Why Should Christians be Kind to the Jews?
Preached on Sunday Evening, October 16, 1938
Collingswood Presbyterian Church, Collingswood, NJ
And broadcast over radio station WPEN
This time has not yet come. Greater suffering and tragedy lie ahead for the Jew. The hour where "there is none to plead thy cause" has not yet come. That time, however, is clearly foreshadowed in our current life. Those voices, few in number, which would plead the cause of Israel today are weak and ineffectual.
Five million Jews in Europe have been hurled over the brink of despair into the awful chasm of suffering and death. Their cry echoes and reechoes around the world, "Where can we go?" Apparently, there is no place for them to go. Outcasts! No nation wants them. In Austria alone seven thousand Jews have been killed since the Anschluss. Thirty-five thousand have died on German soil since the Nazi coup. Three million Jews in Poland, eight hundred thousand in Rumania, four hundred thousand in Hungaria, fifty thousand in Italy are all quivering under the lash of anti-Semitism. Hitler orders them out of Germany, then cancels their passports, and they are herded off to concentration camps. On September 1, Mussolini issued a decree expelling all foreign Jews who have settled in Italy since January, 1919, giving them six months to get out. Since then Jews have been prohibited from teaching or attending the schools. No longer can they practice medicine. In America, anti-Semitism is growing. Since announcing the subject of this message I have received anti-Semitic literature through the mails. In New Jersey this past week, two Gentile boys branded a Jewish lad with two Nazi swastikas. Terror reigns in Palestine. The nine hundred thousand Arabs, descendants of Ishmael, Abraham's son, do not like the four hundred thousand Jews, descendants of Isaac, Abraham's son, and want no more of them to enter the country. The result is bloodshed and terror. The report has come that Great Britain may withdraw her protectorate. This last week our government assured our nation that it would keep in close touch with Great Britain and urge her to continue. So the story goes on and on. The outside world knows nothing of the pain in the heart of American Jews for the sufferings of their brethren in other lands!
Who will say a kind word for the Jew? We believe that the man who trusts the Bible should let Israel know that he is their friend. In the light of the Bible, let us consider a number of reasons why the Christian should be kind to the Jew.
I. The Christian Should Be Kind to the Jew Because of the Contribution the Jew Has Made to Civilization
I hold in my hand a book. It is the Bible. It contains the Old Testament and the New Testament. This volume came from the pen of Jewish writers. Moses, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, John, Peter, James, Paul, Matthew, Mark, Jude were all Jews. The Jew has given to the world the Bible. Paul, the apostle, speaking of the Jews, says, "Unto them were committed the oracles of God." (Romans :3:2) Light and life and liberty have been given to civilization through the pages of this blessed Book. Every time a man praises the Bible, whether he recognizes it or not, he pays tribute to the Jew and the Jewish race. I say without fear of contradiction that the greatest contribution that has been made to civilization has come from the Jew. It is the Bible. We talk about the law of Rome and the classics of Greece, but they are as nothing, and insignificant, compared to the revelation which Almighty God gave to the human race through the Jew. The same blood which flowed through the veins of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Moses and David flows through the veins of the persecuted Jew of the world today. Should not we be grateful to him for the heritage which his people have given to us? Should not we be kind to him, help him, and love him? How can we express our gratitude for what civilization has received at the hands of his people?
Abraham Lincoln said of the Bible, "I have only to say, it is the best Book God has given man. All the good from the Saviour of the world is communicated in this Book." Andrew Jackson, said, "That Book is the rock on which the Republic stands." General U. S. Grant said, "Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet anchor of your liberties, write its precepts upon your hearts, and practice them in your lives. To the influence of this Book we are indebted for all progress made in our civilization, and to this we must look as our guide in the future" Calvin Coolidge declared, "There is no other book with which the Bible can be compared and no other reading that means so much to the human race. It is the support of the strong and the consolation of the weak, the dependence of organized government and the foundation of religion." Do we realize when we read these declarations of leaders of our land that they are paying direct tribute to the Jewish race, the contribution which they have made to civilization, and to our own free America? We cannot praise the Jewish race too highly or thank them enough!
The apostle Paul in Romans 9, beginning with the fourth verse, summarizes in a few short words the contribution of the Jew. To them he says "pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen."
"The giving of the law." The Ten Commandments have been given to civilization by the Jew. The whole moral fabric of society has been built upon those precepts!
"Whose are the fathers." We tell our children the story of Moses and the basket on the Nile, of Joseph and his coat of many colors. We enjoy the records of David and Jonathan and Esther. We explain in our churches the account of God's dealing with Israel, their deliverance from Egypt, the erection of the Tabernacle, the building of the Temple, and we cannot forget that these "fathers" were Jews and that their kinsmen according to the flesh are with us today.
