The Plight of the Jews
Part 2 of a 4 Part Series
I apologize that this piece is lengthy. The length is necessary to give Gentile Christians an elementary understanding of the plight of the Jews throughout the past 2,000 years. It is important for every believer to know the extent to which ignorance caused our spiritual ancestors to persecute the Lord's ethnic kinsmen, the Jews. The article's introduction is in the body of this email. The rest is the MS Word rtf attachment. Hopefully you will read the download.
I will begin with a capsulated version of the testimony of a dynamic minister friend of mine. His name is Cesar Leyva Nieto and he pastors the Church on the Rock of Harrisonville, MO. He introduced himself as a Mexican until about a year ago. It was then that he discovered that he is actually 100% Jewish. His story confirms much of what is stated in this article. That is especially so of how his family immigrated to the sector of Mexico that is now called Texas; and how he came to the revelation of Christ while alone in style of the Apostle Paul.
A Jewish historical society was doing a series of articles on successful Hispanics who have Sephardic Jewish roots. When they contacted Cesar, he vehemently and truthfully denied any knowledge of Jewish lineage. He explained that he was a 6' 5'' Mexican preacher who prophesied and spoke in tongues. The interviewer disclosed the history of both of his parent's family names assuring him that he was a Jew. In disbelief he told his mother about the call and she spilled the refried beans.
She explained that his paternal and maternal ancestors had fled Spain on the heels of another phase of the Spanish Inquisition that began in 1492. As usual, the Catholic Church played a heavy hand in authorizing clergymen to assist and accompany arresting officers. Cesar's forefathers had been tormented and tortured and their properties confiscated. They barely escaped to the New World with little more than their lives.
The same Church was there to meet them in Mexico/Texas with all of its prejudice and cruelty. One of his maternal grandmothers was publically beaten by Americans because she had born a brood of despised Jews to contaminate the culture. He had a grandfather who met discrimination and racial slurs as a Military Policeman in the US Army. Therefore, the family decided to hide their ethnic identity. The only remnant holdover was a curious lighting of candles on Friday nights. Throughout his childhood, Cesar never had a clue about the candles' announcement of Sabbath Eve.
It was customary for Sephardic Jews that immigrated to Mexico to attempt to keep low vocational profile. However, blessed cream has a way of rising to the top. In spite of their efforts, many became wealthy. A few chose organized crime. Cesar Nieto's father, Abel was one who did so and became one of the region's most powerful drug lords.
Cesar had a keen academic mind, but carried tough guy ways prior the first stages of his salvation process. His first encounter was through an angelic visitation. The angel walked into his room when Cesar was 17 years old. The visitor told him that he needed to “obey.” He did so and was converted. Later on he was translated into heaven and found himself plastered in a prostrate position between two sets of feet. The set on his right glistened with a gloriously white light. The set on his left were human feet. An angel picked Cesar up and placed him immediately in front of the human feet. The revelation of what was happening permeated his entire being: He had no right to approach the Father's feet without the necessity of obedience at Jesus' feet.
I am so glad that Cesar Leyva Nieto has been faithful to the implication of that divine encounter. After his Jewish discovery, he adopted the middle name of Leyva in respect for his mother's Levitical family heritage. Incidentally, Cesar married a Jewess and his married siblings all married Jews. God has a way of guiding His chosen in every path of life.
Abraham's grandson, Jacob complained of ill treatment by his uncle Laban in Genesis 31:36, 38-42. His complaint was that Laban had changed the terms multiple times over a twenty year period for the exchange of Jacob's labors for the right to wed Rachel and to earn a livelihood. Jacob rebuked Laban by telling him that had it not been for God's intervention that Laban would have sent him back to Israel empty-handed.
Throughout the past 3,500 years of Jewish history, the treatment of Jacob's descendants in countless Gentile nations has been far harsher than what Jacob experienced. Jews have experienced incidents of divine interventions, but they have been far and few between after the birth of the Church. Though they have been instrumental in blessing Christianized employers and societies, the terms for them to be accepted have never been firmly established. Without question, the Jews have been persecuted more extensively and for a longer duration than any other single ethnic group.
The Old Testament testifies that the Egyptians enslaved the Jews for 430 years. The Babylonians did so for 70 years and the Persians for 84 years. That totals 584 years. That is considerably longer than the indignities suffered by Africans who were sold by fellow Africans into the hands of European slave traders for export to the Americas.
