Theodore Herzl's evaluation proves true as anti-Semitism breaks out again in Europe. The words or the prophets are calling the Jews back to the land. Events in France this week are proof of the truth of the word of God.
Welcome to the Bible in the News. The world was gripped in shock over the brutal murder of three Jewish school children and their teacher in France this past week. The murders were a cold blooded brutal attack on innocent Jewish children and a Rabbi, in broad daylight, at a Jewish school in France, as parents brought their children to school. It later emerged that the killer had murdered three soldiers in two other attacks.
Profile of the anti-Semitic Killer
At first speculations arose the killer was a right wing neo-Nazi. As details emerged it became clear the murder was much more than this. Once police identified the suspect as Mohammed Merah they were able to obtain a profile.
Canada’s National Post reported,
Merah had been arrested for bomb making in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar in 2007 but escaped months later in a Taliban prison break, the director of prisons in Kandahar told Reuters.
Kandahar prison chief Ghulam Faruq said that security forces detained Merah on Dec. 19, 2007, and he was sentenced to three years in jail for planting bombs in Kandahar province, the Taliban’s birthplace.
Merah escaped jail along with up to 1,000 prisoners, including 400 Taliban insurgents, during a Taliban attack on southern Afghanistan’s main prison in June 2008.
This gives us a good idea of the type of individual we are dealing with. Once Merah was surrounded by police, more details emerged. The Associated Press reported:
The suspect told police he belonged to al-Qaida and wanted to take revenge for Palestinian children killed in the Middle East, Gueant said. The suspect also said he was angry about French military intervention abroad, and had spent time in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Gueant said.
Canada’s Globe and Mail reported:
Mr. Merah told police negotiators he had accepted a mission from al-Qaeda after receiving training in the lawless border area of Pakistan, and had identified another soldier and two police officers he wanted to kill.
The 30 hour standoff ended when police stormed the apartment. After a hail of gunfire Merah jumped out the window and died either by gunshot wounds or from the fall itself.
What would cause somebody to commit such a heinous crime? The answer is grim yet simple: hatred of God’s people.
Denial of the Growing Situation
This heart-wrenching tragedy is yet another example of the seething hatred that is bubbling up. Yet the media is quick to excuse this incident as the work of a lone-wolf madman.
The facts don’t support this hypothesis. While the killer may have carried out the atrocity alone, there is a much bigger movement behind him. The killer was trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan. His work was methodical, calculated, and executed with steel nerve. The Jerusalem Post, in an article entitled “Lone Wolf Killer: Merah fits new al-Qaida Mold,” stated:
The jihadi Internet world has been awash with calls to followers in the West to act by themselves, and to attack targets near their places of residence.
Those issuing the calls believe such tactics minimize the chances of terrorist plots leaking out to intelligence services.
One clear example of this trend was the online magazine, Inspire, produced by Yemini-American al-Qaida operative Anwar al-Awlaki and his American- Pakistani accomplice, Samir Khan. Both were assassinated in a US drone attack in Yemen last year.
Inspire told Western Muslims that they had a religious obligation to carry out a jihad, and repeatedly urged readers to act alone, pick targets near their homes and keep their plots to themselves.
While these “lone wolves” may be acting alone, they belong to a bigger system of hate.
Yet many are ignoring the signs of growing anti-Semitism. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported an interview with Dan Zikri, 18, who recently taught at the school where the shooting took place on Monday. He stated:
"Jews do not want to be seen on the street wearing a skullcap, because that leads to shoving and even blows. Anyone who tells you it doesn't happen is simply ignoring it."
This is in keeping with the growing anti-Semitism in Spain where Jews are cautioned not to identify themselves outside the Synagogue by wearing a skullcap for fear of being victimized. Many do not want to believe that a culture similar to what developed at the beginning of the last century is raising its ugly head again.
Haaretz also reported the contradictory opinion of Rabbi Levy Yitzhak Matusoff, a Chabad emissary in Toulouse for 35 years and the principal of Gan Rashi, the Jewish primary school attended by the three murdered children. The paper recorded his comments:
"There is no atmosphere of anti-Semitism here," he says. "There are a few Arabs who rampage sometimes and some veteran French people who recoil from Jews a bit, but that is definitely not the majority."
He believes the larger problem facing Jews in Toulouse as well as France is assimilation.
"Our numbers are constantly dwindling, due to mixed marriages," says Matusoff. Many Toulouse Jews have no ties to the community, and only 30 percent of the city's Jewish children attend one of the city's three Jewish schools, he estimates. Most of the children at the Jewish institutions do not come from particularly religious families, and the small education system has to fight for every one of them.
The failure of Jews to assimilate into European society at the turn of the previous century led Theodore Herzl to write Der Judenstatt, The Jewish State. Following the Dryfus affair where a Jewish soldier was wrongfully accused of espionage, Herzl identified the problem of anti-Semitism and the failure of assimilation and encouraged Jews to move to Palestine and establish their own state. Herzl wrote:
The Jewish question exists wherever Jews live in perceptible numbers. Where it does not exist, it is carried by Jews in the course of their migrations. We naturally move to those places where we are not persecuted, and there our presence produces persecution. This is the case in every country, and will remain so, even in those highly civilized – for instance, France…
In countries where we have lived for centuries we are still cried down as strangers, and often by those whose ancestors were not yet domiciled in the land where the Jews had already had experience of suffering… It is useless for us to be loyal patriots, as were the Huguenots who were forced to emigrate. If we could only be left in peace… But I think we shall not be left in peace…
We might perhaps be able to merge ourselves entirely into surrounding races, if they were to leave us in peace for a period of two generations. But they will not leave us in peace. For a little period they manage to tolerate us, and then their hostility breaks out again and again. The world is provoked by our prosperity because it has for centuries been accustomed to consider us as the most contemptible among the poverty stricken. In its ignorance and narrowness of heart, it fails to observe that prosperity weakens our Judaism and extinguishes our peculiarities. It is only pressure that forces us back to the parent stem; it is only hatred encompassing us that makes us strangers once more.
