The greatest threat to the continuing existence of America is not the overwhelming burden of the national debt, nor the rising sentiment of socialism, or even the crisis on the southern border. All of these should generate concern, but they often obscure a waiting catastrophe that the proverbial ostrich refuses to acknowledge. The racist, anti-Semitic comments of freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar are of no particular consequences in themselves. She is simply the newest poster child for an attitude that has wrought disasters upon nations for centuries. The failure of the Democratic led House to censure her personally is the larger story. The Dems left Representative Omar’s name out of a resolution that generally condemned hate, with no specifics mentions. One must wonder if the new edict includes their hate for President Trump and Conservatives.
As defined in Funk and Wagnalls dictionary, the term “anti-Semitism” means “opposition to, prejudice against, or intolerance of the Jewish people.” Actually, this term is a misnomer. The Jews are but one branch of the Semitic peoples which include the ancient Assyrians, Midianites, Chaldeans, Moabites, Edomites, Ammonites, as well as Arabs, Syrians and generally, those who are classified as Oriental. To be accurate, therefore, anti-Semitism should be defined as “opposition to all Semites,” but there are many who are pro-Arab but anti-Jewish to the core. So it turns out that it is the Jew alone who is the target for anti-Semitism which runs the gamut from antipathy to violent hatred. For lack of a better definition, the usage of this term will describe the terrible evil of anti-Jewish sentiment and action which has plagued this world ever since the first Jew existed.
All parts of the globe are touched by anti-Semitism, but nowhere is it more prevalent than the Muslim states that surround modern Israel. But suppose the Arabs were able to wipe out the Jewish state in a concerted effort! They stand to gain very little from dividing up that small strip of real estate. Why then are they so intent on its destruction? The Bible resolves those intriguing questions that have eluded sociologists in the great institutions of higher learning.
Abraham, the first Jew, received a promise from God that has never been rescinded: “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee:” (Genesis 12:3). Identical reinforcements to Abraham’s progeny indicate the pledge extended to an entire race which would one day produce a Saviour and a future king of righteousness over the entire world. In the briefest nutshell, those who choose to rely on their own righteousness find it palatable to harbor hostility toward any reminder that shines a revealing light on human depravity.
The Jews have been met with personal antagonism since the founding of the race, but while they had encountered oppression on a grand scale in Egypt, it was only the beginning. Shortly after the Exodus we read: “Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim..” (Exodus 17:8). The attack was treacherous and completely unprovoked, directed against Jewish stragglers –the rear guard – as they journeyed through the wilderness. Thought to be the progeny of Esau (Genesis 36:12), the Amalekites were actually in existence during the days of Abraham (Genesis 14:7). Although they figured prominently in the Old Testament, they have vanished from history. Archeologists, despite their diligent search, have failed to unearth anything concerning this ancient people. Why? The Amalekites hold the dubious honor of being the first of the nations to wage war against the newly chartered Jewish nation. The assault guaranteed their doom as God announced, “…for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven..” (Exodus 17:14).
Another classical example of what happens to anti-Semitic nations is the case of the Assyrians. Assyria was one of the greatest empires in the ancient world and possessed every ingredient essential to the making of a vigorous and powerful nation. Their military held the enviable record of being undefeated for over two hundred years. An excellent system of free enterprise, combined with expert traders, had created flourishing commerce and a booming economy. Not until 739 B.C. did the armed might of Assyria seriously threaten Judah. From then on, anti-Semitism continued in one form or another---from exacting tribute to demanding exorbitant bribes; from deportations of hostages to outright conquest and plunder.
In 701 B.C. Assyria invaded Judah, with Jerusalem the next city on their agenda for conquest. In an awesome display of power, the armed might of the Empire amassed outside the city walls and rattled their collective sabers! Rabshakeh, the Assyrian general, arrogantly demanded the unconditional surrender of Jerusalem and blatantly challenged the God of Israel (see Isaiah 36). It didn’t take the Lord long to respond: “Then the angel of the Lord went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses” (Isaiah 37:36). This was the beginning of the end. The Third Volume of the 1965 Edition of the Cambridge Ancient History renders the following summation on pages 130 and 131:
“The disappearance of the Assyrian people will always remain a unique and striking phenomenon. Other, similar kingdoms and empires have indeed passed away, but the people lived on. Recent discoveries have, it is true, shown that poverty-stricken communities perpetuated the old Assyrian names at various places, for instance on the ruined site of Ashur, but the essential truth remains the same. A nation which had existed two thousand years and had ruled a wide area, lost its independent character.”
Wherever you find anti-Semitism, you find people who underwrite their own destruction. More examples to come next week.