As the world roils in financial meltdown, Bible students continue to see the spirit of Esau at work among the nations. Welcome to the November 20, 2008 edition of Bible in the News, this is Glenn Abel reporting.
Esau: The first Anti-Semite
Esau may not have been the first to hate his brother (Cain holds this ignominy), but his hatred for Jacob (who was called “Israel” by God) earns Esau the dubious distinction of being the first Anti-Semite.
God, who knows the end from the beginning declared to Rebecca in Genesis 25:23: “… Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger”.
Scripture records how Esau was the progenitor of the nation of Edom (Genesis 36), which carried on his Anti-Semitic spirit: “Thus saith Yahweh; for three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath forever.” (Amos 1:11)
God’s perspective on Jacob and Esau is clear: “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Malachi 1:2-3, Romans 9:13).
Even though Yahweh destroyed Edom as a nation, the spirit of Esau, the spirit of Anti-Semitism, lives on in the nations of the world.
November 9th marked the 70th anniversary of the pogrom against German Jews known as Kristallnacht, or “the Night of Broken Glass”. Back in 1938, the Nazis burned over 267 synagogues, sacked Jewish homes and businesses, killing close to 100 Jews, and arresting and deporting some 30,000 others to concentration camps. The pretext used by the Germans was the killing of a member of the German embassy in Paris’s staff by a 17 year old Jew named Herschel Grynszpan, who wanted revenge for the mistreatment of his family at the hands of the Nazis. Hitler channeled public sentiment and outrage into the destruction that would become known as Kristallnacht. But, that would merely be the beginning of a systematic plan to rid the world of the Jews.
Of course, on the anniversary of this event, officials in Germany were keen to say and do all the right things, but one could not help notice that the emphasis now seems to be placed on “human rights”, and more general comments made about “all those” who suffered. Without a doubt there has been, in recent, years a tendency to treat the Holocaust as simply part of the “horrors” of war, and the Jews just one of many groups who suffered.
The general economic conditions in Europe today, in many ways, mirror the conditions that gave rise to Hitler’s party in 1933. Hitler was able to use the financial woes of the worldwide economic crisis in the 1920s and 30s to his advantage by blaming Jews for Germany’s collapse. Indeed, so-called “far right wing” parties have all made gains in recent years in many countries across Europe. These parties ride the wave of popular discontent among the people.
On November 13th, at the Humboldt University in the former East Berlin, a number of students vandalized an exhibit called: “Betrayed and Sold: Jewish Businesses in Berlin 1933-1935”, causing more than $45,000 in damages. Witnesses reported that during the rampage, the students were shouting Anti-Israeli slogans.
On Monday, it was reported that two Jewish cemeteries in eastern Germany were desecrated. According to police, a pig’s head was hung on a Star of David at the entrance to a Jewish cemetery in the city of Goethe, alongside which a banner was hung with the words “Six million lies.”
According to the head of the Jewish community’s council in Germany, not a week goes by now without a Jewish cemetery being desecrated. This situation is mirrored throughout Europe where the great proportion of Anti-Semitic attacks occurs.
Israel Blamed for Economic Crisis
The ADL (Anti-Defamation League) has reported extensively on the sharp increase in Anti-Semitic incidents as a result of the current economic crisis. The Internet has become the breeding ground for Anti-Semitic and Anti-Zionist propaganda as well as conspiracy theories. Included is one suggesting that in the days leading up to the collapse of Lehman Brothers, “$400 billion in funds was secretly transferred to Israeli banks.”
To be sure, Israel has not been immune to the financial crisis. But, the shekel (the Israeli currency) has been seen as one of the safest assets in Europe, according to financial experts. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that since 2005, the shekel has gained 12 percent against the dollar, 13 percent against the Euro, and 41 percent against the British pound. In the same report, the treasurer of the Tel Aviv unit of Citigroup is quoted: “There’s a lot of repatriation of funds back to Israel and investors have used the shekel as a hedge against other currencies as growth is higher than in other countries.”
Of course, all this adds fuel to the Anti-Semitist fire. The ADL reports that comments appearing at the end of online financial news stories have increasingly blamed the Jews for the financial crisis.
Anti-Zionist Protest Rooted in Anti-Semitism
At the same time, we see further sharpening of the Anti-Zionist protest: “Media moguls protest Gaza Strip ban” read one AP (Associated Press) headline this week. “The protest was the latest in a chorus of international criticism of Israel’s Gaza closure, tightened after a five-month truce began unraveling about two weeks ago in a flurry of Israeli airstrikes against militants and Palestinian rocket barrages targeting Israeli towns”. The lead-in for this article gives the impression that the Palestinian rocket attacks came in response to Israeli airstrikes. Media reporting on the situation in Gaza is often one-sided, with the “poor” militants being glamorized as “David” against the “cruel Goliath” of Israel.
The current EU (European Union) president, France, predictably accused Israel of “disproportionate response”, subtly linking Israel’s response with the response of the Nazis at Kristallnacht.
