We can no longer speak of the church fathers of the past nor of the great Reformation period as if they were without sin or error in their teaching.
Martin Luther’s hatred of the Jews, and his sermon called “On the Jews and Their Lies” was finally translated during the 20th century, for the whole world to read the truth.
In the beginning Luther had a love for God’s covenant people and he hoped that God would use him to bring the Jews to Messiah (Christ). This however was not God’s plan in that time era and so when it did not happen, Luther turned against the Jewish people with a passion! Because of his “On the Jews and Their Lies” in just one night, over 2000 Jews were slaughtered.
Conversely Oliver Cromwell had a deep spiritual love for and an understanding of God’s plan and purposes for Israel. He invited the Jews of Europe to come to England, to be temporarily housed and then taken on ships to the Land of Israel to settle knowing this would speed the return of Jesus and His millennium rule. When most refused Oliver Cromwell simply blessed them without turning on them as Martin Luther so cruelly did! Cromwell allowed God’s will to be done knowing that a time would come when the Fig Tree would blossom and bear fruit. God’s perfect timing must always be adhered to.
Martin Luther wrote: “What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews? Since they live among us, we dare not tolerate their conduct, now that we are aware of their lying and reviling and blaspheming. If we do, we become sharers in their lies, cursing and blasphemy. Thus we cannot extinguish the unquenchable fire of divine wrath, of which the prophets speak, nor can we convert the Jews. With prayer and the fear of God we must practice a sharp mercy to see whether we might save at least a few from the glowing flames. We dare not avenge ourselves. Vengeance a thousand times worse than we could wish them already has them by the throat. I shall give you my sincere advice:-
First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honour of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. For whatever we tolerated in the past unknowingly and I myself was unaware of it will be pardoned by God. But if we, now that we are informed, were to protect and shield such a house for the Jews, existing right before our very nose, in which they lie about, blaspheme, curse, vilify, and defame Christ and us (as was heard above), it would be the same as if we were doing all this and even worse ourselves, as we very well know.
Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. This will bring home to them that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they are living in exile and in captivity, as they incessantly wail and lament about us before God.” Martin Luther.
It should be noted that Hitler loved the teachings of Martin Luther, and carried a copy of “On the Jews and Their Lies” to every evil SS meeting. (Sadly, Replacement Theology has been taught in the Lutheran church since its inception). Before Hitler came along the Jews were a major part of the Germany economy and prospered within all levels of society. Many after being warned to flee the coming wrath of the Nazi Party refused as they were German by birth and citizens by right but this counted for nothing!
John Calvin was also a hater of God’s Chosen people.
“Their [the Jews] rotten and unbending stiffneckedness deserves that they be oppressed unendingly and without measure or end and that they die in their misery without the pity of anyone.” A quote from John Calvin.
Jewish persecution by the Church fathers:
Martin Luther and John Calvin certainly do not stand alone in their anti-Semitism as historical writings of the so called church fathers show us:-
Ignatius the Bishop of Antioch stated, “Let us therefore no longer keep the Sabbath after the Jewish manner, not in relaxation nor eating of foods prepared the day before, not finding delight in dancing and clapping which have no sense.”
John Chrysostom (4th Century AD) through a number of sermons delivered in Antioch which were all against the Jewish people were filled with hateful anti-Jewish venom. He singled out Torah observance and keeping the Feasts of the Lord as a disease within Christianity. His name means ‘Golden Mouth’ but dross emanated from his anti-Semitic mouth. He had adopted the doctrines of demons as Scripture warns us.
Marcion taught that the Jesus of the New Testament had defeated and even unseated the evil God of the Jews! Such blindness and heretical teaching that many sadly believed at the time.
Justin Martyr (A.D. 100-165) who was a Christian apologist, defended Christianity against its enemies. In his work titled, Justin Martyr with Trypho a Jew. He said that, ‘The seed of Jacob now referred to Christians and not the Jews. He also wrote that God gave the Jews the Torah as punishment for their exceptional wickedness and because of His special hatred of the Jewish people. We too would observe your Sabbath days and Festivals if we were not aware of the reason they were imposed upon you, namely because of your wickedness and hard hearts.’
