The Cross and How Jews Perceive It

I actually wrote this article in 2015, but I felt a nudge of the Holy Spirit that this should be brought out again.  Anti Semitism has reared its ugly head not only in the world, but sadly it is also in the church.

My husband and I have not had a church for a few years now. We had been attending Baptist churches and experienced overt anti Semitism. This shocked both of us.

Here is the original article:  

Through the years, I’ve shared by testimony of becoming a Jewish Christian. Upon telling my testimony to people in church, I have seen two reactions:

People are SO excited that a Jewish person has been born-again from above!
People give me the deer in the headlights look, nod and move on.
I have come to a conclusion based on these two distinct reactions:

The people who are happy and excited about my testimony belong to Jesus and really adore Him.

The deer in the headlights folks just might be lukewarm, and we know what Jesus says about them:

“So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:16).

I am SO blessed that the couple who shared the message of salvation did not pass me by because they knew that I am a Jew. They were obedient to God and His Word, and shared truth with me that night. They knew that everyone must come to the Father through Jesus Christ. Praise God, I came into His family that night.

Everyone knows about the Holocaust. But in this article, I will be taking my brothers and sisters in Christ back in time, to give you a better understanding of why the Jewish people are so offended by the Cross of our Lord Jesus.

The Early Church

Here is an account of the anti-Semitic view of Replacement Theology, which surprisingly started with the early church.

Justin Martyr (A.D. 100-165) who was a Christian apologist, defended Christianity against its enemies.In his work titled, Justin Martyr With Trypho a Jew. He said that the seed of Jacob now referred to Christians and not the Jews. So began the infamous teaching of Replacement Theology.

Tertullian (A.D. 160-220) a church theologian from North Africa, wrote a derogatory and very anti-Semitic book titled, An Answer to the Jews around A.D. 200. This man twisted Scripture to fit his errant theology by claiming that the statement made to Rebekah about the twins (Esau and Jacob) within her (Genesis 25:23) was actually a reference to Jews and Christians.

He said that the older brother, Esau, represented the Jewish people. Jacob, the younger brother represented Christians. His premise was that the Christians would overtake the Jewish people. He said that the Jews would serve the Christians.

Origen (A.D. 185-254) was president of the school of theology in Alexandria, Egypt. He had a profound effect upon the church, by preaching that much of what is written about Israel in the Word, should be seen as allegorical – spiritualizing his interpretations. We know that the promises made to Israel are not open to interpretation. They should be taught and understood to be literal.

Origen took such liberties with the Word, claiming that the word Israel can mean the church. Not seeing and preaching God’s Word correctly (rightly dividing) becomes a slippery slope into myriad of heretical teachings. He was a Christian Universalist, believing in universal salvation for all people, and for the fallen angels.

Cyprian (A.D. 195-258) was a bishop of Carthage. He wrote, Three Books of Testimonies Against the Jews. He maintained that the Jews departed from the God who loved them, and that because they had departed from God, they lost His favor. He taught that God sought out a people who would obey him, and all promises were taken from Israel and bestowed upon the Christians.

John Chrysostom (A.D. 347-407) known as the greatest preacher of the gospel in the Eastern church, preached messages titled, Against the Jews in Antioch of Syria.Many preachers followed suit, and preached anti-Semitism from their pulpits.

An influential bishop of Milan, Ambrose, considered the Jews to be infidels, wholly perverse, and incapable of thinking any good thought. He said that the burning of synagogues was no crime and encouraged it.

Augustine (A.D. 354-430) was known as the most influential person since the apostle Paul. He wrote, Tract Against the Jews and influenced the church so dramatically against Jews, that derogatory comments about Jews during the Middle Ages were usually called “Augustinian.”

Augustine decreed a new eschatological view called Amillennialism, which actually means no Millennium. In doing this, the prophecies in Scripture could be spiritualized, and taught that these were all referring to the church.

The Roman Catholic church adopted and adhered to all teachings of Augustine.

Martin Luther in his later years turned on the Jews and wrote: “On the Jews and their Lies.” This sermon caused in one night the burning down of synagogues, and the slaughter of over 2000 Jews.

Adolph Hitler used Luther’s teachings on the Jews, to justify slaughtering Jews and finally ridding the world of them.

John Calvin, another father of the Great Reformation said:

“Their [the Jews] rotten and unbending stiffneckedness deserves that they be oppressed unendingly and without measure or end and that they die in their misery without the pity of anyone.” (Ad Quaelstiones et Objecta Juaei Cuiusdam Responsio, John Calvin)

As you can see, Replacement Theology is NOT a new teaching in the history of the church.

