Persecuting Israel in the Last Days
Increasing anti-Semitism means the Jews are still the world's scapegoat
The whole world is persecuting Israel—again.
I am not just talking about the political nation of Israel, either. I’m talking about the Jews who remain scattered to the four corners of the earth. Ever since the 11-day war between Israel and Hamas—which itself was a form of persecution—anti-Semitic incidents across the planet have jumped 63 percent.
I am not surprised by this, especially when warfare in the Promised Land flares up. The combination of social media, American political support, and a growing international concern over racism have caused a drastic increase in scrutiny over Israel’s (so-called) “racist” actions.
Listen: racism truly is evil, and we should speak out against it wherever we observe it. The Bible is clear about this.
But when Israel defends itself against the 4,400 rockets of a U.S.-designated terrorist group? That is not racism. It is self-defense. And Israel, like every nation, has both that right and duty to protect itself.
Anti-Semitism turns violent
Unfortunately, much of the public cannot see through the disinformation campaign. As a result, many of the reports of anti-Semitism have been frighteningly violent. In New York, for example, police are investigating a hate crime against a 29-year-old Jewish man who was punched, kicked, and temporarily blinded by pepper spray, as assailants shouted curses against Jews.
Similar acts of violence, along with vandalism, have been reported in Chicago, Los Angeles, and around the globe. According to the American Defamation League, social media has been particularly concerning. Between May 7 to 14, more than 17,000 tweets conveyed some variation of the phrase “Hitler was right.” (I mentioned this, in brief, a couple of weeks ago.)
As Christians, we should not be surprised about the global assault on Jews. On the contrary, we should expect this activity to continue increasing until it reaches a fever pitch. This is a sign that the Rapture is near.
In Revelation 11, we are told that in the very last days, for forty-two months, the city of Jerusalem will be trampled upon by the nations. (“They will tread the holy city underfoot,” Revelation 11:2 predicts.)
Two Jewish prophets will arise during that time, displaying signs and wonders that emulate the ministry of Moses and Elijah. Both God and the world will turn their special attention to the Jews during this final season of history—but in very different ways.
Giving the Jews special attention
God never took His eyes off Israel, of course. But He will turn His attention to the Jews in an unprecedented way by resuming the prophetic clock that paused two thousand years ago. This opens the door of faith to the Gentiles, as Daniel 9:27 and the New Testament clarify.
But on the other hand, the world will turn special attention to the Jews in order to persecute them with greater intensity.
The good news is that God will protect His people. As the story continues, Revelation 12 twice portrays “a woman” (Israel) being sheltered in the wilderness from Satan’s attacks. This lasts for three-and-a-half years (Revelation 12:6), just like the period of prophetic witness (Revelation 11:2-3).
No matter how hard Satan tries (Revelation 12:12-17), he can never break God’s covenant with the Jews.
Even though God will preserve corporate Israel, however, this does not mean that individual Jews (and Christians) will be totally unharmed. Bible prophecy predicts persecution (Revelation 12:17), and some of the saints will be killed:
7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation…10 He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.—Revelation 13:7,10
The two prophets of Revelation are among the individual Jews who will be killed when the Antichrist comes to power (Revelation 11:7). That may seem like a moment of tragedy. But victory is coming.
Bringing good from evil
After three-and-a-half days of gloating, in anti-Semitic fervor, the world will gaze in amazement. The breath of God will reenter the bodies of the prophets and they will rise and ascend to heaven. But that’s not all:
In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.—Revelation 11:13
Even though some people die in the earthquake, the majority—“the rest”—will give “glory to the God of heaven.” In Revelation, this phrase always refers to genuine worship (see Revelation 4:9 or Revelation 14:7).
This is an example of God working out for good what Satan meant for evil. Out of the anti-Semitic slaying of the two witnesses, God will bring about worldwide revival.
This is just the way God works. He brings life out of death. He did it in the tomb of Jesus. He did it in the wake of the Holocaust, in 1948, by giving birth to a nation in a single day (Isaiah 66:8).
And He will do it again despite—and even as a result of—the anti-Semitic persecution of the last days.
From scapegoat to salvation
From now until the end of the age, God’s chosen people will remain the scapegoats of the world. Thankfully, however, that’s not the whole story. They will also be the salvation of the world, because God’s covenant with the Jews is eternal and unbreakable.
Don’t forget the promise God gave to Abram:
“I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Amen and amen. Come, Lord Jesus.