The root of anti-Semitism
Art by Elhanan ben-Avraham
Being a hot debate between two devout theologians, RT & ZT (Replacement Theologian & Zionist Theologian):
ZT: As the word “Israel” is mentioned 2293 times in the KJV Bible, each time referring to what is known as the Jewish people, I am astounded how some Christians declare “the church” as “theNew Israel”, replacing the “Old Israel”, when the NT refers to both Israel and the Gentile who has joined through faith. Is this not a root of what we call Anti-Semitism?
RT: Right. Read Romans 9:6. “It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.”
ZT: This you tell me says “now the Gentile Christian church is Israel”? I would certainly agree that it says that not every Jewish criminal dealing drugs and prostitution is ‘Israel’, nor has any of that ilk ever been Israel- from Sinai to Jeremiah.
RT: What does the rest of the text say then?
ZT: Um, lets see, ‘There are no more Jews, and now men and women can use the same restroom’? Sir, how can we stand together against anti-Semitism if you espouse the very root of its existence, and that which has brought millennia of Christian persecution of the Jewish people? It is my sincere prayer that you will have the courage to carefully re-examine your stance on this issue.
RT: Me along with the millions of Jews who support Israel and Israel’s right to exist without seeing it as fulfilling prophecy- we are anti-Semites?
ZT: If a high-profile teacher of the Bible, travelling the world to preach in the name of a large Christian denomination, espouses the doctrine that God has rejected theJews, how can he be considered as one who “supports Israel”?
RT: Then what about Galatians 3:29: “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” And, “He is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. No, a man is a Jew because he is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit.”
ZT: You suggest that these verses were written by Paul to tell the world that any Gentile Eskimo who says he believes in Jesus is suddenly transformed into Jewish lineage and thus inherits even the Land of Israel instead of the Jewish people? That seems to well define anti-Semitism.
RT: Well, how about this scripture in Romans 11: “You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.’ Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.”
ZT: Please read on, putting the whole text in context: a text out of context is a pretext. “If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.’Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel (the context here is the Jews) will be saved. As it is written: ‘The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.’ As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.”
RT: Well, I…
ZT: And Romans 9: “I am telling the truth in Christ…who are (present tense) the people of Israel (the Jews), to whom belongs (present tense) the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.”
RT: I guess you might be right.
ZT: I would reckon so.
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Elhanan ben-Avraham, born in 1945, is a professional artist, poet, writer and father of two, grandfather of four, living in Israel since 1979. He has served in the IDF, taught the Bible internationally, published two illustrated books of poetry, and painted two large Biblical murals in public buildings in Jerusalem, among many other works. He and his wife live in a quiet village in the Mountains of Judah.