This is the place, naturally, to speak of the charge which is made against the Jews by Hitler and others. They are Communists, we hear. Without doubt there are Jews who have become Communistic agitators, but there are many, many thousands who have nothing to do with Communism and who hate the pernicious doctrine. There are many Gentiles who have become Communists. We do not condemn the entire Gentile people because some have become Communists. Neither do we condemn the twelve apostles as being traitors because one of their number was a villainous betrayer. Communism is a system, a philosophy, a religion, to which men of various nationalities and races have succumbed. But have you ever stopped to think that there is one charge which is made against the Jew of which he has a right to be proud. From him has come the capitalistic system. This is a blessing which he has given to civilization. In that command, "Thou shalt not steal," the profit system was established and recognized the right of men to earn, to save, to own, and to keep safe from plunder and robbery. We Gentiles pay tribute to our Puritan fathers and what they have given to America, but we would never have had any Puritan fathers to begin with if the world had not first had the Jew who gave unto our fathers the Book in which is written the great principles of liberty, of conscience, of capitalism, of rugged individualism!
Jesus Christ was a Jew. Jesus Christ is a Jew today. When the eternal God in the fullness of time came to assume human nature, to be made in the likeness of sinful flesh, He chose of all the nations of the world a Jewish maiden and was born of her. We forget that Jesus was reared a Jew. His eyes, his hair, his hands were Jewish. He looked like a Jew. He talked like a Jew. He loved the Jewish Volume. He placed His hand upon the Old Testament and said, "The scripture cannot be broken." Of Himself He said that He came not to destroy the law but to fulfill, and He emphasized that salvation is of the Jew. Does not the Jewish race mean much to me? I thank God for them. Most of all I thank God for the coming of Jesus Christ who died upon the cross and was raised again from the dead and who ever liveth as our Saviour. When I love the Lord Jesus Christ, I also love the race from which He came. Christian, never forget this!
The one cure for anti-Semitism is a knowledge of the Bible. May I say, and I trust that you will remember this, for it does apply to America and to the trend of affairs in our land at this hour, in the proportion in which people believe and love the Bible in that proportion will they love the Jew, and in the same proportion in which people fall away from a knowledge and a belief in the Bible will anti-Semitism increase. The unbelieving world hates the Jew. The man who believes the Bible loves him. I belong tonight to the class of those who believe the Bible. Is it not strange that the people who have made the greatest contribution to civilization are now among the world's greatest sufferers and outcasts? The people who gave civilization its light and blessing, by that civilization are now outcasts and wanderers. The view of the true Christian is that the Jewish race has helped us. Let us return the favor to them.
II. The Christian Should Be Kind to the Jew Because the Jew Is a Living Witness to the Truth of the Bible
Frederick the Great asked his chaplain to give him proof of the inspiration of the Bible in one word. The chaplain answered, "The Jew." The fact that he has been preserved and persecuted for more than two thousand years is a literal fulfillment of what the Bible says would come to pass concerning him. The Bible has said this would happen. It has happened. The Bible told the truth. The prophet Amos in Amos 9:9 declared in behalf of God, "I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve." Every town and hamlet has a Jew or two. Tonight the Jew is scattered throughout the nations. Another prophet said, "They shall be wanderers among the nations" (Hosea 9:17. Jeremiah emphasized, "Though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee", (Jeremiah 30: 11). Scattered, yet they have maintained their national unity and identity. The Gentile nations cannot absorb them. History furnishes us with no other such people. In three or four generations, the Italians, the French, the Swedes, and other people who have come to our shores have become Americans. They soon intermarry and lose their natural traits and characteristics, but not so with the Jew. He cannot be melted in the melting pot of the world. He refuses to be assimilated in the blood stream of the nations. The Russian Jew will call his son Isaac. The Italian Jew calls his son Isaac. 'The American Jew names his son Isaac. So with the Jews of other lands. The preservation of the Jewish people is an outstanding miracle of history! God said they would wander. God said they would remain. God knew!
In one of His last discourses, Jesus Christ, speaking of the future of the Jewish people, said: "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this People. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Luke 21:20-24). In 70 AD Jerusalem was razed by Titus. The Jews were led away captive into all nations. There they have suffered and Jerusalem has remained trodden down of the Gentiles and is under Gentile dominion today. Prophecy was used of God to confirm the faith of His people in the Old Testament and these predictions, so literally fulfilled concerning the Jew, confirm in the heart and the mind of a Christian the fact that the Bible is divinely inspired! "Now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe" (John 14:29). The Bible is to be believed and trusted! Thank God for a sure foundation and a safe guide. . There are two things which cannot be destroyed on this earth: one is the Bible, the other is the Jewish race. God has promised the Jew, "Though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee." "For, lo, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it" (Jeremiah 30:3). "Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things" (Jeremiah 31:5). Then speaking of the return of the Jew again to Palestine God says, "Behold, I will bring them from the north country', and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: ... He that scattered Israel will gather him." The desire of the Jews to return to Palestine and their return this very day is a confirmation of what the Bible predicted concerning their future. Every newspaper you read, filled with Israel's troubles and return to Palestine, shouts, "The Bible is true."
