THE ANTIDOTE FOR ANTI-SEMITISM
By Dr. J. Vernon McGee
"The primary step that every
believer in Christ should take today is to understand the biblical
background for anti-Semitism and to understand what is the
underlying cause of it."
the experience of the Holocaust under the Hitler regime, you would
think that the world would have moved away from anti-Semitism. But
fresh outbreaks are appearing in many countries. With Nazi
atrocities so fresh in our minds, we are shocked and startled by
this. The concentration camps and ovens of Dachau are still grim
reminders of the awful thing known as anti-Semitism.
There was the wholesale slaughter of a race and of a people who
numbered about seventeen million at the beginning of the Hitler
regime. By the end of World War II they were reduced to eleven
million. Not all of them were slain in Germany but in other
countries of Europe, also. It was unparalleled in the history of the
world – with two possible exceptions, as we shall see.
The leaders of the world are puzzled by the manifestation of
anti-Semitism. They do not know how to explain it. It has been
interesting to read the reactions and attitudes toward it. Some
dismiss it with a wave of a hand as the work of cranks, that it is
sort of like a bad dream that will go away in the morning. Others
attribute it to Communism or to some other ideology that foments
strife between races and among different classes of this earth.
Others consider it as one of the first signs of a diabolical
organization with a sinister plot, global in extent, and working
under cover. Some of us have reason to believe that there is such an
Regardless of the cause of the recent outbreak, no responsible
leader today thinks that it should be ignored. All agree that it
should be stamped out as you would stamp out a forest fire. They are
afraid it might spread, that it might become very serious, which it
could. Because of world reaction to it and the fact that so many
leaders were firm in their statements after World War II, it
disappeared almost as suddenly as it appeared. And it went under
cover, of course.
No real Christian today who knows his Bible can have any part in
anti-Semitism, nor can condone it on any basis whatsoever. Not only
do we deplore it, but we are to speak out against it. The
Christian's attitude can be expressed in Clara Bernhardt's lovely
For Israel’s Peace
Not just today, but every day
For the peace of Israel we must pray.
Driven and homeless, lonely, too,
Their only crime to be born a Jew.
Across our world resounds the cry
Of a stricken race which cannot die.
Through centuries the nations fall,
But Jews still weep at the Wailing Wall.
O Father above, the debt we owe
To this race should cause our prayers to flow
In a daily stream of faith that they
Shall find release from hatred's flay.
Give us the vision, Lord, to see
That love for Jews is love for Thee.
It is said of Dr. J. Hudson Taylor – and it is
one of the many lovely stories that have gathered around this person
– that he, as founder of the China Inland Mission, would send an
offering on the first of every year to John Wilkinson, the founder
of Midmay Mission to the Jews in London. With it would be a note
reading, “This is the first gift that's come in for the new year,
and since the Scripture says to the Jew first, I'm sending it to
Then Mr. Wilkinson would always write out a personal check and send
it back to Mr. Taylor with just the words, “Also to the Gentiles.”
Certainly that is the Christian attitude and should be the
Christian's attitude in our day.
What should Christians do relative to anti-Semitism? It is hopeless
to take any overt action, but I believe the primary step that every
believer in Christ should take today is to understand the biblical
background for anti-Semitism and to understand what is the
underlying cause of it.
As you know, if you go to a doctor, he will make a diagnosis of your
case before he writes a prescription. Right now the doctors are a
little puzzled by new viruses that are appearing in our midst, and
they are not sure just how to treat them because they do not know
the ideology of the diseases. Anti-Semitism is somewhat like a
virus. We need to know its history, its background.
Let us go back over four thousand years to the twelfth chapter of
the Book of Genesis and read one of the most remarkable statements
that has ever been given. It could be found only in the inspired
Word of God.
|Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get
thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy
father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee; and I
will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and
make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.
