Why do the Jewish people blame Christianity for the horror of the Holocaust? Find out with Dr. David Reagan on the show Christ in Prophecy.
Last aired on September 6, 2015.
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Dr. Reagan: Did you know that one of the greatest heroes of the Christian faith wrote a booklet that Hitler praised in his book, Mein Kampf, and which became the blueprint for the Holocaust? And did you know that the thoughts he expressed in that booklet were rooted in what is called Replacement Theology, which is the idea that because the Jews killed Jesus, God washed His hands of them in the First Century, replaced them with the Church, and has no purpose left for them? For the details, stay tuned.
Dr. Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus, our Blessed Hope, and welcome to Christ in Prophecy. Thanks for tuning into our program. I hope it will prove to be a blessing to you.
Last week I began sharing with you a presentation of mine titled, “The Evil of Replacement Theology.” This is the theology that teaches that because the Jewish people were guilty of killing Jesus, God washed His hands of them and replaced them with the Church, transferring to the Church all the blessings that He had previously promised to the Jews. I pointed out that the development of this theology was highly ironical because the Church was established and developed by Jews. But when Gentiles started responding to the Gospel in great numbers and quickly outnumbered the Jews in the Church, they began to respond to the Jewish people with a vehement anti-Semitism that they justified in the name of Replacement Theology. Incidentally, if you would like to view last week’s program, you can do so on our website at LambLion.com. Or you can view it on demand at other websites like HisChannel.com.
Last week I traced the unsavory history of Christian anti-Semitism up to the beginning of the Middle Ages in the 5th Century, and I pointed out that by that time two doctrines had become firmly established: First that the Jews should be considered Christ killers and should be treated accordingly. Second that the Church has replaced Israel and therefore God has no future purpose for the Jewish people. I would now like to pick up where we left off last week to show you how this twisted theology led to the Holocaust.
Dr. Reagan’s Presentation
Dr. Reagan: Again, by the beginning of the Middle Ages in the 5th Century, two erroneous concepts about the Jews had become firmly established in Christian doctrine: (1) The Jews should be considered “Christ Killers” and should be mistreated accordingly. (2) The Church has replaced Israel, and God has no future purpose for the Jews. And these concepts were reinforced throughout the Middle Ages through the Crusades, artistic expressions, blood libels, Black Plague myths, distinguishing marks, relegation to ghettos, pogroms, and The Inquisition.
Let me just briefly comment on each of these. First the Crusades, although their major purpose was to free the Holy Land of its Muslim rulers, the hatred of the Jews that had been instilled in the people of Europe by the Church encouraged the Crusaders to slaughter all the Jews along the way. Further, Pope Urban had given the Crusaders a guarantee of absolution for crimes committed in the Crusader cause. The Crusader shout, “God wills it!” soon became transmuted into “Kill a Jew and save your soul!” The atrocities committed in the name of Jesus were beyond imagination. For example, after the Crusaders captured Jerusalem on July 15, 1099, Jews were herded into their synagogues, exits were blocked, and the synagogues were surrounded by soldiers who sang “Fairest Lord Jesus” while they burned the synagogues to the ground.
Artistic expressions, since the literacy rate in the Middle Ages was probably only 25% at most, the most important mode of communication to the common people was through various forms of art. These took the form of dehumanized portrayals of Jews in paintings, picture books, picture Bibles, sculptures, and dramas. One of the most vivid, and abominable obscene pictures was this one called “The Jewish Sow.” It appeared throughout Europe in the Middle Ages in many different forms. It depicted Jews nursing on pigs and eating their excrement. This horrid scene was painted on church walls, featured in stained glass windows, portrayed in statuary in churches. Here is an example of it on the exterior of the Regensburg Cathedral in Germany it was facing the Jewish quarter, this depiction dates from the 13th Century. And here is another example of the scene on the exterior of a parish church in Wittenberg, Germany.
A more sophisticated portrayal of Replacement Theology was to be found in a very popular image called “Ecclesia versus Synagoga,” or the Church versus the Synagogue. It personified the Church and the Synagogue as rival queens. The Jewish queen was shown blindfolded, bareheaded and downcast. In one hand she holds a broken staff. In the other she clutches the tablets of the law which are about to slip from her hand. The Church queen is depicted as triumphant, wearing a crown, with a cross in one hand and a chalice in the other. These statues were often found at the portals of cathedrals. They clearly communicated the idea that Jews had been cast aside to make way for the new people of God. Here are two women portrayed in a crucifixion scene published in a German psalter in 1260, on the left you see the Church queen collecting the blood of Jesus in her chalice. On the right you see the Jewish queen blindfolded looking down in shame.