But this is not all. The presence of the Jew and the suffering of the Jew confirm another great prophecy of Scripture. In this same chapter of Jeremiah from which we have been quoting, Jeremiah 30, we read, "Therefore all they that devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity." Then we repeat, "Though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee." Hitler will go, and after he is forgotten the Jew will still be here. But God says He will take into captivity those who devour the Jew, "I will curse him that curseth thee," and tonight the history of the world bears testimony that the nations that persecute the Jew do not prosper. Look at what has happened in Germany. Germany is cursed with the curse of tyranny. The German people live no longer for the glory of God; they must live for the glory of Hitler. People exist for the State, not the State for the people. Liberty is gone, and with liberty life goes. The German people have literally, under Hitler, gone in captivity. No Christian desires the curse which God has pronounced upon those who curse the Jew. Rather he prefers the blessing. The unbelieving world hates and persecutes the Jew, but the Christian must be kind to him, for, even unwittingly on the part of the Jew, his present plight confirms the truth of the Bible. God spare America from the curse which comes with anti-Semitism! If our nation wants God to take from us our liberty and give us tyranny, let us curse the Jews. The increase of anti-Semitism brings our own curse closer!
III. The Christian Should Be Kind to the Jew Because He Wants to Help the Jew to Understand His Own Book
The text which we have taken from the Old Testament says that God will bless them which bless the Jew, and no greater service could be rendered to the Jew in return for all he has done for us than to help him to understand his own prophecies. His Book tells of a deliverance from Jacob's trouble and even tells him why he is now having trouble. Moses told the children of Israel, "Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them" (Deuteronomy 27:26). Then Moses continues, "It shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day: that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee." In that list is given: "Ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it. And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of earth even unto the other" (Deuteronomy 28:63 ,64). "And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: and thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life" (Deuteronomy 28:64-66). Beloved, this is the picture of the Jews today: "Thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the Lord shall lead thee." The Jew is a proverb. He is a byword today just as God said. And why? Because God said that if he did not obey the commandment and keep the prophecies these things would come to pass. Since these things have come to pass, it follows that the Jews have not kept their own law. They do not understand it aright.
Moses himself gives us the key to the problem in Deuteronomy 18: 15-19, "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; according to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him." Has this Prophet been raised up? Have they hearkened unto Him? Or, in their failure to hearken unto Him, has it been required of them? Or, if they should have hearkened, have they kept that commandment?
After the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and His ascension into Heaven, Peter says of Jesus, "Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers. A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me: him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities" (Acts 3: 21-26). Paul, another Jew, declared, "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ" (Galatians 3:16). And the same Jew, writing, says that Abraham was saved by believing in this Seed which should come: "Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham" (Galatians 3: 6-9). The Jews today are the physical descendants of Abraham, but they are not his spiritual descendants because they have not believed in the Seed whom Moses said God would raise up. So it was that the Lord Jesus declared, "Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me."
Of this Seed the prophet Isaiah said, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). Matthew, another Jew, writing concerning the birth of Jesus, said, "Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (Matthew 1:22,23). The Jews, we believe, are suffering today because they have not obeyed the command of their God and believed on their Messiah. As a result they are now wanderers among the nations. The prophet Isaiah, speaking of the servant of the Lord who shall deal prudently, says, "Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" Then he describes the life, the suffering, and the death of the servant: "For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely be hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth" Isaiah 53:2-7). Years later Philip, a Jew, met a man who was reading from this Scripture, and the gentleman asked, "Of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?" Then Philip "began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus." He explained to him that the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 was the Passover lamb that the blood of the lamb saved from death, that the sacrifices of the Old Testament typified the blood of Christ shed on Calvary as the Lamb of God, and that in the Passover blood Jesus had redeemed His own; and when Philip had finished expounding this passage, the gentleman said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."
This is the hope of Israel today. They do not believe in their true Messiah. Oh, may they search their own Scriptures and understand that their Messiah has come, His blood has been shed, and that all they need to do in order to have eternal life is to believe in Him, and then He, when He returns to this earth, will deliver them from that time of Jacob's trouble, from that tribulation which lies ahead, snatching them in the clouds together with all true believers to be with Him in Heaven, and bringing them again with Him when He sets up His Kingdom in Jerusalem and sits upon the throne of His father David, when the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. Thus Paul declared, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." Christ Jesus died for our sins. What blessings come upon the Jew and upon those who help him when he sees his true Messiah!
We love the Jew, and, as we see the conditions prevailing in the world today and the way in which his heart bleeds, our hearts go out to him, for, when we read the Bible, we understand his plight. The story of history is confirmed by the prophecies of Scripture.
I believe that the only way to stem anti-Semitism is to propagate the Bible. Those who believe the Bible love the Jew and want to be friendly. Those who do not believe the Bible hate the Jew and persecute him.
Oh, Israel, come back to your Book, and believe in your Messiah!
Mr. McIntire has been an ardent foe of anti-Semitism, and in the Christian Beacon, a weekly religious newspaper which he edits, he has come to the defense of the Jews many times. The American Council of Christian Churches of which he was the first president (1941-43), and of which he is now secretary, has passed a number of resolutions condemning anti-Semitism.
More than 250,000 copies of this sermon have been printed. It was first published in The Christian Beacon of October 27, 1938, and because of popular demand it was reprinted in the issues of November 7, 1946 and February 12, 1948.