Note particularly the next verse:
And I will bless them that bless
thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all
families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:3)
Four thousand years ago, God called a man by the
name of Abram (known to us as Abraham) who was not actually a Jew
but belonged to the Shemites that were living in a place called Ur
of the Chaldees, down in the Euphrates valley. Evidently he had been
brought up in a home of idolatry and had become a successful and
When God called him, He made to that man a threefold promise:
am going to make your name great. And more people today have heard
of Abraham than of any man that has ever lived on top-side of this
earth, including the Lord Jesus Christ.
2) I am going to give you a
land. I am going to bring from you a unique nation. And
3) I am
going to make you a blessing to all the nations of the world. Now in
the twentieth century we can see that through Jesus Christ this
promised blessing has come to all the nations of the earth.
Then God, evidently anticipating anti-Semitism, said to this man
Abraham, I will bless them that bless thee, and I will curse him
that curseth thee.
Anti-Semitism, from Haman down to Hitler, demonstrates the accuracy
of the statement that God curses those who curse the Jew. Haman bore
testimony to it! And Hitler bore testimony to the truth of that
statement, you may be sure. History, for four thousand years, has
proven the accuracy of it. And by this principle for four thousand
years God has been judging the nations. Nations have risen and
fallen on this principle.
Mark Twain, speaking of the Jew, put it in a very accurate and very
|He could be vain of himself, and be
excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the
Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor,
then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the
Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone;
other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a
time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or
have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is
now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no
infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of
his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind.
All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass,
but he remains. What is the secret of his Immortality?
“Concerning the Jews,” Harper’s Magazine, March, 1898)
Mark Twain, as an agnostic, never had the answer
to that. However, the Word of God has the answer to the question
that he raised. But certainly his statement concerning them is
accurate. In our day there are many nations that lie in rubble and
ruin, and there are other nations that have fallen to the status of
third-rate nations, and one valid explanation of their plight can be
explained in anti-Semitism. Most nations have indulged in it to a
degree. Some have become actually addicted to it. And you find many
of them have declined, and they have gone down primarily because of
this awful thing.
|The king of Egypt could not diminish
The waters of the Red Sea could not drown him.
not curse him.
The great fish could not digest him.
The fiery furnace could not devour him.
The gallows of Haman could not hang him.
The nations of the world could not assimilate him.
The dictators cannot annihilate him.
It is interesting that a minority group like this
retained its identity for 2,500 years without a flag and without a
government. No other ethnic group has remained intact that long.
Israelites stand as a miracle people throughout the world today.
God had made it very clear that they would
|For I am with thee, saith the LORD,
to save thee; though I make a full end of all nations to
which I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end
of thee, but I will correct thee in measure, and will not
leave thee altogether unpunished.
~ Jeremiah 30:11 ~
God has punished them severely on several
occasions, but He will not allow anyone to destroy them.
Their story begins when Jacob was forced by famine to take his
family down into the land of Egypt. He went against his own will and
actually against his better judgment, but God sent him down there.
And then began that long story, known as the story of the wandering
Jew. Down in the land of Egypt he was soon put into slavery,
relegated to the brickyards of Egypt. In spite of all of that, while
only seventy souls went down into the land of Egypt, about seven
million came out of the land of Egypt!
To limit their rapid growth, Pharaoh put into practice an ancient
form of birth control; it was known then as murder. He ordered that
the male children be killed at birth. It did not work. In fact, God
used it to bring to the fore the very deliverer himself, Moses!
Then they entered the Promised Land. After they had been in the Land
of Promise for about five hundred years, they became a world power.
Under David they became the greatest power in western Asia.
As they grew secure and prosperous, God began to warn them that if
they continued in idolatry, out of which He had delivered them when
they had left the land of Egypt, if they continued to go on in their
rebellious way against Him, He would send them into captivity. Again
and again He called them to turn to Him. But they did not!
Then the last warning was given. The ten northern tribes went into
Assyrian captivity; the two tribes in the south went into Babylonian
captivity. After seventy years and more, only a remnant of them
returned. And when they returned to their land, they began to feel
the hatred and bitterness of their enemies; even their neighbors
became their greatest enemies again.