Another type of artistic expression that was popular was the drama. Miracle plays and passion plays abounded during the Middle Ages, and they were used to cultivate hatred toward the Jewish people. Jews were depicted as demons who knew full well that Christ was the Son of God. In each play, as Christ carried the cross, he was tortured and tormented by bloodthirsty, cursing devils with had hooked noses, horns and tails. The Jews were made to seem as evil as Christ was divine.
Bible story books and picture Bibles, like the Holkham Bible produced in London in the 14th Century always portrayed the Jews as evil agents of Satan. Take this picture for example from the Holkham Bible, it shows the crucifixion and notice there are no Roman soldiers portrayed all that you see are Jews who are involved in killing Jesus.
Throughout the Middle Ages professing Christians spread myths which helped to heighten popular hatred and fear of the Jewish people. As a result, it became commonplace among Christian groups to think of Jews as agents of Satan. One of the most popular anti- Jewish myths that gained widespread acceptance was the notion that Jews murdered Christians each year around the time of Passover in order to get blood needed to perform satanic rites. The blood libel is still alive and well today folks, this is taken from a Palestinian magazine. This became known as the charge of ritual murder or blood libel. Another common myth that circulated during these years was that Jews would steal the wafers used in communion and stab them with knives, killing Jesus over and over again.
The most notorious blood libel of the Middle Ages occurred in 1493 when a two year old boy named Simon disappeared in Trento, Italy. This is one person’s version of this. His father blamed the Jewish community and 15 Jews were charged with ritual murder and burned at the stake. This emotional story spread quickly throughout Europe and inspired many charges of ritual murder against the Jews.
The Black Plague in the middle of the fourteenth century killed approximately one-third of the population of Europe. At the time, it was not known how the illness spread, but stories and rumors circulated that Jews had poisoned the wells. And although the accusation was totally unfounded, many Christians believed the myth. One reason it was easy to believe is because the Jews were not impacted by the plague as much as were the Gentiles. But this was due to sanitary laws of the Bible that they followed like washing their hands after going to the bathroom. More than sixty Jewish communities were burned to the ground with all their occupants killed, and in some places, Jews were tortured and burned to death in bonfires.
The Fourth Lateran Council headed by Pope Innocent III in 1215 ruled that Jews must wear distinguishable dress and a colored badge of identification. This became common place throughout Europe. A badge and a certain type of hat they had to wear.
In the 11th Century large cities throughout Europe began to herd Jews into designated areas within the cities called ghettos. This action was motivated, of course, by hatred of the Jews. Considering them to be vermin, it was decided that they should be cut off from the rest of the population.
Massive violent attacks against Jewish communities broke out in the 11th and 12th Centuries in France, Germany and England. The Black Plague in the 14th Century accentuated these attacks. During these pogroms Jews were murdered, synagogues were destroyed and Torah scrolls were burned.
And then the Inquisition, it started in 12th Century France it persisted into the 14th Century. It was originally launched to counter heresy within the Catholic Church, but in 1242 it veered off course by condemning the Talmud, resulting in the burning of thousands of Jewish books. And in 1288, the Inquisition produced the first mass burning of Jews at the stake in France.
Unfortunately, the Reformation produced no changes in attitudes toward the Jews. Replacement Theology is contained throughout the reference notes of the Geneva Bible, published in 1557, and it is reflected in the chapter headings of the King James Bible, published in 1611. For example let’s take Isaiah 43:1 from the King James Bible, “But now thus sayeth the Lord, that created thee O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel. Fear not for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, thou art mine.” The whole chapter is devoted to Jacob and Israel. But what is the chapter title? What is the chapter title? God comforteth the Church with His promises.
