We are horrified by the tragedy that took place at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this past Saturday when a gunman took the lives of eleven Jews while yelling: “All Jews must die.” However, this atrocious act of anti-Semitism is not new to Jewish history. The Bible recounts the Egyptian Pharaoh passing a decree to exterminate all Hebrew male infants (Exodus 1:15–22), Haman plotting to destroy all Jews in Persia (Esther 3:6), and Herod planning to kill all Jewish boys in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16). Anti-Semitic massacres and persecutions have been particularly rampant in Diaspora after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD. Anti-Semitism is evident in our days as Israel battles her enemies in the struggle for her survival in the Middle East on a daily basis. Yet the hatred of Jews is not just a social, political or cultural phenomenon. It’s the manifestation of Satan’s hatred of God.
Throughout Scripture the Lord identifies Himself as the God of Israel (1 Kings 8:23), the God of the Hebrews (Exodus 5:3), as well as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Matthew 22:32). Well, how about everyone else? Isn’t the Lord the God of all peoples? The Bible clearly teaches that the YHWH is the God of all nations (Romans 3:29). However, Israel has always been the Lord’s firstborn among the redeemed nations (Exodus 4:22), the nation of priests called to worship and proclaim the goodness of the God of Israel (Romans 9:4), and the Lord’s beloved child (Deuteronomy 7:6–8; 2 Samuel 7:23–24; Psalm 105:8–15; Isaiah 43:1–3, 49:15–16; Jeremiah 31:1–4). The Sovereign God chose Israel, and not any other nation, to play a vital role in His plan of salvation. Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ), the incarnated YHWH, dwelled among His people, so that other nations could come to the knowledge of the Lord’s teaching (Torah) and His saving grace (Micah 4:2; John 1:14; 1 Timothy 2:4). And finally, Yeshua the Messiah will return in glory to rule over all the earth from Israel (Jeremiah 3:17).
As we know from Scripture, Israel has not been an easy child. Israel’s rebellious nature and stubbornness are well documented in the Bible. The Lord has been responding to Israel’s sins with just punishments as He had warned through Moses (Leviticus 26:14–45). So, does this fact warrant anti-Semitic attacks against Jews? Of course not! The God of Israel is the sole judge of His people. Only He has the authority to decide when and how to discipline Israel. In fact, God revealed to Abraham that anyone who curses Israel will be cursed (Genesis 12:3). This promise of God came to pass throughout numerous episodes in Jewish history as God severely punished those who had plotted against Israel and whom He had used as His tool for disciplining His firstborn nation (Exodus 14:27–28; Esther 7:9–10; Isaiah 17:20). Furthermore, Zechariah 2:8 states as follows: “For thus says the Lord of hosts, “After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.”
Israel remains God’s chosen nation and continues to have a pivotal role in God’s redemptive plan for humankind (read Romans 9–11). The ethnic descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob serve as the litmus paper which reflects one’s relationship with God. Scripture reveals to us that Satan is the primary principality of darkness who hates God, His plan of salvation, genuine Christians, and His firstborn Israel. Friends, let us be the vessels of the God of Israel and not the tools of Satan. Let us stand with the mourning families who have lost their loved ones in this Pittsburgh tragedy. Let us pray for the peace and salvation of Israel till all Israel is saved (Psalm 122:6; Romans 11:26).