A 2007 report on Anti-Semitism noted the convergence of Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism: “Anti-Semitism is increasingly being expressed through Anti-Zionism and the equation of Israeli actions and policies with those of Nazi Germany has often served to legitimize Anti-Semitism.”
This week’s incident in Hebron was a case in point. The settlers who refused to vacate their building, which had been purchased legitimately, have been portrayed in this light. In this case, both the Palestinians and the IDF have a vested interest in drawing this association to ratchet up the pressure on the settlers of Hebron. Images showing Israeli desecration of Arab graves were “released” clearly designed to reinforce the association with Nazi Germany.
David Wilder, the settler’s spokesman, summed the matter up: “We read this week how Abraham paid 400 silver shekels for a cave in Hebron”, and, “Anywhere else, preventing a Jew from buying land would be considered Anti-Semitic”.
Anti-Semitism/Anti-Zionism Expected by Bible Students
Bible students have been tracking and reporting on this situation for a number of years, and it is growing worse. That is to be expected, for Yahweh’s prophets have consistently predicted that the nations of the world will be gathered together against Israel.Joel 3:1-2: “For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,  I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.  And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink.” Zechariah 14:2: “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.” Ezekiel 38:10-12,16: “Thus saith the Lord Yahweh; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:  And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,  To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thing hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land…  And thou shalt come up against my people Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days….”
Notice, that in all these passages, it is God Himself who orchestrates the gathering of the nations against Israel and against Jerusalem. In Revelation 16, we are told how He does this:Revelation 16:13-14: “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.  For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”
The “unclean spirits like frogs” emanate from the “mouth”, or the “teaching”, of the “dragon”, “beast”, and “false prophet”. Bible students identify these with the spirit of the French Revolution, the spirit of “Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality”, that unite the “dragon” (Russia), “the beast” (Europe), and the “false prophet” (the Papacy) against Israel. “Liberty of the people” is the great cry.
As Esau reveled in the freedom of the open fields, away from the confining influence of his father Isaac, so the nations revel in the false promise of the liberty of their people. It is no surprise that this teaching leads people away from the God of the Bible, who expects His people to honor and obey Him. This is the perspective that equates Zionists with Nazis. Revelation 16 tells us to expect this to have effect both politically as well as ecclesiastically.
Another Holocaust Predicted
Zechariah 13 indicates that another Holocaust will occur at the time of Armageddon. Zechariah 13:8-9: “And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith Yahweh, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.”
But notice something else the prophets tell us about this time: Ezekiel 38:12,16 tells us the nations are not only there for a spoil and a prey, but also “upon the people”, “against my people Israel”. So, we expect the spirit of Esau, among the nations, to only continue to increase.
The Judgment of Esau’s Progeny
The Psalmist declares in Psalm 30:5 that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning”. We recall how the darkest hours of the Holocaust gave rise to the establishment of the State of Israel and the return of many Jews to the land promised to their forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Likewise, the words of the Psalmist will ring true for Israel, when Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism peaks at Armageddon, Yahweh will fight for them, and Esau’s progeny will be judged “in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained” (Acts 17:31). Joel 3:16: “Yahweh also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but Yahweh will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel” Zechariah 14:3: “Then shall Yahweh go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle”
Isaiah 34:8 tells us that the controversy of Zion will be settled at that time: “For it is the day of Yahweh’s vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.”
Jacob (Israel) Saved
Jacob will be saved, as Jeremiah had prophesied:Jeremiah 46:28: “Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith Yahweh: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished” Zechariah 13:9: “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, Yahweh is my God.”
As the Apostle Paul stated in Romans 11:26-27, quoting Isaiah 59Romans 11:26-27: “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:  For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”
The Elder Shall Serve the Younger
The prophet Amos looked to that time when Israel would possess the remnant of Edom:Amos 9:11-12: “In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof: and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:  That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith Yahweh that doeth this.”
The Apostle James, in Acts 15, quotes from Amos 9, but replaces “the remnant of Edom” with “the residue of men”, speaking of the Gentiles being brought into the hope of Israel:Acts 15:15-17: “And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,  After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:  That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the LORD, who doeth all these things.  Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.”
And so we, like Rebecca, know the end of the matter. The residue of the nations will eventually come to Israel and Jerusalem, to seek the God of Israel.
Scripture declares in Zechariah 8Zechariah 8:22-23: “Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek Yahweh of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before Yahweh.  Thus saith Yahweh 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”.
What a reversal from the times we live in today!
In conclusion, we recall the words of Jesus to the Samaritan Woman in John 4:22: “… salvation is of the Jews.” What was the setting? Jacob’s Well. Bible students everywhere do well to remember that the water of salvation is drawn from Israel’s well. For our hope is “the Hope of Israel”.
Join us again next week, God willing, for another edition of Bible in the news. www.bibleinthenews.com.