Then they entered the period that we know as the intertestamental
period. There is no record of it in either the Old or the New
Testament. The New Testament opens without any reference to it at
all. It was a period of approximately four hundred years in which
heaven was silent. There was no revelation from God to His people.
During those terrible years people were put between the upper and
nether millstones – in the south Egypt under Ptolemy and in the
north Syria under the Seleucidae dynasty began to push in upon these
people, and their persecution climaxed during the reign of Antiochus
Epiphanes of the Seleucidae dynasty in Syria. The atrocities that he
performed when he took Jerusalem are absolutely unspeakable. Daniel
had prophesied of him in the eighth chapter of the Old Testament
Book of Daniel. During this period the Maccabee family arose to
attempt to defend their own people. The intertestamental years were
the time of Israel's greatest anguish.
When the New Testament opens, you find them under the iron heel of
Rome, helpless and hopeless. This is revealed in the very fact that
the virgin Mary, great with child, had to go with the other
descendants of David down to Bethlehem to be enrolled because a
brutal Caesar did not care whether a Jewish maiden lived or died.
But God was accomplishing His purpose. God had said that the Messiah
would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), and God uses even the wrath
of a king to accomplish His purpose. Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
My friend, this was Israel‟s golden hour. This was the great moment
towards which the Old Testament had been moving. Their Messiah had
come! The hope of the Old Testament rested in Him.
He offered Himself to His nation as the Deliverer, as the King, and
as the Savior. At the beginning of Jesus' ministry, He said, “I have
come only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. I have come as
their Messiah. I have come to present Myself to them” (see Matthew
15:24). Then He made a public offer of Himself when He rode into
Jerusalem, and the crowds shouted, Hosanna to the Son of David!
(Matthew 21:9, 15). But He was officially rejected by the religious
Nevertheless, the greatest friend that the Jew has ever had was
Jesus. He stood, looking over the city of Jerusalem and wept,
|O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest
the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how
often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen
doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!
~ Luke 13:34 ~
When we see what happened to Jerusalem after
that, we understand why He wept.
Let me pause to inject another thought. A great many Christians get
the wrong impression, thinking that because the nation officially
rejected Jesus that the Jews rejected Him. May I say to you that
when the nation rejected Him officially, He turned and dealt
personally with the individual. No longer did He preach
of heaven is at hand, the Messianic Kingdom which had
been prophesied in the Old Testament and which He came to fulfill.
Having been officially rejected, He turned to His own people and
said literally, Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and
I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28), for He was a Savior, and He
was the Savior for them.
Many Jews turned to Him. After His death upon the cross and
His resurrection from the dead and His ascension back into heaven,
multitudes of Jews believed in Christ. In the Book of Acts we
are told that even a multitude of priests turned to Christ!
Sometimes we forget that the early church was one hundred percent
Jewish! And in Jerusalem, until about A.D. 100, no one but Jews were
in the church. My friend, had you and I as Gentiles been in
Jerusalem in the days of the Apostle Paul, I don't think that either
of us could have joined that church. We never would have gotten in
because we were Gentiles. The early church was one hundred percent
Jewish. All the apostles were Jews. The New Testament, as well as
the Old Testament, was written by Jewish writers.
Through the centuries there has been a remnant of Jewish believers
according to grace (see Romans 11:5). God said that never, never
in the history of the Hebrew race would there come a time when there
would not be a remnant of them that were obedient to Him. And there
is a remnant today. Always there has been a believing remnant of
The greatest Jew of them all was Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles.
If you have never thanked God for him, you ought to. The day he
crossed from Asia Minor to bring the gospel into Europe, my
ancestors were still naked, filthy savages! And yours were probably
in the cave next to mine! What a debt we owe to that man. Listen to
him in Romans 11:1 –
|I say, then, Hath God cast away his
people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed
of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
Paul never disowned the fact that he was an
Israelite. He said, “I am a Jew. Not only am I a Jew, but I can also
trace my ancestry back to Abraham. And I know what tribe I belong to
– it is the tribe of Benjamin.” That is Paul the apostle.
