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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Allen Jackson » Allen Jackson - Hatred of God's People - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Hatred of God's People - Part 2

Allen Jackson - Hatred of God's People - Part 2
TOPICS: Antisemitism, Holocaust, Israel, Jews, End times, Terrorism, War, Let's Do Difficult

And then I brought you just a quick sampling. I think it's worth noting that, what Jesus told his friends about, they got to see. But I think it's extraordinarily naive and a very poor application of Biblical interpretation to suggest it was only a first century problem. If that's the case, then the Scripture's affording us very little guidance. In Revelation chapter 1, this is John's self analysis. He said, "I, John, your brother and companion," I read that, and I think, "Oh, this is going to be good". The disciple, the apostle that Jesus loved the most, he's about to show us how he understands what it means to be Jesus's friend, "your brother and companion in the suffering and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are ours in Jesus Christ".

Now, if he were a 21st century person, he would have said, "in the health and the prosperity". And I'm not opposed to either of those. In fact, I trust God for those things in my life. But when John is identifying after years of having walked with and served the Lord, he's, the things he extends to those he's addressing is that, in Christ, we'll face suffering and be required to patiently endure, "that our hours in Jesus; I was on the island of Patmos because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus". He's been exiled. He's been imprisoned on an island, not because he's a thief or a murderer or an extortionist. He's on a, he's a prisoner because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus. In Acts chapter 4, in verse 18, this is Peter and John; they're before the Sanhedrin, the same group that orchestrated Jesus's execution, "And they called him in again and they commanded them not to speak or teach it all in the name of Jesus".

He's dead; as far as the Sanhedrin knows, they killed him. But now his pesky disciples are here, and they're commanding them, "Don't you mention his name; we'll do to you what we did to him". That's a real threat. If you'd been with Jesus and saw him walk on the water or raise the dead or open blind eyes, and they crucified him, you would take it seriously when they pointed their finger at you and said, "You're gonna get the same". They didn't relent. Acts chapter 12, it says, "It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword". Two of the apostles that Jesus recruited, martyred.

By the time we get to Acts chapter 12, the church has barely broken out of Jerusalem. Acts 22, Paul is in Jerusalem. He's gone to the temple prepared to make vows to assure the religious community that he's still an observant Pharisee. And they become so angry with him that they shed upon him as a mob. And so he gives his testimony, and I brought you the line that incited them to such a murderous rage that the Romans would come and get him, but he said, "The Lord said to me, 'Go, I will send you far away to the Gentiles.' And the crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, 'Rid the earth of him! He's not fit to live!' As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, the commander," the Roman commander, "ordered Paul to be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and questioned in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this".

So, our heroes, the men and women whose faithfulness we revere in trying to navigate our own journey through time, the people whose stories we read from the pages of Scripture, who gave rise to the churches that occupy the second 2/3 of our New Testament by title, they faced the challenges that Jesus said they would. So I have a question. Do you imagine that you and I are going to live at the culmination of the age when the Great Battle of the Ages is going to rage, the spiritual conflict of all spiritual conflicts, do you think we're going to face that and have no challenges? We've kind of flipped the script. You know, a challenge for us is our parking place at church was inconvenient. Well, I agree with you, that's a lift. Or somebody sits in your seat, or we read from the wrong translation of the Bible.

Folks, it's not our children that are soft. They have caught that infection from us because they've seen us model that our faith is connected to the weather and convenience and ease and alternative forms of entertainment. And I would submit to you that we have an assignment before us that is unique, that the return of the king is connected to a willingness of his people to see the gospel proclaimed in the whole world. And that will take the very best that that generation has and that we'll have to do it in the face of some difficulty. I wanna give you just a little bit of history. I started with what happened with Hamas and the the Israelis on October the 7th. I find that our understanding of history is pretty limited; my own is in many ways. But persecution of the Jewish people is not new.

