I called to my allies but they betrayed me. Lamentations 1:19

The History of the church in relation to Israel

Church History - the origins of Anti-Semitism - the Crusades and the Crusaders - the Spanish Inquisition - the Pogroms in Russia - the Holocaust

Statue of Crusader and Turk by the Citadel in Jerusalem

In the two millennia that have passed Since the founding of the Christian church it has moved a long way from its roots.   The Church began in Judea, following a Jew who was the Jewish Messiah. It was made up of Jews and its early history was chronicled by Jewish apostles.  Then it lost touch with its Jewishness.   

So much evil, especially Anti-Semitism,  resulted from this. But how did it happen , and how deeply are the errors ingrained in our beliefs?




  Can anyone hope to really  understand the history of Anti-Semitism ?  

I believe every Christian should try. 

I can suggest no better way than reading "The Anguish of the Jews"  (Twenty-Three Centuries of Anti-Semitism) by Edward H. Flannery   This book gives a thorough account of the history of the world's persecution of the Jews, without dwelling on the lurid details of the atrocities.  He covers Pagan anti-Semitism in the Greek and Roman empires,  the struggles between Judaism and the early church, Christian Anti-Semitism in the Middle Ages (looked at in the various countries of Europe), the age of the Ghetto,  the rise of scapegoat anti-Semitism in the modern, post religious world (particularly in Russia), leading to Hitler's New Paganisim and the Holocaust, also economic/racial/social Anti-Semitism in America.  He reviews how things stand today (at the time of the last revision)  and finally considers the Roots of anti-Semitism.  

Here is the last paragraph of the book.

The tragic story this book has unfolded ends then in the deepest chambers of the spirit.   For the Christian reader�for whom it was especially written�it is a tragedy in which Jesus participates, crucified again in the person of His people at the hand of many baptized in His name.   The sin of anti-Semitism contains many sins, but in the end it is a denial of Christian faith, a failure of Christian hope, and a malady of Christian love.   And was not this Christianity's supreme defection: that the Christian people to whom persecution was promised by its Master (John 16:2-4) was not the most persecuted people in Christendom, but rather was it the people from whom He came?   And the ultimate scandal: that in carrying the burden of God in history the Jewish people did not find in the Christian churches an ally and defender but one of their most zealous detractors and oppressors? It is a story that calls for repentance.

Excerpt from The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty-Three Centuries of Antisemitism . (Revised and Updated) by Edward H. Flannery, Copyright � 1985 by Edward Flannery, � 1999 by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence. Used with permission of Paulist Press. www.paulistpress.com

An important point  that comes out from this book is that although Anti-Semitism was discredited in the Holocaust and is less in evidence today,  it has largely re-branded itself as Anti-Zionism.  As such it is all around us, in the media and "liberal" thought.   (see Israel in today's world ) Where Anti-Semitism sought to drive out the Jews from the lands where they lived as outsiders, Anti-Zionism refuses to accept them going to live in their own land and seeks to destroy them there.

" How the Cross Became a Sword"  by Richard Booker gives an overview of the development of the gulf between Jews and Christians which explains much that may challenge your beliefs.  It paints a less than flattering picture of church history.

The first Jewish Revolt - 66-73AD - resulted in destruction of Temple and the fall of Massada.   Believers had been witnesses to Jewishness of the faith, but they heeded Jesus' warning and fled to the hills before the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and killed 1,000,000 Jews.    ( Luke 21 v20-21 ) The Jewish survivors considered them traitors.

The second Jewish Revolt � Bar Kochba - 132AD    The name given to the leader of this revolt is Messianic ( Num 24 v17 ) so believers refused to follow him.    This widened the gap after the Romans bloodily put down the revolt, renamed Eretz Israel after their ancient enemies, the Philistines ( from whom the Romans derived the name, "Palestine" ), and removed most of the Jews from the land.