In A.D. 70, Titus the Roman leveled a siege against Jerusalem.
Josephus tells us that at that time there were twelve million Jews
in Palestine. Two million lived around the Sea of Galilee. This
helps us understand why our Lord spent so much time around the Sea
of Galilee. In His day there must have been two and one half million
Jews living in that area. He was ministering to them. You remember
what He had to say concerning the city of Capernaum:
|And thou, Capernaum, which art
exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hades; for if
the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been
done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I
say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land
of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
And that city was held responsible and was
judged. No wonder He wept over Jerusalem, for inside the city walls
there were a million and a half Jews. It is estimated that one
million of them starved to death! The dead bodies were thrown
outside the city walls. And inside even human flesh was eaten in a
desperate effort to stay alive. It was a time of great terror and a
time that they have never forgotten.
In the economy of God, Rome's hatred of the Jew marked the downfall
of that nation. Soon the Roman Empire fell apart, and the barbarians
However, anti-Semitism did not cease. The Inquisition in Spain was
not leveled primarily against Protestants but against Jews. And
Spain, which had been a first-rate power in Europe (remember that
under the Spanish flag the western hemisphere was discovered), Spain
became a third-rate power, and it is that today.
We felt so sorry for little Belgium during World War I. Go back and
look at little Belgium's history and note the wave of anti-Semitism
that had swept through that nation. God says,
I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth
thee” (Genesis 12:3).
Keep your hand off them as a nation. Keep your hand off them as a
people. England even had a touch of anti-Semitism. It is revealed in
Shakespeare‟s play, The Merchant of Venice, for there are two
characters that depict the Jew – one is the wandering Jew and the
other is Shylock. And England is no longer a first-rate power.
In our day there are at least twelve million Jews in the world. Five
million of them are in the United States; two million of them are in
Russia. And if you do not believe that Communism practices
anti-Semitism, several years ago the U.S. News & World Report
carried the following item:
|Inside the Soviet world anti-Semitism
is an old story. Moscow turns it on and off whenever it
suits its purpose. Right now Communist Romania is about to
try twenty-five Jews for Zionist espionage. Other Jews are
being rounded up. This fits in with Moscow‟s plan to woo
Arabs and muscle into the
Middle East . . . .
Through personal reports we get from individuals,
we know that the two million Jews inside Russia today are
experiencing anti-Semitic persecution.
And we are alarmed to see anti-Semitism rearing its ugly head in our
own American culture.
One and a half million Jews are in Palestine, hated by their
neighbors. The Arab world is united in only one purpose, and that is
to push the little nation of Israel into the sea.
Maybe today anti-Semitism is just a rash. But if it is, it is
symptomatic of a deadly virus. And that's not the end, by any means.
Our Lord said in the Olivet Discourse that the things which would
characterize this age and would finally head it up will come to full
fruition in the Great Tribulation Period which will come upon the
world after the true church is removed from this earth. The Lord
Jesus warned, Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and
shall kill you; and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name‟s
sake (Matthew 24:9).
When the church is removed from this earth – and the church today,
the true church, is a friend of the Jew – there will break out
worldwide anti-Semitism, a hatred the like of which has never been
exhibited before! Finally God will intervene. The Lord Jesus, coming
personally to this earth, will be the only one who will be able to
deliver Israel at that time. Zechariah in his prophecy (chapters 12
and 13) speaks of that day when there shall be opened in the house
of David a fountain for cleansing and for sin, and they will look
upon Him – Jesus Christ – whom they have pierced.
The enmity today against Jews is supernatural. All anti-Semitism has
a supernatural basis. You say to me, “What is in back of it?” I say
to you that it is satanic. And I would like to confirm that
statement with one Scripture:
|And when the dragon [Satan] saw that
he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman [Israel]
who brought forth the male child [Christ].
~ Revelation 12:13 ~
That is carrying out the words of our Lord,
shall be hated of all nations for my name‟s sake (Matthew 24:9).