Eschatology Affected by Replacement Theology

The original view of eschatology in the church was called Chiliasm. This word is from the Greek word for “one thousand.” It taught that Christ will return to earth at the Second Coming and that He would establish His Kingdom upon the earth and rule for the last thousand years of earth’s history. Today, we call this view Premillennialism. Even though this view of eschatology was based on the Old Testament, and taught by Jesus and His Apostles, the anti-Semitic teachers of the Word rejected Chiliasm as being a “Jewish view.”

This anti-Semitic view so permeated the Eastern Gentile Christians, that the book of Revelation was removed from the canon beginning in the fourth century, and it was kept out for many centuries – in hopes that Chiliasm would die and be remembered no more.

Persecution of Jews in the Name of Christ

Because of the teaching that the Jews had been discarded by God, Gentiles who professed to be Christians increasingly referred to the Jews as “Christ killers.” I remember as a child in the synagogue, learning that the Ecumenical Council had decreed that the Jews actually were not solely responsible for the death of Christ.

I remember thinking “So this is why they call me dirty Jew.”

Constantine, the first Roman emperor to call himself a Christian was hostile toward Jews. In 329 A.D. called for the death penalty for all who embraced the Jewish faith. He referred to the Jews as “beastial.”

Roman emperor, Theodosius I, from 379-395, decreed that Christianity was to be the only recognized religion. Declaring that marriage between a Jew and a Christian would be forbidden, he said that such a union would be deemed adultery.

Theodosius II, was the Roman emperor from 408-450. He restricted the Jews from building any new synagogues. He would incite mobs to enter the established synagogues and take possession of them – handing over all property and possessions of the Jews to the Christians.

Justinian I was the emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire from 527 to 565. He was a professing Christian and did everything in his power to make the lives of Jews unbearable. He made sure that all Jews occupied the most hated civil offices in government. He decreed that Jews could not observe Passover before Easter, and told the Jews what they could and could not do in their synagogues. He finally took control of the synagogues away from Jews and proclaimed them to be churches.

In 589, King Reccared of Spain joined with Roman Catholic leaders and forced children born to Jews to be forcibly baptized as Christians. The penalty for not complying was death.

Around 629 A.D., Dagobert who was the ruler of the Frankish empire decreed that all Jews must convert (embrace Christianity) or face death.

Near the end of the seventh century, a law was passed that all Jews in Spain be enslaved and that their sons be taken away from them at the age of seven and reared as Christians.

The popes of the Catholic Church were brutal to the Jews throughout the Middle Ages. They made sure that Jews suffered and were separated from others because they were considered sub-human and beyond help.

The execution of Jews has been happening in every century, and all done in the name of Christ!In 1298, after a rumor that Jews had desecrated the sacred Roman Catholic host, Jews were burned at the stake. This was considered a horrendous holocaust – in the course of six months, approximately 120 congregations of 100,000 Jews perished.

This is a quote from Graetz, the author of the work titled, History of the Jews:

“From the thirteenth till the sixteenth century, the persecutions and massacres of the Jews increased with frightful rapidity and in intensity, and only alternated with inhuman decrees issued both by the Church and the state, the aim and purport of all of which were to humiliate the Jews, to brand them with calumny and to drive them to suicide….The nations of Europe emulated of another in exercising their cruelty upon the Jews; and it was always the clergy who, in the name of a religion of love, stirred up this undying hatred. It mattered little to the Jews whether they lived under a strict government or under anarchy, for they suffered under the one no less than under the other.”

There is not enough room in this one article to elaborate on all of the persecution and slaughter of the Jews done in the name of Christianity. In our generation, most people think of the Holocaust during World War II. They think of an insane man named Adolph Hitler. Certainly he was inherently evil, and his attempt at annihilating the Jews could never have been based in Christian thought, right? Wrong.

Hitler felt that he was just carrying out the final solution for the Jews, because of what he knew had been done throughout history by the church. He simply wanted to finish the job.

When Jews see the Cross of Jesus, they do not see or understand the love that sent our Savior to willingly die upon it. They know nothing about the blood of Jesus and how He died for the sins of the whole world. How could they think these things? They remember the pogroms, the forced conversions, the burning of their synagogues, the mass slaughter of millions of them – all done in the name of Christ.

Of course, they read about Corrie ten Boom and those like her, who had the love of Jesus in their hearts toward the Jews. But these stories pale compared to the horrific persecutions.

When I was a babe in Christ, I bought a cross to wear. I knew what the Cross meant. I knew why He willingly went to that Cross. The scales had fallen from my eyes when I was born-again.

One day I went to a Jewish doctor who had been my pediatrician. He was now an allergist. He had known me and my family for years. He came in the room with a smile, but that smile turned to an angry scowl when he saw my cross. He snapped at me “And WHAT is that?”

