We haven’t gotten Israel right. Beginning in the second century, the church began to teach about the church’s relationship with Israel and God’s continued plan for the Jews in such a way that researchers conclude that those teaching laid the foundation for the Holocaust. The Holocaust wasn’t isolated persecution but rather the culmination of 1,900 years of it and mostly at the hands of the church.
One of the hallmarks of Hitler’s treatment of Jews was the enforcement of the yellow Star of David badge that Jews were made to wear. In my own research, I have been shocked to find that the only contribution Hitler brought to this act was reshaping an existing oval badge into the Star of David. The practice of Jews wearing badges began in Islam, but as early as 1269 AD European Christianity continued the practice of forcing Jews to wear badges. Eventually this became a yellow oval badge. This use in Christian Europe came from a law put forth by a council of the Catholic Church in 1215 AD.
The church getting Israel wrong has produced egregious consequences. Surely, the world and especially the church has learned from the Holocaust.
No, we haven’t.
And unfortunately, the Bible tells us that much of the church will get Israel wrong again. As painful as it is for me to write, another Holocaust looms, and this one will be even greater. Bible prophecy tells that, at the end of this age, the Antichrist will lead a campaign against Israel. The prophets paint an extremely horrific picture of this time — a time of tribulation that would accomplish the goal of Hitler and many throughout history if it wasn’t cut short by the return of Jesus. The victory of the Lord at Armageddon saves the Jewish people. The unfathomable time culminates in the salvation of the remaining remnant of Israel and their reconciliation with God.
It’s for the horrors of this time that Jesus says in the Olivet Discourse: “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:20-24 NIV).
Continuing in the arrogance of the Gentile church throughout history, many look at this passage and say this was fulfilled in in the first century with the destruction of the Jewish Temple and scattering of Jews around the world, but if that was the case God would be made a liar and Jesus a false prophet for the following events of the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 were not fulfilled. With each prophet that foretold this ultimate time of persecution on Israel it always ended in the establishment of eternal Kingdom and the Messiah ruling from Earth. This has not happened, nor did it happen in 1945. Hitler’s attempt at a Final Solution was a foretelling picture just like Rome’s destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, Antiochus Epiphanes’ desecration of the Temple, Haman’s gallows in Persia, Nebuchadnezzar’s army trampling Jerusalem and Sennacherib the Assyrian’s attempt.
Jesus wasn’t speaking something new, but rather was echoing what the prophets before him had said and written: “These are the words the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah: “This is what the Lord says: “‘Cries of fear are heard — terror, not peace… every face turned deathly pale? How awful that day will be! No other will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it” (Jer. 30:4-7).
“‘In the whole land,’ declares the Lord, ‘two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God’” (Zech. 13:8-9).
“A day of the Lord is coming, Jerusalem, when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls. I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city” (Zech. 14:1-2).
(See also Joel 3, Micah 2, Isaiah 3, Isaiah 10, Isaiah 17, Isaiah 27, Isaiah 28, Daniel 7, Daniel 8, Daniel 12, Matthew 24 and Rev. 13:5-7.)
The Battle of Armageddon is the culmination of the Antichrist’s campaign against Israel, a time of which the prophets said will be the greatest distress to fall on the world. In Revelation 16, it says the Antichrist will gather the kings and armies of the world together against Israel. In Revelation 19:19, again we read “and the kings of the earth and their armies” are gathered for this battle.
In Ezekiel 38, which I believe is talking about Armageddon, it tells of armies gathered against Israel, but it also speaks of nations that did nothing and let it happen. So, maybe there are neutral nations, but no nation stands with Israel. The world stands by as it did for much of the Holocaust. The church does nothing.
For the world to get to lining up against Israel, antisemitism has to rise again like in pre-World War II Europe — likely eclipsing it. In the next article we will look at how the statistics are already there.
The church predominantly will get Israel wrong again, but the warnings within Scripture are meant to be heeded. Individually, we can steward the relationship of Israel and the church differently. We can get Israel right and help others do so, too.
— Jake is the newest state missionary and would love to share about the work in Northwest Arkansas and encourage your church to stand firm. (standfirmministries.com)