Actually, the Reformation seemed to get off to a good start regarding the attitudes toward the Jews. That’s because Martin Luther interjected a breath of fresh air when he took a firm stand against the Church’s mistreatment of the Jewish people. In an essay he wrote in 1523 entitled, “That Jesus Christ Was Born a Jew,” he surveyed medieval and anti-Semitism and made this proclamation: “If I had been a Jew and had seen such dolts and blockheads govern and teach the Christian faith, I would sooner have become a hog than a Christian.” He simply believed that the Jewish people would convert en masse to Christianity once they had been presented with a Gospel that was free of what he called “papal paganism.” He concluded his treatise with these words: “Therefore, I would request and advise that one deal gently with them, with the Jews, and instruct them from Scripture; then some of them may come along. Instead of this we are trying only to drive them by force, slandering them. So long as we thus treat them like dogs, how can we expect to work any good among them? Again, when we forbid them to labor and do business and have any human fellowship with us, thereby forcing them into usury, how is that supposed to do them any good? If we really want to help them, we must be guided in our dealings with them not by papal law but by the law of Christian love. If some of them should prove stiff-necked, what of it? After all, we ourselves are not all good Christians either.”
Unfortunately this biblical attitude did not last long. Luther became disillusioned and irritated with the Jews when they continued to resist the Gospel, what he called the reformed Gospel. In 1526 he complained of the Jews’ stubbornness, and by the 1530s he was endorsing the common medieval stereotypes of the Jews, referring to them as “iron-hearted” and “stubborn as the Devil.” By the end of his life, Luther had turned against the Jews with a vengeance. And in 1543 he wrote a pamphlet entitled “Concerning the Jews and Their Lies.” In it he referred to the Jews as: “A miserable and accursed people,” “Stupid fools,” “Miserable, blind and senseless,” “Thieves and robbers,” “The great vermin of humanity,” “Lazy rogues,” “Blind and venomous.”
And having dehumanized and demonized them, Luther then proceeded to make some startling proposals for dealing with them: He said, “Their synagogues and schools should be burned. Their houses should be destroyed. Their Talmudic writings should be confiscated. Their Rabbis should be forbidden to teach. Their money should be taken from them. And they should be compelled into forced labor.”
Needless to say, the Nazis gleefully quoted Martin Luther as they rose to power and launched the Holocaust. In fact, Hitler referred to Luther in his book, Mein Kampf, as a “great warrior, a true statesman, and a great reformer.” In 1924 at a Christian gathering in Berlin, Hitler spoke to thousands of Christians and received a standing ovation when he made the following proclamation: “I believe that today I am acting in accordance with the will of Almighty God as I announce the most important work that Christians could undertake and that is to be against the Jews and get rid of them once and for all.”
Hitler then proceeded to talk about the influence of Martin Luther on his life he said, “Martin Luther has been the greatest encouragement of my life. Luther was a great man. He was a giant. With one blow he heralded the coming of the new dawn and the new age. He saw clearly that the Jews need to be destroyed, and we’re only beginning to see that we need to carry this work on.”
At the Nuremberg war crime trials Julius Streicher, defended himself by saying, and I quote, “I have never said or done anything that Martin Luther did not say or tell me to do.”
The terrible truth is that Christians do not like to face, a truth they do not like to face in which many are unaware of, is that the Holocaust was the product of 1,900 years of virulent Christian anti-Semitism. And the Jews are fully aware of this fact. Thus, Eliezer Berkovits, a renowned Orthodox Jew wrote in 1984 that the Holocaust was due to the “moral bankruptcy of Christian civilization and the spiritual bankruptcy of the Christian religion.” He further observed that “a straight line leads from the first act of oppression against the Jews and Judaism in the 4th Century to the Holocaust in the 20th Century.”
Speaking of the Holocaust, the horror of it tended to mute virulent anti-Semitism among Christian leaders after World War II. But in reality, it continues in a new form called Anti-Zionism. Anti-Zionism is just anti-Semitism in new, sophisticated clothes. Whereas anti-Semitism sought to drive out the Jews from the lands where they lived, anti-Zionism refuses to accept their right to live in their own land. And so you have it, an overview of the sad and sordid history of Christian anti-Semitism rooted in Replacement Theology and continuing to this day under the guise of anti-Zionism.