I said to him “I am a Messianic Jew!”I’d never seen this man angry in all the years I had known him until that day. He yelled at me “DON’T call yourself a JEW!! You are no longer a Jew if you wear that cross!”

I do know that God is in control. He allows certain things to happen for His reasons. He knew that so-called preachers of the gospel would turn on His people, and He has allowed it. I have pondered this a lot lately.

If we look at the persecution of the Jews, starting with the early church and fast forwarding to 1948, we see that God did use the harsh mistreatment of the Jewish people to fulfill this prophecy:

“Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries among which you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel’” (Ezekiel 11:17).

Much Jewish blood has been spilled throughout history.If it had been at the hands of crazed killers or mass murderers, the Jews might feel differently, but they know that these deeds were done by those who claimed to love Jesus.

Satan has been there from the beginning. He hates God. He hates Jews. He hates Christians.

I can just hear him say to the preachers of the gospel:

“Did God REALLY say that the Jews are His people? Surely these Christ killers have forfeited any promises made to them. God is certainly FINISHED with them.”

And if only these preachers had clung to the Word and read Romans 11 more carefully:

“I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!” (Romans 11:11-12).

“From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:28-29).

Pray for your Jewish friends. Pray that God would draw them to Himself. We are approaching the end, brethren. It thrills my heart to think of my fellow Jews saying:

“BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!”

How Can I Be Saved?

Shalom b’Yeshua

MARANATHA!!

**Most of the historical information came from:
The Coming Apocalypse: A Study of Replacement Theology vs. God’s Faithfulness in the End-Times, Dr. Renald E. Showers.

14 thoughts on “The Cross and How Jews Perceive It

  1. One can not equate “luke warmness” with “hating ones brother”, as they are miles apart. Paul called the Jews his brethren, therefore “ whosoever does not righteousness is ‘not of God’, neither he that loves not his brother.” 1 John 3:10. No, these that do such are not Children of God but rather children of the devil. Don’t be deceived, for only those “that do righteousness are righteous”, 1 John 3:7. They that continue (and preach) such sin ”… have not seen him, neither known him.” 1 John 3:6.
    I always wondered as to why Calvin was so messed up with his doctrine of “election”, but now See, with these two quotes together;
    Their [the Jews] rotten and unbending stiffneckedness deserves that they be oppressed unendingly and without measure or end and that they die in their misery without the pity of anyone.

    All things being at God’s disposal, and the decision of salvation or death belonging to him, he orders all things by his counsel and decree in such a manner, that some men are born devoted from the womb to certain death, that his name may be glorified in their destruction.

    One false idea built upon the other ends up with; why “pity” any of the ones who are, “born devoted from the womb to certain death”? Never knew he was so angry at the Jew, but see now why he preaches “election”. No, there is “no difference between the Jew and the Greek” (Romans 10:12), “no difference between us and them” (Acts 15:9) as all are under this, he calls, “certain death”, as “… by one man’s offence death reigned…” Romans 5:17, “For all have sinned” Romans 3:23, and “the wages of sin is death” Romans 6:23.
    Such blindness as this, brings new meaning to “Amazing Grace”.

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  2. I am also always deeply troubled and puzzled by the constant antisemitism that seems to rear its head so often. However I doubt most of the antisemites have ever read the church fathers. Perhaps they have vague ideas about Martin Luther’s antisemitism.

    However I think you should show a bit more restraint before saying a church that about half of all Christians belong to adopted antisemitic views.

    “The Roman Catholic church adopted and adhered to all teachings of Augustine.”

    Why do you write that?

    Clearly there has been tension between Christians and Jews over the centuries. We are talking about over 1 billion people so, of course, there will be all sorts of views. But the church has not been so antisemitic as you describe. You will find popes condemning antisemitism throughout the middle ages and generally many Catholics defending Jews. The main architects of the holocaust were not Christians.

    Suggesting that antisemitism is part of mainstream Christianity is not only a distortion but likely a harmful distortion.

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    1. First of all, to call the church of Rome “part of Christianity” is a farce. We are saved by Grace through faith. Catholics are save (they think) by works.

      And yes, there IS a lot of antisemitism in the church. But what shall we say is the REAL church? Certainly not the Presbyterian USA and Episcopal and Lutheran, etc. These are part of the Apostate church which support BDS – hate Israel and most Jews. They are taught and believe Replacement Theology. Even the Baptist church has fallen into the gutter – much of it.

      I took the history of Jew hatred from a book which is widely read and credible. If you cannot see what is happening, then perhaps your eyes have been partially blinded.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Geri

        Do you think Jesus started a church? If so what church was it?

        The Catholic Church believes this:
        “a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.”

        Do you affirm that or do you reject that?

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      2. I am in total agreement with James in the Word when he said that Good works should come AFTER Salvation as evidence of being born again. And I agree that Faith without works is dead faith. Throughout the centuries, people have misunderstood the words of James.