In addition, the Jews have undergone excessive persecution, prejudice and job discrimination in every nation they have inhabited since the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Their properties and fortunes have been confiscated. Their homes and synagogues have been torched and their families brutalized, raped and slaughtered. In the majority of cases these political/religious motivated injustices culminated with Jewish expulsion from those nations. Time after time, Jews were forced to wander as refugees into other nations only to undergo a similar plight.
Yet, in every nation and culture the Jews have consistently been a blessing. The God of Abraham has always faithfully empowered them to be creative and innovative in the midst of adverse circumstances. Brilliant Jews have never failed to enrich their persecutors through their God given abilities in the sciences, medicine, the arts, and business. A candid examination would reveal that wherever there have been advances in any society graced with a Jewish presence, the key figures responsible have been Jewish more often than not.
The Nobel Prize has been awarded to at least 139 Jews. It is likely that the number of Jewish recipients exceeds that of any other single religious group. They certainly leave Muslims sitting in the dust. Muslims represent 20% of the global population and Jews represent 0.2%. Muslim recipients of the Nobel Prize number under a dozen and most of them were educated in the universities of Christian nations.
It is often said that the most important commodity that one can possess is his health. We have the Jews to thank for many of the advances that have been made in the field of health. On a per capita basis, their lead in medical innovations is disproportionate to those of any other ethnicity.
Here are just a few of their accomplishments: Vitamins; the concept of a balanced diet for health; the Schick test for diphtheria; scratch test for allergies; the first doctor of pediatrics; the Salk polio vaccine; the March of Dimes; the antibiotic streptomycin; the drug Salvarsan to cure syphilis; appendicitis surgery and pioneering the study of human psychology. In addition, America's system of public school nursing, city playgrounds and public bath facilities to promote health were launched by the efforts of Jewish citizens. Surely we can make it through life without Jewish help, but not in health!
In the area of religion they gave us: The Scriptures; the concept of a Loving Heavenly Father; the covenant promises of the blessings of prosperity, healing and harmonious marital relationships; our prophets and apostles; and most of all, our Eternal Savior. We owe the Jewish people a tremendous debt of love and respect for all the contributions that they have made to our spiritual, financial, and physical well-being.
Spiritual DNA Hinders Christian Conversion
God has two covenant people, the Church, and the Jews. The Christian Church is presently incomplete in fulfilling its description as the true Zion or Israel of God. Jesus, when speaking to the Jews, said that He had sheep that were not of their fold. (John 10:16) The implications are that Jesus has one flock, but two folds. The two folds are the Jewish fold and the Gentile fold. He will ultimately draw them together into one flock for His glory. Individuals who are permitted to come into His flock must come to God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. However, The Father's timing and manner of wooing people to the Cross is different for those of the two respective folds.
Historically, God blesses the Gentiles through the Jews. They gave us our Savior and the revelation of His Lordship through the preaching of Jewish apostles and prophets. These men penned the Bible that directs us to the path of repentance, faith, and salvation. Non-Jewish converts often testify as to how they met the Lord through the witness of the Christian Bible, evangelistic preaching, or another believer's testimony. This is rarely the case with Jews.
Most Jews will not read the New Testament and are seldom impressed by a Gentile's testimony of salvation. The thought of exposure to Christian evangelistic preaching is shunned. In the isolated instances where Jewish hearts are opened by the Holy Spirit to receive the testimony of others, it is most often that of a Messianic Jew. For most of them, only the testimony of a fellow Jew would have the remote potential to be deemed as credible. Normally when a Jew finds Christ it is commonly reported that he has experienced a direct, personal, spiritual encounter with Jesus while alone.
Why is it that Jews reject the evangelistic efforts of Gentiles that use the truths of salvation based upon the Scriptures written by Jews? They find it difficult to comprehend the messages as credible because the Lord has often historically used the Gentiles as instruments to judge them for their disobedience. In biblical times they were judged at the hand of the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and Romans. During more recent history it has been Czarist Russians; Nazi Germans; and Muslim and Communist regimes.
It is interesting to note that the truth of Jesus' warning that we are justified or condemned by our words is born-out by the persecutions of the Jews at the hands of the Romans, Russians and Germans. They chose Barabbas to be released and opted that their own Messiah would be crucified in his place. In addition they said, “His blood be on us and on our children” and “We have no king but Caesar” (Matt. 27:15-26, Mk. 15:6-15, Lk. 23:1-25, Jn. 19:15) This was a self-inflicted curse.
Barabbas was a murderer and political agitator. In 70AD the Romans destroyed Herod's Temple and lined the streets of Jerusalem with crucified Jews. The Russian word Czar is derived from the word Caesar. The Czars instigated the Pogroms that mercilessly wiped out thousands of the Jewish inhabitants of Russia. Adolph Hitler based Mien Kampf on a book titled, The Decline of the West by Oswald Spengler. One of its themes was that the world needs another Caesar. Hitler comprised his elite SS henchmen from the murderers and political activists that he freed from German prisons.