What does the Word of God have to say about all this? To begin with, it strongly repudiates anti-Semitism. Consider these words from Psalm 129: May all who hate Zion be put to shame and turned backward. Let them be like grass upon the housetops which withers before it grows up, with which the reaper does not fill his hand. Nor do those who pass by say, “The blessing of the Lord be upon you” Do not even give a blessing to someone who is an Anti-Semite
With regard to the allegation that the Jews are “Christ killers,” the Word of God clearly identifies who murdered Jesus and makes it plain that the Jews were not exclusively responsible. You will find the identity of those responsible in Acts 4:27: “For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant, Jesus, whom You did anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the people of Israel.” Who murdered Jesus? The Romans, the Jews, the Gentiles, and someone else who is not mentioned in this verse, you and me! Because He died for the sins of the world and we are sinners. All of us have the blood of Jesus on our hands.
Regarding the idea that God has in some way or other fulfilled the land promised to the Jews during the time of Joshua, it is interesting to note that long after Joshua, King David wrote in Psalm 105 that the land promise is everlasting in nature and is yet to be fulfilled. The fact of the matter is that the Jews have never occupied all the land that was promised to them in the Abrahamic Covenant. Under Joshua, they were given only the land that was promised to the chiefs of the tribes and to Moses.
Concerning the claim that the Jews have been rejected by God, there are a couple of biblical principles that need to be kept in mind. First, the Bible affirms that the Jews were called to be the Chosen People of God to witnesses what it means to have a relationship with God. And the Bible makes it clear that this calling is “irrevocable.” You can find the calling of Israel in Isaiah 43, “You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. I, even I, am the Yahweh, And there is no Savior besides Me. So you are My witnesses, declares the Yahweh.”
The everlasting nature of this call is emphasized in Romans 11, “From the standpoint of the gospel they the Jews 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.”
In direct contradiction to Replacement Theology, the Bible teaches that the Jews have never been replaced with the Church because of their unbelief. In Romans 3 Paul asserts point blank that their rejection of Jesus has not nullified God’s faithfulness to the promises He has made to them. It is incredible how far the Church has gotten away from what the Bible has to say about this. Look at this Romans 3 Paul asks the question, “What advantage has the Jew?” The Church has answered that question for 2,000 years, “none whatsoever.” But look what Paul says, “Great in every respect. First of all that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.” Another question, “What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? And the Church for 2,000 years has said, “Yes.” And what does Paul say? “May it never be! Rather, let God be found true though every man be found a liar.” Paul makes the same point again in Romans 11:1 where he asks: “God has not rejected His people, has He?” Again the Church’s response for 2,000 years has been “Yes!” But Paul’s response is exactly the opposite: “May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” And then he ends it with plain English, “God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.”
It is true that the Jewish people are currently under discipline because of their rejection of the Messiah. Over and over in their Scriptures the prophets said they would be disciplined if they were unfaithful, but always the promise was made that they would be preserved. An example of this type of prophetic statement can be found in Jeremiah 30:11, “For I am with you,” declares the Lord, “to save you; for I will destroy completely all the nations where I have scattered you, only I will not destroy you completely. But I will chasten you justly, and will by no means leave you unpunished.” God has preserved them. He has preserved them in His grace because He loves them. In Zechariah 2:8 God proclaims the Jewish people are “the apple of His eye,” and He warns against anyone, anyone trying to harm them.
Another reason they have been preserved is because God is determined to bring a great remnant of the Jews to salvation. This promise is made repeatedly throughout the Hebrew Scriptures and is confirmed by Paul in the New Testament in Romans 9-11. The salvation of this remnant is described in detail in Zechariah 12:10 where it says that at the end of the Tribulation the remaining Jews will come to the end of themselves and they will turn their hearts to God in repentance and accept Yeshua as their Messiah when He lands on the Mount of Olives. And this believing remnant will go into the Millennium in the flesh and will comprise the nation of Israel to whom God will fulfill all the prophecies He has made to the Jews. During the Millennial reign the nation of Israel will be the prime nation of the world through whom God will bless all the other nations.
I love this painting of the Millennial. The Bible says that when Jesus returns there will be the greatest earthquake in history and the mountains will be lowered, and the valleys lifted up. It’s like the whole earth becomes a plain and Jerusalem will be lifted up. It implies Jerusalem will be the highest point on planet earth. So Jerusalem is lifted up. And you see the glory of God coming forth as Jesus reigns as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. You see millions of people coming to Jerusalem as it says they will do during the Feast of Tabernacles. You see the water coming out and going down to the Dead Sea where the Dead Sea will become alive. You see the man beating the swords into plowshares. The wolf with lamb, and the little boy playing with the snake. A portrayal of what the Bible exactly says about the millennial reign.