My beloved, that speaks of the day when worldwide anti-Semitism
shall sweep over the earth. It is a supernatural, satanic,
diabolical, awful thing today. No Christian, I repeat, should have
any part in it.
Now I know that there are folk who are saying that the Jews are in a
minority group with very well-defined aggressive and materialistic
characteristics. Probably that is true. But did you know that there
are other minority groups that have equally well-defined
characteristics which are equally as unlovely? I am part Scottish,
and I suppose that some of the most unlovely people who have ever
been in this world have been Scots, although some of them are very
lovely, indeed. But, my beloved, you don't hate a race because of a
You and I are living in a day when God has put all mankind on one
basis, one basis alone. Listen to Paul, who claimed Abraham as his
father and Benjamin as his tribe:
|What then? Are we [Jews] better than
they [Gentiles]? No, in no way; for we have before proved
both Jews and Greeks [Gentiles], that they are all under
~ Romans 3:9 ~
He goes on to say that you and I are living in a
day when there is no difference in mankind before God. And when you
look at a person and you see something in him that is unlovely,
remember that when God sees you, He sees you ten thousand times more
unlovely than you see that individual. He sees you and me as lost
sinners, repulsive and repugnant and not fit for heaven.
it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God
that showeth mercy (Romans 9:16). That is, neither your
effort nor who you are constitutes the basis of your salvation. The
basis of your salvation is in a God who is showing mercy to sinners
– and He says, All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans
3:23). All have sinned. There is a universal brotherhood of man – a
brotherhood of sinners! All are unlovely to God. All are absolutely
deserving of a lost eternity. And God says,
|As it is written, Jacob have I loved,
but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there
unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses,
I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have
compassion on whom I will have compassion. So, then, it is
not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God
that showeth mercy.
~ Romans 9:13-16 ~
God is not unrighteous in His dealings, my
beloved. I do not know why God is charged with unfairness. For
example, when the President of the United States makes a trip and
visits certain countries, no one says that he is doing wrong by not
visiting all countries. But when God in His infinite mercy reaches
down and saves somebody, there are those who say, “God is
unrighteous.” My friend, it is blasphemy to say that God is
unrighteous! Regardless of what you and I think, God is right in
what He is doing. And you and I are wrong if we think otherwise. God
says, “I don't accept anything from you – whether you are a Jew or
Gentile – you are a lost sinner in My sight. I save you on one basis
alone, and that is by your faith in Jesus Christ.” God is righteous
in doing that.
Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, and he went out preaching the
gospel to them. Somewhere in Asia Minor he met a young man by the
name of Titus. Paul, no longer a proud, bigoted Pharisee, faithfully
preached the gospel, and Titus, a young Gentile, turned to Christ.
Later Paul wrote to him a letter. Note his salutation:
mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from
God, the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior (Titus 1:4).
Paul, a Jew, said to Titus, a young Gentile, “You are my son in the
faith.” Isn't that lovely?
In Christ the middle wall of partition (Ephesians 2:14), the
dividing wall, is broken down so that there is neither Jew nor
Gentile, but all are one in Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ is the
greatest friend either Jew or Gentile has ever had. He is our Savior
The Antidote Anti-Semitism
Dr. J. Vernon McGee
© Thru the Bible
Unless noted otherwise, all Scripture references are from the New
Scofield Reference Bible.
The Antidote for Anti-Semitism is a
free download from Thru the Bible Radio. Published and distributed by:
Thru the Bible Radio Network,
P.O. Box 7100 Pasadena, California 91109-7100,
(800) 65-BIBLE, www.ttb.org.
Dr. John Vernon McGee, Th.D., LL.E.,
was born in Hillsboro, Texas, in 1904, completed degree programs in Southwestern University in Tennessee, Columbia Theological
Seminary in Georgia and Dallas Theological Seminary in Texas. He
pastored churches in Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Los Angeles, hosted
radio Bible programs since 1941, and launched his popular Thru the
Bible radio program in 1967. Dr. McGee went to be with the Lord in
1988, but his Thru the Bible series may still be heard on radio
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