It should also be noted that what goes around comes around. The Bible says that whoever curses the Jews will be cursed in return. (Gen 12:3) The Roman Empire collapsed. The Czarist rule of Russia was ruthlessly ended by Bolshevik Communists who had been inspired by the writings of Marx and Engels who were both Jewish. The Communist leader Stalin butchered millions of Russians. The two World Wars coupled with pro-abortion policies have put the German nationality in danger of extinction. In a sense, they are threatened with the eradication that they intended for the Jews. In an attempt to counteract this, the German government pays those who have children “kinder-gilt”. It is a benefit awarded only to German citizens who have children.
Many contemporary evangelicals find it difficult to understand the Jew's aversion to the Christian faith and the Name of Jesus. They are often mystified as to why their syrupy expressions of Jesus' love are met with a cold shoulder and in some instances mocking hostility.
I believe that there are two reasons for this. One is the brutal inhumanity that those who call themselves Christians have demonstrated against the Jews for the past 2,000 years. The other is the timing of God's plan for a mass in gathering of the Jewish people prior to the Second Advent of the Lord.
Most Gentile Christians are oblivious to the negative imprint that the Church has made in the name of Christ on the collective Jewish psyche over the past two millennia. Historically, Christians have demonstrated anything but the love of God to the Jews. Under the banner of the Church and our love for Jesus we have either actively participated in or ignorantly allowed the persecution of the Jews in nearly every nation that calls itself Christian. Our unscriptural, anti-Semitic theology has paved the way for habitual expressions of animosity, social degradation, and forced baptisms. The histories of Christian nations reflect the shameful practice of awarding custodial rights of Jewish children to Gentiles; and the unjust persecutions, torture and exiles of Jewish citizens. For centuries misguided Gentile Christians chose the Holidays of Christmas and Easter as occasions to perpetrate barbarous crimes against the Jews who lived among them. Because of this, one could say, that it is as though there is something in most every Jew's historical and spiritual DNA structure that interprets the Cross as a symbol of disaster.
When they are confronted with the Gospel, especially through a Gentile, there is often something that is alerted within them which says; “Danger, danger, fight or flee”. This phenomenon could be compared to the ability of various species within creation to adapt to their environments. If there is a poisonous plant indigenous to an area, the wildlife adapts and over time learns to avoid it. Once the adaptation is secure, an alarm imprint within animal DNA causes all future generations to have an aversion to that which their ancestors found toxic.
The following is a brief overview of what has caused the negative imprint in the Jewish mind that hinders them from embracing Christianity. This overview features some overlaps where persecutions by Christian, Communist and Islamic regimes occurred simultaneously.
The First Century - There was a war between the Jews and Rome. At that time there were well over 50,000 Jewish Christians in Jerusalem. When the Romans assaulted the Holy City, the Christians interpreted it as the fulfillment of Christ's prophecy of Matthew 24:15-17. As a result Messianic Jewish Christians refused to defend their homeland and fled to the city of Pella that is in modern day Jordan. Israel's fighting forces were diminished by the exodus of Messianic believers. Jerusalem was captured, 600,000 Jews were butchered; 115,000 were exported as slaves and their national temple was burnt to the ground. This particular Roman siege took more lives than all the bombings of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Tokyo combined.
The Second Century - A Jewish nationalist named Bar Kokohba led a revolt against Rome. He was defeated in 135 AD and the emperor Hadrian vindictively decided to wipe out the name and memory of Israel. Therefore he renamed Israel after their age-old enemies the Philistines. He called the area Syria et Philistia. Up until that time, it had always been known as Israel or Judea, the home of the Jews.
The word Palestine is a corruption of the word Philistine. Every believer with Bible knowledge understands that God delivered the land of Israel from the Philistines and gave it to the Jewish descendants of Isaac. During the years in which the world maps of Christian nations labeled Israel as Palestine it was a subtle insult to the Jewish people.
The Fourth through the Sixth Century - St. John Chrysotom, St. Gregory of Nyssa, Hilary of Poiters, and many other noted church leaders preached that synagogues were the caverns of brigands and the dens of wild beasts. Jews were denounced in hundreds of sermons as greedy, lustful, inveterate murderers who were possessed by the devil. Jews were forbidden to serve in any public office and marriage to a Jew was considered a filthy union punishable by death.