In summary my friends, the Word of God makes it clear that Israel definitely has a role and a future in the end times. There can be no doubt, no doubt that a perversion of Christianity called Replacement Theology has been the source of most anti-Semitism in the Western world. Throughout northern Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia, anti-Semitism has been promoted by Islam. The Qur’an calls Jews “the children of monkeys and pigs.” But there are anti-Semites in this world who are neither Christian nor Muslim and who have never even met a Jew.
For example, a few years ago several of the top ten bestselling books in Japan were virulently anti-Semitic, blaming all the problems of Japan on the international Jewish conspiracy. Why is anti-Semitism so widespread? Why is it so persistent? Why is it so virulent? Why is it so irrational? It’s because, it is fundamentally a supernatural phenomenon. I want to end as I began, by emphasizing that Satan hates the Jews with a passion. He hates them because God provided both the Bible and the Messiah through them. He hates them because God called them to be His Chosen People. He hates them because God has promised to save a great remnant of them. He hates them because God loves them.
And the result is that he works overtime to plant seeds of hatred in people’s heart toward the Jews. He is determined to destroy every Jew on planet earth so that God cannot keep His promise to save a remnant. He tried to annihilate them in the Holocaust. He failed. He will try to destroy them once again during the last half of the Tribulation. He will fail.
In conclusion, Replacement Theology is an abomination. It is unbiblical, it has resulted in virulent anti-Semitism that has in turn resulted in the deaths of millions of Jews. There is no reason why the Church should be covetous of the promises that God has made to the Jewish people. God has also made some glorious promises to the Church, one of which is the Rapture. Additionally He has promised that we will reign with Him over all the nations of the world during the millennial kingdom. And we have been promised that we will live with Him eternally on a New Earth in a New Jerusalem in Glorified Bodies. It is no wonder that Paul wrote: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor has the mind of man even conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.”
One of the fundamental underlying messages of this presentation is that God is in control. He’s on the throne. He is sovereign. He has the wisdom and the power to orchestrate all the evil of mankind and the evil of Satan to the triumph of His Son in history. And God has already proved this point with His response to the Cross. He took the most dastardly act in the history of mankind and turned it into one of the most glorious through the power of the resurrection. Satan has got to be the most frustrated character in the universe. And just as he was frustrated in murdering God’s Son, He will be frustrated in murdering God’s People. For a great remnant of the Jewish people is going to live to the end of the Tribulation. When they will be brought to the end of themselves. And when Jesus appears “they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.” They will receive Yeshua as their Messiah, and they will cry out from the depths of their heart, “Baruch Haba B’Shem Adonai.” Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! What a glorious day that will be. What glory it will bring to the name of God. And meanwhile, as we wait for that day, let us meet each new day with the cry of “Maranatha! Maranatha! Come quickly Lord Jesus!” Thank you.
Dr. Reagan: Welcome back to Christ in Prophecy and our discussion of the origins of Christian anti-Semitism.
Now, folks, I know the presentation you’ve been viewing has been a very challenging one, but I hope it has also been a blessing to you. I want to conclude this program by emphasizing something that I mentioned in my presentation and which I emphasized at the end of last week’s program. It is my response to the accusation that the Jews were the killers of Christ. The Bible reveals this accusation to be an absolute myth. That’s because there is a passage in the New Testament that tells us precisely who killed Jesus. You will find the passage in Acts 4:27. It reads as follows: “For truly in this city Jerusalem there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel.” Now, notice carefully who this passage says was responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus: The Roman rulers, the Gentiles and the Jews. But that is not a complete list. Do you realize who is missing from that list? You and me! That’s because Jesus died for the sins of all humanity. Our sins, yours and mine put Him on that Cross, and not just the sins of the Jewish people.
If you have never received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, let me urge you to do so. He died for your sins. Repent of your sins, place your faith in Him, and His blood will cover your sins, and you will stand justified before God.
And folks, if you do that, then seek out a Bible-believing and Jesus-exalting church where you can make a public confession of your faith, witness that faith in baptism, and get involved in a Bible study group that will enable you to grow in your faith. And then, start sharing your faith with others.
Well, that’s our program for this week. I hope you will be back with us next week. And until then, this is Dave Reagan speaking for Lamb & Lion Ministries, saying, “Look up, be watchful, for our Redemption is drawing near.”
End of Program