We are going to talk about Antisemitism. Matt 7.13-14 says, “Enter (by faith) by the narrow gate (more dangerous), for the gate is wide and the way is broad (safe) that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.” False teachers will take you away from the narrow gate. How many people do you know in churches that would spend the time to go back, find and study the information we are sharing. The information is out there, but you have to look for it and seek it out. The narrow gate is hard, and when entered, it is unpleasant for the flesh to walk in and hedged up with affliction and trouble. The broad gate is easier and many take it for that reason. They have less trouble with relatives and friends, they are well liked and when you blend in with everyone else, you don’t stand out. Few take the narrow gate because your relatives and friends won’t understand you, and you won’t be participating in what everyone else is participating in.
Yeshua goes on in Matt 7.15-20 by referencing the halakah that is now in the Mishnah called “Orlah” meaning “uncircumcised.” It goes into good fruit, bad fruit, when to cut down a bad tree and plant another, etc. In the Mishnah there is another tractate called “Avodah Zarah” which deals with idolatrous practices. How many people do you know who has read “Orlah” and “Avodah Zarah?” Why is that? Why is it we have all of this available information and we are not looking at it? Too busy? Not motivated? Don’t know about it? Something is wrong.
We are making ourselves susceptible to bad teaching and setting ourselves up for it.
Yeshua goes on in Matt 7.21-23 that are people who think they are serving him, but he says “I never knew you.” He doesn’t say “I once did and now I don’t” but it means “never.” He then says it is because they practice “lawlessness.” Lawlessness in Greek is “anomos” and it means “without the Torah” or “Torah-less-ness.” If a person comes to you and says they do not need the Torah or they do not believe in the Torah for today, either they are where the Lord has not become real to them yet or they are not a believer. You can go through the motions of being “on fire for God” and you are “radically saved”, but if your heart is not turned towards the Lord and righteousness as found in the Torah (Rom 7.12), then you are not in the Kingdom of God, because “my sheep hear my voice.” We are instructed not to be judges of this, however, and we don’t have that authority, or the right, and that would do damage to us.
Now, we have all types of antisemitism, like Hitler, Haman and others had. They hated the Jews, the Torah and wanted to destroy them. Then we have a second type. This type is more dangerous in many ways than any other. It is the type that says Jews and following the Torah is “below” them and they are not interested. But, if one is really a believer they will turn from that because “my sheep hear my voice” and Yeshua shows us the Torah. There is an environment of antisemitism and against anything Jewish in Christianity. If a person wore a “kippah” or they don’t eat pork, if they lit a Chanukiah (the light at Chanukah) rather than a Christmas Tree, they would be criticized at least. It would not be welcome. They say they “love the Jews” and want them to be saved, but what that means is they want them to turn away from the Torah because all that has been done away with, and they want them to become Christians. We know of many Jewish people who have made a decision for Yeshua, but were told once they started going to a church (on a Sunday, not the Sabbath) that they need to become “free in Christ” and not observe the Torah anymore. That is antisemitic. There is a third type, where a person doesn’t know they are being antisemitic in what they are saying, and this can include some in the second type, too.
In The Talmud, most of what you have about the Messiah will be in Sanhedrin, chapters 87 to 99, and it is packed full. The Jewish people are terrible when it comes to prophecy because over the years they have been told not study it (Maimonides in the Mishneh Torah, for instance). There is a reason for this. There is a difference between Christian prophecy and Jewish Prophecy. Christian prophecy and eschatology is very antisemitic. The people that are doing this don’t often know it is antisemitic. Christian prophecy is really bad, and the reason is likened to this. If you are cooking in the kitchen and making a “master” dish and you have a number of ingredients missing, you can ruin the taste of the dish. You must have the right ingredients, but you also must have the right portions in order to make it just right. The problem with Christian prophecy is they left out the Jewish understanding of it (the ingredients), which includes the idioms, phrases and concepts. These are all necessary ingredients, and prophecy and eschatology can only be understood with Jewish understanding because that is how God revealed it. The problem with Jewish prophecy is it is non-existent because they have been told “you shouldn’t study it.” So, let’s go into why Jews were told that.
It relates to what we have been talking about and the Zealots. The Zealots were not just soldier’s and “freedom fighters” but they had a “zeal” for God and believed that they could hasten the coming of the Messiah and Kingdom of God by forcing a war with the Romans. At the end of the war, Messiah and the Kingdom of God would come. Judas Iscariot is called in Hebrew “Yehudah Ha Sicarii” and the Sicarii were extremists in the Zealot camp who believed this. Could it be possible that one of the motivations Judas had for why he betrayed the Lord into the hands of his (and Judas’) enemies was to motivate Yeshua into using his power as the Messiah to provoke Rome into a war and losing, thus ushering in the Kingdom of God? Who knows. But, we do know the Sicarii wanted a confrontation with Rome, who was the fourth beast in Daniel’s visions.
This “war” has two phases in history. Phase 1 happened 2000 years ago and Phase 2 will happen in the near future. The Zealots believed there would be one war, however. But we will have a revised Roman Empire that is coming. It will rise up again (deadly head wound healed) and what happened before will come to a fulfillment, and Messiah will come at the end of it. The Zealots thought they could “bring it to pass” because they were reading the prophecies in Daniel, 1 Enoch and Zechariah and were motivated by the Scriptures of the coming Kingdom of God.
The Jewish War of 66-73 AD was a result of this prophetic scenario, but it would end in disaster. Israel was devastated, Jerusalem and other great cities were destroyed and the Temple wiped off the map. In 116 AD, it happens again in Alexandria, Egypt. It had the second largest Jewish population in the world, outside of Babylon, and they rose up for the same reason and revolted against Rome. The end result was the same, so that by 119 AD there was no Jewish community in Alexandria because they had been wiped out or sold into slavery.
132 AD comes along and we have what is called the “Bar Kochba War” for the same reason. A man named Shimon led a rebellion against Rome. At first, there were victories and Shimon was named “Bar Kochba” and declared “The Messiah” by Rabbis Akiba. Bar Kochba means “Son of the Star” based in Num 24.17, but by 135 AD, it was over. Jews were killed, exiled or sold into slavery. Jewish religious and political authority was eneded and the Jews became a minority in Judea. As a result, there was a ban by the Rabbis to study prophecy. It led to nothing but trouble and the Rabbis wanted no more. That why Maimonides (Rambam) in the Misheh Torah 500 years ago wrote that the Jews don’t study prophecy. We can study Jewish eschatology for ourselves and if we come across a Jewish person, or a Jewish group, we can say “I’ve studied this and let me go through it with you.” Then, if someone asks you a question you can give a Jewish response, using Jewish terms, documents, idioms, phrases and concepts.
In Part 15, we will pick up here and begin to talk about some of the prophetic beliefs in the Hebrew Roots movement.