and the tares, a metaphor for true and false Christians. That metaphor reflects the same spiritual principle as Jeremiah 24: Christians are wheat, Jews are figs, but the lesson is the same. And just as Christians have the duty to make the distinction between good and bad examples of their faith clear to the world, so do the Jews. We can and should all fight anti-Semitism by exposing the fake Jews pushing an anti-Torah agenda, but true Jews need to take the lead.
I challenge us all to recognize that Bible-faithful Christians and Torah-faithful Jews should be better friends to each other than we are to the faithless members of our own group, and to work together to restore to our society the truths we hold in common.