On the website kipa.co.il, Rabbi Eyal Moshe calls to burn every book related to the New Testament. Rabbi Daniel Asor claims: “The New Testament is clearly an anti-Semitic book with libels against the Jews.”
There is no doubt that many gentiles have done horrible things to our people in the name of Jesus or in the name of the New Testament. But does this mean that the New Testament was the cause, or was it just used as an excuse? Is the New Testament itself really anti-Semitic?
Take a look at the following quotations:
“Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the LORD, they have despised the Holy One of Israel.”
“For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity;
your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness.”
“Their works are works of iniquity, and deeds of violence are in their hands.
Their feet run to evil, and they are swift to shed innocent blood;
their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; desolation and destruction are in their highways.”
“The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths;
they have made their roads crooked; no one who treads on them knows peace.”
“Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates.”
“All her idols I will lay waste, for from the fee of a prostitute she gathered them,
and to the fee of a prostitute they shall return.”
“The LORD was very angry with your fathers… Do not be like your fathers.”
“For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword.”
Sounds ant-Semitic? You might be surprised to hear that these quotes are not from the New Testament at all, but from the lips of the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, Elijah and others in the Old Testament. Are these prophets, or the Old Testament itself, anti-Semitic because they criticized the people of Israel? Of course not! In the same way, it is incorrect to claim that Jesus, a Jew who criticized the religious leaders of Israel, was anti-Semitic. Jesus criticized the religious leaders, because he was concerned with the common people, and cared about his people. He resisted the wrongs done by the religious leadership and the corruption carried out within the priesthood in the name of God. Jesus preached against the rabbis, because he saw them to be hypocritical rulers, who told people to do things that they themselves would not even do. Jesus loved his people and the Hebrew Scriptures, which he quoted countless of times. He called the Old Testament “The Word of God.” He believed in it, trusted in it, and pointed all the people to it. Every miracle that Jesus did was always in the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – the God of Israel. He never denied his Jewishness, and did not aspire to establish a separate new religion. The religious leaders on the other hand, during that time, rejected all the Jews who willingly accepted Jesus as the Messiah. They threw them out of the synagogues and blamed them for every bad thing that happened. At the same time, according to God’s promise to Abraham that the Messiah would be a blessing to the gentiles, the number of gentiles who accepted Jesus as their Messiah grew, and eventually exceeded the number of Messianic Jews. Later, the multitudes of gentiles who believed in Jesus and adopted a faith in the Jewish Messiah (whom the majority of Judaism rejected) were called “Christians”.
Unfortunately, some of these Christians began to teach that God was no longer interested in the people of Israel, but that it was now the Catholics who were the new chosen people of God. With time, the Catholic church drifted away from the message of the New Testament, and became bigger, stronger, and to our sorrow, more anti-Semitic as well.
But it’s important to understand and remember two things: First, this teaching that God has finished with Israel is not accepted or believed by all Christians by any means, and certainly not by Messianic Jews. Second, the New Testament itself does not teach that at all – in fact, quite the contrary! Here are the words of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament: “I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.” (Romans 11:1-2) And in another place Paul writes: “I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit- that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever.” (Romans 9:1-5)
Those who decide to check for themselves will find that Jesus and the New Testament are not anti-Semitic at all. On the contrary, Jesus and his Apostles were not only Jewish, but loved the people whom they themselves belonged to. They loved them so much that they could not stand back and keep quiet any longer in face of all the religious hypocrisy and corruption that was oppressing their people.