Islam from the Seventh Century onward - The Arab, Mohammed instituted the political religious system of Islam in 610AD. He envisioned that Christians and Jews would adopt his faith. He was enraged when they resisted. Since that time, Islam has waged discrimination, war and genocide against Jews and Christians in every nation where Islam has dominance. The subjugation and eradication of Christianity and Jews is Islamic policy. Modern leaders of Islamic stronghold nations such as Iran and Egypt are calling for wiping Israel and the Jews from existence. As recently as the summer of 2012 the Muslims of 14 nations burned down churches and synagogues and thousands of Christians and Jews were forced to flee their homelands.
The Twelfth and Thirteenth Century - In England all Jews and their properties were considered the property of the king. A wealthy Jew of Bristol refused to pay exorbitant taxes. His punishment was to have a tooth extracted for each day that he withheld payment. Between 1262 and 1279AD there were 1,780 Jews executed in London alone. King Edward I ordered every living Jew to leave his realm by All Saints Day of 1290.
The Catholic Church incited thousands of its members to make Crusades to the Holy Land to liberate it from the hands of Islamic and Jewish infidels. In England, France
and Germany civilians demonstrated their
support for the troops by rioting against the Jews at home. They torched homes
and synagogues and thousands were killed.
For instance, when Richard the Lion-Hearted left England it is estimated that Londoners slaughtered 1,500 English Jews. On their way to Jerusalem the Crusaders raped and pillaged their way through the Jewish communities of the Mediterranean and Middle East. Their justification for killing thousands and impaling infants on their lances was that they were of the hateful race that had killed Jesus.
In reality the Jews were not solely responsible for the death of Christ. It was actually the Romans who crucified Him due to pressure from the religious sect of the Pharisees. They, in turn were being motivated by satanic influences that were permitted to fulfill the pre-determined plan of God.
The Fourteenth Century - The Black Death plague hit Europe and the Jews were blamed. In Spain, Jews were coerced through torture to confess to poisoning wells with a concoction made of lizards, frogs, spiders, human hearts, and the sacred hosts. The story spread like wildfire throughout Christendom. In Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium,
Poland and Austria the pattern for sending
thousands of Jews to be burned at the stake were similar. False accusations
were followed by trials, torture, forced confessions, and then the flames. The
“Christians” of Europe were so blinded by hundreds of years of anti-Semitic
propaganda that they were unable to recognize that Jews were dying from the
Black Death alongside Christians. The Church was too ignorant to perceive that
it would have been suicidal for the Jews to poison the wells from which they too
The Fifteenth - Seventeenth Century - The Catholic Church in Spain and Portugal had vicious Inquisitions. Jews and Marranos (Jews who had converted to Christianity, but were suspect of secretly practicing Judaism) were tortured and killed by the thousands. Those who refused baptism died, their properties were confiscated and their kidnapped children were raised as Christians in homes throughout Europe. Under the leadership of Martin Luther came the reformation and the Protestant Church. Luther began his ministry with high hopes that the Jews would join his new denomination. When they did not, he became enraged and began to preach and publish scurrilous sermons accusing them of being doomed to hell as anti-Christ devils who were guilty of ritualistic murders. In his last sermon before his death he called for all Jews to be expulsed from Germanic provinces.
1648-58 AD - This decade was perhaps the bloodiest in Jewish history until the Holocaust. Czarist Cossacks incited by the Eastern Orthodox Church blitzed through 700 Jewish communities of the Ukraine and Poland. It is estimated that at least 500,000 Jews died. Historians report that victims were skinned alive and left to the agony of a lingering death. Infants were slit like fish before their mother's eyes. Pregnant women were ripped open and then sown back again with live cats thrust into their wombs.
The Nineteenth and Twentieth Century - Czarist pogroms or purging of Jews from Russian cities caused thousands to flee to other nations as synagogues and homes were plundered and burned.
1939-45 AD - 6 million European Jews perished in the Holocaust. When Hitler wrote Mein Kampf, he appealed to German Christians whose minds had already been polluted by hundreds of years of anti-Semitic Lutheran and Catholic theology. He wrote: “I believe that I am today acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jews I am fighting for the work of the Lord.”
After the war it was inconvenient for the European nations to have Jews wandering about as displaced persons. Therefore, the Allied Forces returned scores of thousands to the very camps from which they had been liberated. In reality, the only things that had changed were the nationality their captors and the amount of food supply. The Nazis had killed them. The United Nations would not allow them to live as free human beings. Tragically, the Jews were not actually completely liberated from the concentration camps of Europe and Cyprus until 1947.