Herzl went on to lay out his vision of a Jewish state, a vision which has now been realized – not because of Jewish intuition – but because the prophets foretold it. One such prophet was Jeremiah who wrote under inspiration (Jeremiah 3:14)
Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:
Herzl’s makes a chilling statement in Der Judenstate echoing the words of the prophet:
“He who will not come with us should remain behind.”
Part of the tragedy this week is that two of the children killed in the massacre were born in Israel but moved back into Europe, the scene of so much anti-Semitism over the centuries. Perhaps the belief was that European society is healed of hits historical and religious anti-Semitic blight, and was a safe place to reside. Herzl argued otherwise. The Palestinian cause has been embraced by European nations and is constantly used to disparage Israel. This was the underlying theme in the attack this week. In the killer’s mind, all the victims guilty of either being Jews or aiding and abetting the Jewish nation by military action elsewhere. The killer’s motive was to curse Abraham’s seed and anyone who blessed them. The bodies of those Jews killed were sent to Israel for burial – following the tradition of Jacob and Joseph who both asked for their bones to be interred in the Land of Promise. Jacob and Joseph both wanted to return to the land, God had indicated, “I will bring thee up again” (Gen 46:4), but the timing would be when God indicated it. This is the time for Jews all over the world to return to the land of promise… and not go back to Europe, the spiritual “Egypt” of today.
The Bible’s Commentary
The scriptures are clear that there would be a hatred of God’s people throughout the ages. God identified the division that would occur before the nation even existed. In Genesis 3:15 we read:
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
This division is from the foundation of the world. John Thomas, author of Elpis Israel commenting on this passage wrote,
“Eden has been a field of blood from the beginning of the contest between the “Seed of the Woman,” and the “Seed of the Serpent,” until now; and will yet continue to be until the Serpent Power be broken upon the Mountains of Israel.”
The fact is, all those related to the Kingdom of God stand in natural enmity to the Kingdom of Men. The Jews, by nature of their ancestry belong to the family of Abraham, out of which the Kingdom of God was to be built. Thomas wrote,
The “Woman’s Seed” was identified with Israel; the “Serpent’s Seed,” with all that had enmity against, or oppressed, them.
Throughout the pages of scripture the reoccurring theme is seen. In Ezekiel 25:15–17 God speaks of the Philistines, the ancient nation who once inhabited the Gaza region. He describes their “old hatred”:
Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because the Philistines have dealt by revenge, and have taken vengeance with a despiteful heart, to destroy it for the old hatred; Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will stretch out mine hand upon the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethims, and destroy the remnant of the sea coast. And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.
Later, in Ezekiel 35:5-7, God describes his judgments against the Edomites because of their perpetual hatred:
Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end: Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee: sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee. Thus will I make mount Seir most desolate, and cut off from it him that passeth out and him that returneth.
This is the same age-old hatred that has been extant in those nations who have wanted Israel destroyed so they could “seize on the inheritance”. Today, anti-Semitism is reviving under the flag of anti-Zionism. Jews are targeted because they, as Jews, are related the State of Israel. The State of Israel is the nucleus of the future kingdom of God, in a very imperfect, yet developing form. It is not perfect by any means. Israel’s religious awakening is just beginning… but then this is to be expected when we read the prophets such as Ezekiel who describe the assembling of the body politic of Israel in the 36th chapter, prior to it having the spirit of God breathed back into it. Israel waits for Elijah who Malachi prophecies will be sent “before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD” when “he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:5-6).
The Jew still remains the “witness” to the truth of the Bible and the purpose of God with the earth, as we read in Isaiah 43:10:
Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
As God’s witnesses they are cast in a role which puts them in enmity with the nations who wish to see God’s purpose with the earth frustrated. They are the nucleus of the future kingdom and will eventually be involved in the recreation of the societies of the earth as we know it. Daniel tells us, in chapter 2:44:
“the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.”
They will be made fit for the role they will play in the kingdom by the word of God entering into them again, and a national covenant being made with them. They will receive the kingdom as we read in Daniel 7:27:
And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
The tragedy in France is just another sign that anti-Semitism is rising in Europe – in anticipation of the great clash between the Kingdom of Men and the Kingdom of God. Yet the promise made to Abraham will hold fast in the end (Genesis 12:1–3):
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 shew 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: 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.
The blessings for the people of Israel lie in the land promised to Abraham. It is to this land Elijah will first come, heralding the coming of Moshiach, the Messiah, who will redeem his people. Our hearts go out to the families destroyed by this abominable act. May God’s people heed the warning which cries out – return to the land of promise. May Messiah come and put an end to the wickedness of the anti-Semitic nations of the world and change world opinion of the children of Abraham as is recorded in Zechariah 8:23
Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
This has been Jonathan Bowen joining you for the Bible in the News.