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      3. I quoted Scripture and that Scripture is also the Catholic position. You say you agree with James when he says other things that you don’t actually quote. But do you agree with James when he says what I quoted? You seem to want to distance yourself from scripture.

        If you agree with the quote then I do not see why you claim Catholics are not Christians because of their position on faith and works. Catholics accept the same scripture Protestants do. Many Christians have had various interpretations of scripture. Martin Luther said James contradicts Paul. The Catholic Church did not agree with that. I anticipate you agree with the Catholic Church in rejecting Martin Luther’s claim that James contradicts Paul.

        I am not here to say Catholics are the best or whatever. But I do think it is a bit harsh to say Catholics are not Christians when they are simply interpreting James in a straight forward way.

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    2. Brian

      Suggesting that antisemitism is part of mainstream Christianity is not only a distortion but likely a harmful distortion.

      I wish that were a true statement. However it is not. The Church (Orthodox, Catholic, and, Protestant) has been the MAIN source of anti-Semitism (especially the Reformation). Look at the Pope during WWII. In-fact, look at the church as a whole in Europe (during the war). Other than the church in Bulgaria (which saved its entire population of Jews), the church (all denominations) remained silent if not complicit.

      Simply read what the church fathers stated. It is well documented. There are quite a few books that have compiled their anti-Semitic teachings:
      Our Hands Are Stained With Blood. Michael Brown
      Road to Holocaust. Hal Lindsey
      When a Jew rules the world. Joel Richardson

      The History is clearly there. Geri’s source is credible. Seek this history for yourself. I guarantee you’ll be shocked and horrified with what you’ll turn up.

      Shalom,
      Brian

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Brian I have read about the Pope during WWII.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Pius_XII_and_the_Holocaust

        There is always a view that the church should not get involved with politics. We see that today as well. But then when the church does not get involved enough it gets blamed too. The german people elected a horrible person who had anti-christian people do his bidding.

        It is not the churches role to undo elections – although Hitler was so bad that Pope Pious XII did indeed try to thwart him from achieving his aims and may have even participated in an attempt to assassinate him. Much of this while being in a country ruled by fascists allied with Hitler!

        It is easy with hind sight to point fingers at people in the past and say they should have done more or done this differently. But the simple fact of the matter is just about everyone should have done more – churches, political leaders, populations etc.

        Are you aware of the white rose society?

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  3. Raymond Bart

    As a Christian, I am appalled by the antisemitism of the past 2000 years. Thanks for helping me to understand why the Jews would abhor the Cross of Christ. As far as the atrocities committed by these “Christians” I would have to add some ideas to consider.

    Only God knows the heart (our true intentions). To assume that all of these catholic leaders and popes were genuine followers of Jesus is a bad one. Have you ever heard the idea that just because you sit in a garage does not make you a car. In the same way, sitting in a church obviously does not make one a Christian. Telling others you are a Christian does not make it so. Over the centuries, there have been many many people who identify themselves as Christians (actually they are cultural Christians) and have never been born again.. Jesus warned HIs disciples that wolves would come into the church after His death and Resurrection and of course He was right. Jesus also responded in the Bible to these fake Christians by saying, “Get out of my sight, I never knew you.” (paraphrased)

    I am especially appalled at the derogatory remarks of Martin Luther and other Protestant leaders. There is no excuse for these comments about God’s special chosen people. At the same time, attacking a group of people (Jews) verbally (this is evil) is not the same as grabbing a weapon and murdering those that you disagree with or hate. In my opinion, as a Bible believing Christian, I believe that the majority of those who murdered Jews over the past 2000 years were not real Christians, but believed they were Christians. Again, only God know the intentions of the human heart and He will judge fairly and completely.

    If you and I, along with our close Christian friends and fellow Church members were to travel back in a time machine to Europe for example in the 1300’s, do you really think we (with exception of yourself) would all try to find the Jews in that community and kill them? Have you ever known a true Christian friend or fellow believer kill anyone? I am not promoting the idea that Christians are anywhere near perfect. I believe we must allow the Lord God Almighty to be the final Judge in this matter. He alone knows the intentions of our hearts. Praise be to the Lord God Almighty!

    Ray

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Observing your saying; “ attacking a group of people (Jews) verbally (this is evil) is not the same as grabbing a weapon and murdering those that you disagree with or hate” I would point out this; yet John said; “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer”
      , 1 John 3:15
      Basically saying, one kills with his heart, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders,” Matthew 15:19. Verbally (or out of the mouth) is the issue, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”, Matthew 12:34.True, “only God knows their heart” , but we know (judge) those who name the name of Christ, by such things that do proceed out of that heart, via the mouth! Thanks

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