Michael Brown: When Orthodox Jews Persecute Christians

For several decades, I have drawn attention to the Church’s historic persecution of the Jews in Jesus’ name. It is one of the ugliest and longest chapters in Church history, and it cannot be downplayed, forgotten, or ignored. With God’s help, I will continue to call out “Christian” anti-Semitism wherever I see it today. But I will not ignore Jewish persecution of Christians. It too must be called out.

In the Gospels, Jesus and His followers, all of them Jews, were persecuted by hypocritical Jewish leaders, ultimately leading to the Lord’s death on the cross. And that pattern continued in the Book of Acts, where the Jewish leadership stood in opposition to the message of Jesus the Messiah, sometimes persecuting His Jewish followers to the death (see Acts 7).

Some even stirred up trouble wherever these Messianic Jewish emissaries went to share the good news (see Acts 17), and this continued in the centuries that followed, with some documented cases of Jewish leaders siding with local efforts to persecute Christians.

Of course, no amount of Jewish persecution of Christians can justify the horrors inflicted on the Jewish people by professing Christians, including torture, exile, being forced into ghettos, being burned at the stake, being offered baptism or death, and much more.

And it is an open secret that the Nazis drew on Martin Luther’s anti-Semitic writings to help enflame German hatred against the Jews.

None of this can be denied, nor should it be denied. To the contrary, we must be ever mindful of this tragic history lest we repeat it in our day.

But, to say it again, when there is Jewish persecution of followers of Jesus, that must be called out as well, especially when it takes place in Israel.

It was a radical Jew who delivered a bomb, disguised as a holiday gift, to the house of Ami Ortiz, the son of Jewish Christian parents. He miraculously survived the bomb blast, which took place in 2008.

But this act, extreme as it was, was not in isolation.

As reported by Time Magazine in 2008, “Messianic Jews, as these Jews who believe in Jesus are called, number just a few in Israel — anywhere between 6,000 and 15,000 — but they provoke hatred all out of proportion to their meager numbers. Many orthodox Jews view them as traitors for joining the Christian faith, which for centuries has persecuted Jews. One Messianic Jew, Tzvi Sadan, a teacher and editor, recalls telling his father, a Holocaust survivor, that he had accepted Jesus as his Savior. ‘My dad flipped out. He said that the SS guards in the camp had ‘God Is With Us’ written on their belts. He told me, “You’ve joined the enemy.” But he calmed down a bit when he saw my prayer shawl.’” (What Sadan means is that he didn’t stop being a Jew by following Jesus.)

Over the years, Messianic Jews have suffered different levels of persecution within Israel, although none so violent as the bomb attack on Ami Ortiz.

But there have been protests and even vandalism at Messianic Jewish meeting places, attempts to get some believers deported, and various threats and harassments.

Virtually all these acts are carried out by ultra-Orthodox Jews, who view “missionary” activity as diabolical, destructive, and dishonest. As some of these protesters once chanted outside of a large Messianic Jewish gathering I was attending in Israel, “Hitler wanted our bodies. You want our souls!”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Brown