And I wanna submit to you that there's a spirit behind it that has very little to do with politics or Muslim or Christian, that there's a spirit that has driven it through the centuries. You don't have to be particularly creative. We can go all the way back to the Book of Exodus when the Pharaoh ordered the Hebrew children, the Hebrew baby boys to be murdered. And the midwives defied Pharaoh's order. You know the story because Moses's parents hid him to protect him from being murdered. So the murder of the Jewish boys goes all the way back to the Book of Exodus. That's very near the beginning of the story. And you can scroll forward more than 1000 years to Bethlehem in the time of Jesus's birth when King Herod, tricked by the the wise men, orders that the baby boys in Bethlehem two years and younger be murdered. And inexplicable, really, I mean, you can put some reasoning around it, but it's illogical. It's irrational, it's murderous, it's evil.

Well, I'll add a bit more contemporary history to that. The Spanish inquisition. Some of you, I have no doubt, have heard about it. March 31, 1492, in the Alhambra Hall, the hall of the ambassador, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella signed an edict, the Alhambra Decree, expelling all the Jews from Spain. Sounds so clinical, so clean, as if your Visa had been revoked. But it's really far more difficult than that. Spanish Catholics had come to believe that the Jews had too much economic influence over the kingdoms, and resentment because of that, combined with religious president, religious prejudice, is really what led to the will of the people that the Jews be expelled. But, in reality, on the ground, there was so much hatred that many Jews were killed.

Now, you could avoid expulsion or murder if you would adopt Christian beliefs, if you would renounce Judaism and embrace Christianity. So there was a significant group of people who converted, but they lived under continuing prejudice and suspicion. And there remained a significant population of Jews who just professed their conversion but quietly, privately, secretly continued to practice their faith. And what we should all understand and at least be willing to acknowledge as a part of history is that all of that unfolded with the permission of the Pope.

Now, we will say, "Well, those aren't our kinds of Christians, perhaps". But you'll understand if the Jewish community fails to make that distinction. Fifteenth century, Spanish Inquisition. There's a word that is not common, I don't, you may or may not be familiar with it. The word is pogrom; It's a Russian word that means to wreak havoc, to demolish, even violently. Well, historically, that word has been applied to violent attacks by local populations who were not Jewish upon the Jews immediately available to them, initially in the Russian Empire, but it spread to other countries. One of the first such incidents to be labeled the Pogrom was an anti-Jewish riot in Odessa in 1821. And, from that behavior, it made its way into the vocabulary to describe these anti-Jewish riots that swept southern and western provinces of the Russian Empire in the late 1800s.

Roman, Romanian, it spread beyond Russia. Romanian officials and military units, assisted even by German soldiers, killed 8000 Jews during a progrom; thousands and thousands of Jews were killed in this way. And it was very common for the instigator to be the Russian Orthodox Church. If there was a drought, it's because of the Jews. If there's a plague, it's because of the Jews. How many of you have seen the movie or the play Fiddler on the Roof? You don't have to raise your hand. But the persecution of the Jewish people, being driven from one place to another, being mistreated for no reason other than the fact that they were Jewish. During World War II it became popular to organize mobile killing units. They got their orders from the security police chief, and they encouraged indigenous populations living in these newly conquered places that the Nazis had come to dominate to launch pogroms wherever they might be.

Again, using local civilians... You have to have a population that carries the antagonism. It isn't something that is forced upon them. There's no, you can't explain what happened in Europe in World War II as a result of just the Nazis because Europe gave up their Jewish communities. You know some notable notable exceptions, like the hiding place with Corrie Ten Boom and a family who hid Jews. But they were exceptions, and they certainly weren't the rule. Maybe the most celebrated of the pogroms is called Kristallnacht. It's the Night of Crystal; literally, it refers to a night of broken glass, and it refers to a whole wave of anti, a very violent anti-Jewish pogroms or violent attacks which took place on November the 9 and 10 in 1938. It was in Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia.

Again, it was far more widespread than our typical casual glance that history has led us to believe. The rioters destroyed hundreds of synagogues, Jewish institutions, throughout Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, throughout the night in full view of the public and of local firefighters who'd received orders not to intervene, only if the flames threatened other buildings. They estimate that thousands of Jewish owned commercial establishments and synagogues were looted, destroyed, burned, and there's really not an accurate count of the number of the Jewish people who lost their lives.

