I have been to Israel 45 times, and every time my spiritual life has been enriched. I recently took a video cameraman with me and had him shoot on the fly as I led a pilgrimage group to the land. We began in Tel Aviv, and went from there to Tiberias in the north, and then back to Jerusalem.
I hope to share some of the sermons I presented from that trip with you. As I do so, I think you'll come to understand why a person once wrote, "A pilgrimage to the Holy Land converts the Bible from black and white into Technicolor."
My second message was presented in the massive Crusader fortress of Akko, located on Israel's northern border with Lebanon.
Supernatural Reasons Behind Anti-Semitism
What I have to share with you here is something that is not very pleasant, but I think that it should be shared because most Christians are not aware of it. The reason I'm sharing it with you at a Crusader fortress is because it directly relates to what I'm going to talk about. I want to talk to you about Anti-Semitism
Satan hates the Jews with a passion. He hates the Jews because it was through them that God gave us the Bible and through the them God gave us the Messiah.
The Jews are the chosen people of God, and are still to this day, in the sense that they're witnesses of God. God made a promise that in the end times He would bring a great remnant of the Jews to salvation. Satan knows this promise and he hates it. Satan is determined to kill every Jew on planet earth so that not one could ever respond to the Messiah. That's what the Holocaust was all about, and there's a greater holocaust coming.
The Hebrew Scriptures themselves say in the book of Zechariah that during the Great Tribulation two-thirds of all Jews will die by the hand of the Antichrist.
Anti-Semitism has been around throughout history, most noticeably coming from the Arabs and Atheists. I think Anti-Semitism is supernatural. Satan puts it in people's hearts to hate the Jews. I remember a few years back reading a poll of the top ten best-selling books in Japan and five of them were virulently Anti-Semitic. They blamed all the problems of Japan on the Jews. They're aren't even enough Jews in Japan to count on one hand, yet that's the nature of Anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitic Church Leaders
I've done a lot of research on the subject of Anti-Semitism, so let me read to you something from an article I wrote concerning the Anti-Semitism that came from notable Church leaders.
What most Christians are unaware of is the fact that the greatest source of Anti-Semitism has always come from Christianity. In the year 100, only 70 years after the Church was established, there were already Church leaders speaking out vehemently against the Jews and forming the Anti-Semitism that soon came to represent Christianity. For example, Justin Martyr claimed that God's covenant with Israel was no longer valid and that the Gentiles had replaced the Jews. And folks, this happened in 100 AD.
Irenaeus in 130 declared Jews were disinherited from the grace of God. Tertullian in 155 blamed the Jews for the death of Jesus and argued they had been rejected by God.
The greatest orator of the Church in the early years was a man by the name of John Chrysostom — John the Golden Voice. This man was made a saint by the Roman Catholic Church and to this day is a saint. In 400 AD he preached a series of sermons against the Jews, a whole series in which he stated, now I'm quoting him, "The synagogue is not only a brothel and a theater, it is also a den of robbers and a lodging place for wild beasts. Jews are murderers possessed by the Devil. Their debauchery and drunkenness gives the manners of a pig." He denied that Jews could ever receive forgiveness. He claimed it was a Christian's duty to hate and persecute the Jews. He also claimed that Jews worshiped Satan. Most people don't know this, but this man was canonized as a saint.
Another little knows fact was that St. Augustine, who was the greatest theologian of the Roman Catholic Church, was also vehemently anti-Semitic.
In the Middle Ages this Anti-Semitism was continually fueled in many different ways. First, it was fueled by the Crusades themselves. When the Crusaders left Europe and marched toward the Holy Land, they decided that in the process they might as well kill every Jew along the way. That way when they arrived in the Holy Land, they would be good at killing and they'd have an easier time killing the "Mohammadines" as they put it. The Crusaders slaughtered Jews all across Europe as they made their way to the Holy Land.
One of the things the Crusaders would do is they would herd all the Jews into a synagogue, block all the doors so no one would escape, and they would set it on fire and burn the Jews alive. While they stood outside they would sing, "Fairest Lord Jesus," which was their favorite hymn, by the way. They would sing this as they crucified and martyred these people.
The only thing that I can say on behalf of the Crusaders is that the average Crusader could not read or write, so the only thing that he knew about the Bible was what the Church had told him. And, the Church had basically told him the story of Jesus death and how the Jews had killed Jesus and how and that it was his obligation and duty to hate Jewish people. But, nonetheless, the blood on their hands was unbelievable.
Anti-Semetism was also fueled during the Middle Ages by the Passion Plays. All throughout Europe, they would put on these plays every year at Easter time. They would have the Jews come out on the stage with big hook noses around their heads, and when they would come out on the stage, people would boo and hiss and throw things at them. The whole design of the Passion Play was not to glorify Jesus Christ, but to teach people to hate the Jews.
Another form of Anti-Semetism were terrible myths that were spread about the Jewish people. One of the greatest ones was called the Blood Libel. This myth came out every year at Passover. The Church would say to the people, "Do you know that the Jews are going to kidnap Christians, they are going to cut their throats for blood, and they are going to use that blood in the Passover feast?" And people believed this lie.
Another myth that was spread was that Jews would sneak into the Catholic churches and steal the wafers. It was said they'd take a knife and stab the wafers. The wafers represented the living body of Christ, so they were figuratively killing Christ again and again and again. And still, people believed this nonsense.
The Black Plague was also used against the Jews. What's interesting is the fact that during the Black Plague, millions and millions of Europeans died, yet hardly any Jews died. The reason the Jews didn't die was because they followed the sanitary regulations that had been given to them by the Law of Moses. But, the people looking at this not knowing that and not understanding it concluded, "We're dying and the Jews are not. Therefore, Jews must be poisoning our wells. Jews must be the cause of all of this." As a result, during the Black Plague the Jews were terribly persecuted, because Christians said, "They're the cause of the Black Plague."
In the second and last part of this sermon from the Holy Land given at the Crusader fortress of Akko, you'll be surprised to learn how much Martin Luther's teachings greatly influenced the Nazis.