The victorious Allied Forces discovered the Nazi's cache of gold bullion. Much of it had been cast from the fortunes and dental work of Jews who had perished in the work camps. Conscience would dictate that these resources rightfully belonged to the Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. It could have been a tremendous asset to help resettle European Jews in new homes and vocations. It would have gone a long way in helping establish the State of Israel as a homeland for Jewish people. However, the Allied Forces shamefully opted to give $44 million of Jewish fortunes to the Gentile industrialists of the nations that had sided with Germany during the war in order to help them rebuild their economies.
1960-Present Day - The sentiments of Europeans and their governments remain anti-Jew and anti-Israel. To their own hurt, they reject the Jews and welcome Muslims. They have most definitely chosen the wrong group of the sons of Abraham. Immigrate Muslims have been draining the socialistic welfare systems of European nations dry for the past 50+ years. Muslim birth rates outpace that of Europeans and they are now empowered to take Europe over politically. It is estimated that the entirety of Europe will be under Shariah Law by 2050. That will intensify everything related to anti-Semitism.
An Important Question
Is there any hint in the Scriptures that there was a potential for something like the Holocaust to happen? I think so. Jeremiah 16:15-18 it says that fishermen and hunters would pursue the Jewish people to get them back to their own land. The fishermen could be the Zionist beginning with Theodore Herzl who entreated the Jews of Europe to return to Israel. The hunters could be the Nazis who relentlessly hunted them down. Without question, had it not been for the population growth within Israel spawned by those two movements, Israel would not have the strength to thwart the intents of Islamists today (Rom. 8:28).
The Twenty-first Century - In America and Europe anti-Semitism flourishes through the efforts of the Klue Klux Klan, neo-Nazi, and Aryan purist groups. They label Jews as Christ-killers who manipulate the world's economy for their greed. More often than not they use the Gospel of John and other New Testament passages as their proof texts. Using isolated texts like John 9:22, 19:38 they punctuate that the true Christians were apprehensive of reprisals from “the Jews.” They fail to discern that the authors of the texts were themselves Jews who were referring solely to the Jewish clergy and political leaders who had rejected Christ.
Contemporary anti-Semitic groups also erroneously assert that the Jews, the Hebrews, and the Israelites are separate, distinctive people groups. They try to persuade their adherents that Christians are the true Hebrews. They assert that the Church, independent of a future massive ingathering of Jews, is the sole true Israel of God and that Jews are despicable enemies of God.
The Apostle Paul certainly had an excellent understanding of the terms Jews, Israelites, and Hebrews. He claimed to be all three. Though he was born of the tribe of Benjamin he proclaimed that he was a Hebrew of Hebrews, an Israelite and a Jew. (Rom. 11:1, Philip. 3:5, Acts 21:39) In reality, the words Jew and Jewish refer to religion and culture. Hebrew and Hebrews refer to a language and a genealogy which can be traced back to Abraham and Isaac. And, Israelites are those born to citizens of Israel or within Israel's borders.
With this horrendous history how can we Gentiles expect to win Jews for Christ? The truth is that it is unlikely that most Gentile believers will be primary participants in the process through any means beyond intercession and the support of Messianic Jewish ministries that are effective in reaching their kinsmen. In most circumstances, Jewish evangelism is a privilege that the Lord has reserved for Himself. He will bring the Jews into His flock, in His own time through a global sovereign move of the Holy Spirit on Jewish hearts.
When this happens it is unlikely that it will be Gentile missionaries who can claim the credit. We can pray for that day and soften Jewish hearts through acts of gratitude and kindness. However, it is doubtful that our preaching will be a common factor in the conversion of the majority of Jews. The Lord will meet them in divine visitations as He did Jacob and the Apostle Paul. He will begin to take them aside individually to reveal Himself to them as their Messiah.
These private encounters will be much like that of Joseph when he made his identity known to his brothers in Egypt. As the Messiah's identity is made known to their spirits they will look on Him whom they pierced and mourn. Jesus will comfort them by telling them that even though they ignorantly meant it for evil, that God meant it for good. In a relatively short time millions of Jews will pass under the rod and into the bond of the New Covenant.
Ezekiel 20:33-37 "As I live," says the Lord GOD, "surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you.  I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face.  Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you," says the Lord GOD.  "I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant;
The Jews, as the natural branches of the olive tree will be grafted in among Gentiles who are the wild olive branches. Their initial rejection of the Gospel brought us salvation. Their acceptance will usher in life from the dead or the resurrection of all deceased believers from their graves and the Second Coming of the Lord to planet earth. (Rom 11:11-12, 15, 23-29)