You just go forward a little further to October the 7th, 2024, and hundreds of Jewish people, Israeli citizens, are slaughtered in their homes, men, women, and children, and the global community looks on, and the United Nations supports it and participates in it. Not all the United Nations; you'll excuse me if I don't really pay much attention to your distinction. And voices at the leading universities in our nation, some of the most prestigious seats in academia, refused to condemn it. Some of them lost their positions, but they haven't lost their jobs. They're still being honored; the faculty very publicly stood behind them. They can do that because those ideas have such deep seats in American Academia today.

What you should understand, I would invite you to consider, is that it's a spirit behind it. Something that happened in Spain in the 15th century or Russia in the 8, 19 century or in Europe in the 20th century or in Israel in the 21st century do not share common links of diet or food or popular culture, something that transcends. Those periods of time, if you scroll back to the book of Exodus or you pull forward to the first century in Bethlehem, when something begins to span thousands of years but express a very common behavior of hatred and destruction, perhaps we should listen to the counsel of the Word of God. And the same spirit that hates the Jewish people hates the entire covenant people of God.

But I brought you two or three passages. I'll touch them really quickly because they lead in the same way. In Jeremiah, Jeremiah had a difficult assignment, to tell the people that the Babylonians were coming and there's nothing they can do about it. It's a more difficult assignment than some in Scripture. Isaiah got to go tell King Hezekiah that the Assyrians, God would put a hook in their jaw and take them back the way they came; you don't have to worry about them. Most of us tell our stories and imagine that God responds to us as he did to Hezekiah. But Jeremiah, a prophet of God, had to say to the covenant people of God, the enemy is coming, and they'll destroy your city, and murder you, and destroy the temple, and there's nothing you can do. The condition of your hearts is such that God is bringing judgment.

It's a very similar passage to the New Testament when we find Jesus in the Book of Acts, and the disciples say, in Acts chapter 1, "Are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel"? And Jesus said, "It's not time for you to know; that's none of your business, really". And contemporary Christian audiences say, "See, Jesus told us not to be political". I don't believe that's an accurate reading of what happened because, if you go to Luke's Gospel, and Luke is the one who authored the Book of Acts, on more than one occasion in Luke's Gospel, Jesus says to the audience; he's weeping over the city of Jerusalem, and he said, "Your enemies are gonna build an embankment against you. They'll circle you in, they'll hem you in on every side, they'll dash the heads of your children against the stones of this city. They'll tear this temple down".

He has already spoken judgment over the city. Now, the disciples haven't caught up with it yet. They're asking for an Isaiah proclamation from Jesus in Acts chapter 1, "Tell us that you're gonna put a hook in the jaw of the Romans and take them away". And Jesus said, "That question has been asked and answered". It wasn't that he was avoiding the current events that were going to shape their future. He had already told them. Jeremiah 27, "With my great power and outstretched arm I made the earth and its people and the animals that are on it, and I give it to anyone I please. And now I'll hand all your countries over to my servant Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon; I'll make even the wild animals subject to him. All nations will serve him and his son and his grandson until this time for his land comes; and then many nations and great kings will subjugate him".

Very clearly, God is involved in the affairs of nations. He calls Nebuchadnezzar his servant; he's an evil pagan. Daniel, who spent much of his life serving in the Babylonian court, has some interesting perspectives on this. In Daniel chapter 2, after he's, Daniel's been told he's gonna be killed on the next day because the wise men of the realm are not able to provide what the king is demanding. And Daniel asks for an evening to seek God, and God reveals to him what's being requested, some of you know the story. And, at the end of that, Daniel prays, and we just hear his prayer, Daniel prays to the God of heaven. He said, "Praise be to the name of God forever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons. He sets up kings and he deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning".