So began the demonic and infamous teaching of Replacement Theology that dominated Church Theological teaching throughout the centuries harming the understanding of our Hebraic and Jewish Roots of the Faith. Yeshua (Jesus) was born, lived and died a Jew and spoke of how He had been sent to the House of Israel to proclaim the good news of salvation. Leaders then and afterwards taught falsely towards God’s perfect plan and purposes towards Jew and Gentile.
Tertullian (A.D. 160-220) a church theologian from North Africa, wrote a derogatory and very anti-Semitic book titled, An Answer to the Jews around A.D. 200. This man twisted Scripture to fit his errant theology by claiming that the statement made to Rebekah about the twins (Esau and Jacob) within her (see Genesis 25:23) was actually a reference to Jews and Christians.
He said that the older brother, Esau, represented the Jewish people. Jacob, the younger brother represented Christians. His premise was that the Christians would overtake the Jewish people and that the Jews would serve the Christians.
Origen (A.D. 185-254) was president of the school of theology in Alexandria, Egypt. He had a profound effect upon the church, by preaching that much of what is written about Israel in the Word, should be seen as allegorical – spiritualizing his interpretations. We know that the promises made to Israel are not open to interpretation. They should be taught and understood to be literal.
Origen took such liberties with the Word, claiming that the word Israel can mean the church. Not seeing and preaching God’s Word correctly (rightly dividing) becomes a slippery slope into a myriad of heretical teachings. He was a Christian Universalist, believing in universal salvation for all people, and for the fallen angels.
Cyprian (A.D. 195-258) was a bishop of Carthage. He wrote, ‘Three Books of Testimonies Against the Jews’. He maintained that the Jews departed from the God who loved them, and that because they had departed from God, they lost His favour. He taught that God sought out a people who would obey him, and all promises were taken from Israel and bestowed upon the Christians.
The Roman Emperor Constantine had supposedly converted to Christianity but he still worshipped the Sun God until he died. The faltering Church was made the official religion of the Roman Empire and so the apostate church was born. Constantine said, “Let us have nothing to do with the detestable Jewish rabble!” Mother Church then came into being with all its false doctrines, rules, regulations, rites and rituals that led the people astray through the false teachings of men!
John Chrysostom (A.D. 347-407) known as the greatest preacher of the gospel in the Eastern Church, preached messages titled, ‘Against the Jews in Antioch of Syria’. Many preachers followed suit, and preached anti-Semitism from their pulpits.
An influential bishop of Milan, Ambrose, considered the Jews to be infidels, wholly perverse, and incapable of thinking any good thought. He said that the burning of synagogues was no crime and encouraged it.
The Council of Nicea (A.D. 325) defined the future course of the Church except for a faithful remnant. Legislation was introduced that prohibited Christians from following the Torah and observing the Sabbath along with Festivals including the Passover. Everything Jewish was systematically thrown out of Church Theology and Christianity lost its richness of the root system.
Augustine (A.D. 354-430) was recognised as the most influential person since the apostle Paul. He wrote, ‘Tract Against the Jews’ and influenced the church so dramatically against Jews, that derogatory comments about Jews during the Middle Ages were usually called “Augustinian.”
Augustine decreed a new eschatological view called A-millennialism, which means no Millennium. In doing so, the prophecies within Scripture could be spiritualized, and taught that these were all referring to the Church Age alone. The promises of God for the future restoration, renewal, repentance and revival of Israel could be ignored. However, the Lord has moved and we see Israel back in the Land given to them by the Lord. As it is written, “He who scattered Israel will gather him and keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.” Jeremiah 31:10.
It was then the Roman Catholic Church that adopted and adhered to all the teachings of Augustine and anti-Semitism has been with us ever since! The Spanish Inquisition, Pogroms throughout Europe, The Holocaust. Where Jews were hounded, stolen from and put to death.
Today we have Muslim nations wanting to eradicate and destroy Israel, wiping her of the face of the map and from the earth! God will never allow this as He is a ‘Covenant’ keeping God who has promised to regather and reestablish His people in the Land given to them. Thus it is written, thus it is being fulfilled and thus it will be no matter what men try. They kick against the goads and will be the worse for it. Measure for measure.
God told Abraham and for his descendants – “I will bless those that bless you and I will curse him who curses you.” Genesis 12:3.
Date : 30/11/-0001