There have been many books written on the persecution of the Jews by the Catholic Church but few are based on a true under­standing of the Bible.

In his book, Brother Jason Hensley examines the origins of anti-Semitism, its slow development and influence in history. As the ecclesia began to lose some of its important doctrines of the Gospel and changed into the Church, it developed a twisted and violent attitude to the Jews. These changes began in the centuries shortly after the death of the apostles. To begin with the Jews were treated as enemies but it was considered that they still had an important part in God’s plan for the world.

Has God Cast away His people?

Before long, however, the Church adopted the idea that God had cast off the Jews. It was considered that the Jews had been given their opportunity as His people and failed. According to this teaching the Jews have been blinded eternally and the Church has taken their place in God’s plan.

This teaching, known as replacement theology or ‘supersessionism’, has at its roots another false doctrine, that of the Trinity. According to the doc­trine of the Trinity the Lord Jesus Christ is God and when the Jewish leaders conspired to have the Lord crucified they were guilty of crucifying God or of ‘deicide’.

Hatred of the Jews

Christian hatred of the Jews grew so that by 388 AD a violent mob, led by the bishop of the city of Callinicum in Mesopotamia, and numerous monks set fire to the synagogue. About 30 years later riots broke out in Antioch and the synagogue was burned. It is likely that the mob was influenced by a series of inflammatory hate-filled sermons by John Chrysostom, bishop of Antioch.

This brutal spirit of hatred then remained dor­mant for a few hundred years but festered below the surface only to be released by Pope Urban II as he launched the Crusades against the unbeliev­ers. While the campaign was initially focused on Muslims, Jews lived all around Europe and the Crusaders did not have to go all the way to the Holy Land to begin their holy war. From that mo­ment on, Christian hatred of the Jews burst forth virtually unabated.

Persecution of the Jews

Brother Jason goes on to detail the various ways in which the Catholic Church sought to advance the persecution of the Jews: the lie of blood libel (killing Christian children in their worship prac­tices), the pogroms, the expulsions of Jews from various countries, the Spanish Inquisition, the development of ghettos and the endorsement and publication through Catholic media of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

The Roman Catholic Church’s vilification of the Jews culminated in the 20th century in order to pre­pare the people of Europe for the Nazi Holocaust. The methods used by Hitler: the yellow star, the ghetto, the emphasis on racial purity can all be seen in the Church’s history. The allegations brought by Hitler against the Jews: the blood libel, the plot for world dominion and their connections with Communism were similar to allegations brought against them by the Christian community.

Why did God allow Anti-Semitism?

Brother Jason looks at the reasons that God al­lowed the Church (or “Babylon the Great”, Rev 17:5) to persecute the Jews. Ironically the Church’s attempts to destroy the Jews actually helped pre­serve them as a separate people. It prevented the Jews from being assimilated into the nations and losing their identity.

The Holocaust that Hitler thought would be the final solution to the Jewish problem actually helped establish the Jewish nation. The guilt and sympathy of the nations toward Israel resulting from the Holocaust helped deliver the required two thirds majority vote in the UN which led to the partition of the British mandate territory of Palestine and led to the establishment of the State of Israel.

Recommended Reading

The book is recommended because it reminds us that the power of “Babylon the Great” which perse­cuted the Jews through the ages has also persecuted the saints. “The hope of Israel” (Acts 28:20) is our hope and it is this hope that “Babylon the Great” has tried to destroy through the destruction of the Jews and of the saints and through its doctrines.

Anti-Semitism is once more on the rise. A number of commentators have paralleled our times with the rise of the Nazi power and the beginning of the Second World War. It is another sure sign that the return of our Lord is near.

The book is available at the cost of $16.50 from the Christadelphian Scripture Study Service. Orders can be placed via the CSSS website: csss.org. au or email: csssadelaide@webshield.net.au or phone: (08) 8278 8256 or (08) 8278 6848 or write to: 85 Suffolk Road, Hawthorndene SA 5051.