Daniel imagined that God put kings and rulers in place, sometimes to the benefit of his people and sometimes to execute judgment upon his people. We keep naively waiting for the next election to fix us while we don't change our hearts. If we don't change our hearts, the elections are an expression of God's judgment. How many times do we have to repeat the cycle before we take it seriously? Daniel chapter 4, Nebuchadnezzar has a dream, and he's relating... So the pagan king is relating his dream. "The decision is announced by messengers; the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the most high is sovereign of the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets them over the lowliest of men".

This is the dream Nebuchadnezzar has had, and he's relating the dream, and he's asking for an interpretation; it's a mystery to him. He doesn't imagine there's any ruler anywhere in all of creation with authority greater than his. And Daniel gives him the interpretation. You think it took some courage to say this to an ancient near eastern monarch? I promise you, "This is the interpretation, O king; this is the decree the most high has issued against the lord, my lord the king". And he goes on to say that the God of creation has said, "You're going to lose your mind, and you'll live like an animal. You'll wander in the field and lick the dew off the grass, and your nails will grow long like the claws of an animal".

And it happened. And, when Nebuchadnezzar comes back to his senses, Daniel 4 is his response, "At the end of time, I, Nebuchadnezzar raised my eyes towards heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the most high; I honored and glorified him who lives forever". You think? And listen to what he says about God, "His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him, 'What have you done?'" And, if we scroll forward to the 21st century, I would submit to you that the people who fill our churches struggle to make a statement with the same courage and boldness and faithfulness that Nebuchadnezzar did.

And it would be good for us to meditate and reflect, to think about a little bit, the fact that God is all powerful, he's almighty, and that we would rather align ourselves with him and be obedient to him and submit to him than demand our own ways and demand that all of heaven be focused on giving me what I want. How might we cooperate with you? Evil exists in the world. It won't be banished until the King of Kings returns to address it. In the meantime, we stand in his authority and his power to hold out the truth of Jesus Christ, that it's available to transform any human life to deliver us from the authority of the kingdom of darkness and bring us into the Kingdom of the Son he loves, that we submit ourselves to that authority, acknowledging our need for a Savior, repenting of our sins, asking for forgiveness, forgiving those who have sinned against us. And we are granted this most remarkable, most supernatural birth into another kingdom. And, from that point on, we spend our days learning to yield and serve the King.

We will face challenges. I have no doubt that the hatred in the world for the people of God will grow. I don't doubt that the Israelis will deal with Hamas, and most of the kingdoms of this world will moan and scream against them. But I don't imagine that they will banish expressions of evil towards the Jewish people. Nor do I imagine that the hatred for the Christian community in our culture is going to continue to stay underground. What we've seen in corporate boardrooms, in academia, in the halls of our universities. We protect pornographic books in our children's libraries. We're mutilating children in our finest hospitals.

I watched, I saw a video, I remember stories from 1948 from people that I knew, that said women were mutilated in the streets of Jerusalem when Israel became a state in '48. And that wasn't because of persecution in the region. It was a hatred for the Jewish people. I saw videos of similar behaviors this week. As I watched them, I was reminded that we're mutilating our own young women in the hospitals of our nation. The same spirit drives it all. It's the spirit of antichrist; it hates the principles of God and the people of God. We're the church; we have an assignment. It's a privilege to bear the name of Jesus. Now, let's use our influence in the places God has given to us to be advocates for the kingdom of light, Amen? Let's go do difficult, in Jesus's name. Why don't you stand with me?

Father, thank you. Thank you that you have awakened us, that you have given us an assignment and a purpose. I thank you for the freedom and liberty we have, the resources at our disposal, the freedoms to come and go, the technology, the tools to communicate. You have blessed us. We pray tonight for the peace of Jerusalem. They give the people of the land the wisdom to address the threats that they face in a way that will bring your security to them. Open their hearts to you as never before. Give them a revelation of Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah. They will bring peace to their hearts and peace with you. I pray for your church and the earth, that you would awaken us from our slumber, from our distractions, from the things that have diminished us, and that we'd yield our hearts to you with a determination beyond anything we've ever known. Father, may our lives be pleasing to you. May we live in such a way that, when our days are spent and our strength is diminished, that you can say, "Well done". I thank you for it, in Jesus's name, amen.

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