Rabbinical Judaism   The surviving Rabbis restructured Judaism to manage without the Temple, sacrifices, atonement and the priesthood.    Good deeds replaced sacrifice while Jesus' followers emphasized atonement by Jesus.   There was a hardening of opposition to the Jewish believers.   The Talmud, which encapsulates the rabbinic teaching, does not deny the existence of Yeshua from Natzeret but mostly seeks to avoid any discussion of him and his claims.   In the growing polarization and competition between Christianity and Judaism, neither side wished to give the other any credit.   The references that are made are disparaging, and the corruption of his name to Yeshu was introduced.   Yeshu is an acronym for Yimach Shemo Uzzikhrono, which means, "May his name and memory be blotted out".    

It has been said, including here, that "the Rabbis corrupted the name Yeshua to Yeshu. This is not strictly accurate as Yeshu is/was an acceptable shortening of Yeshua and has been found on ossuaries. The acronym usage mentioned above is actually a "backronym" (taking a word and using its letters as initials for something.) The most testeless case being that NASA stood for "need another seven astronauts" after the Challenger space shuttle disaster. (info from Nehemia Gordon - Hebrew Gospel Pearls 21+

The drive to discourage belief in Yeshua was stepped up by the inclusion of an extra prayer in the Shemoneh Esrei  ( Eighteen ) prayers in the synagogue service.   An early version reads,  "For the apostates let there be no hope, and may the arrogant kingdoms soon be rooted out in our days, and the Nazarenes and the sectarians perish as in a moment and be blotted out from the Book of Life.  Blessed are you, O Lord, who humbles the arrogant."   This prayer would exclude Messianic believers, or identify them for exclusion from the community.   (A fuller discussion can be found in "Jesus Ben Joseph" by Walter Riggans   ( see Books ))

Gentile Christianity    Jewish believers kept the faith in its original Jewish form, as taught by Yeshua who was a Jew and as preached by Paul who was also very much a Jew.   Unfortunately the gentile church did not seek to understand the Jewish roots of the faith but applied Greek philosophy to it.   Whereas God intended us to bless him for all the good things he gives and worship him with body, soul and spirit while we live in this world, Plato taught that the material world was bad and merely to be endured.   The church adopted this and retreated into the monastery.   God said, "It is not good for man to be alone" but the church glorified celibacy.   The church separated sacred and secular.

This process started in the church in Rome - prompting Paul's letter.  See  The Wild Olive branch of Romans 

The Church Fathers

Because of the Greek outlook the official line became very Anti Semitic.   Also the Greek church renamed Yeshua Ha Messiach as Jesus Christ and adopted the use of Icons and religious paintings which were similar to pagan idolatry.   This would further convince Jews that this was a false religion. See also Greek or Hebrew for an understanding of the way the church adopted pagan Greek Philosophy into its theology and Greek ideas into its practice. (Also Steve Maltz's book, "How the Church Lost The Way")

Justin Martyr - 100-165AD Claimed God's covenant with Israel was no longer valid, and that gentiles had replaced them.

Ignatus said that those who partook Passover were partakers with those who killed Jesus.

Tertullian - 160-220AD Blamed the Jews for the death of Jesus.

Origen 263-339AD Origen and his school in Alexandria taught the interpretation of nearly all scripture as allegorical rather than literal and based teaching on Greek philosophy.   Although he was considered heretical at the time he was tolerated and influenced the church teaching profoundly.   He was responsible for much Anti-Semitism and accused Jews of plotting to kill Christians.

Eusebius 263-339AD wrote an influential history of the church and taught that the promises of scripture were for the gentiles while the curses were for the Jews, and that the church was the "true Israel"

John Chrysostom 344-407AD was the greatest preacher of the day but preached that there could never be forgiveness for the Jews, it was the Christian's duty to hate Jews and that the Jews worshipped the Devil.

Jerome Produced the Latin translation of the bible which became the official bible.  He said , "Jews are incapable of understanding scripture and should be severely punished until they confess the true faith."     The authors of the scriptures believed that the Jewish Messiah would literally establish a kingdom on earth which would bless the gentiles too, but this was rejected in favour of a non literal  "replacement theology"

Augustine 354-430AD Turned the literal into spiritual - "The kingdom is only spiritual, is now, and is in men�s hearts.    The millennium is now and Satan is bound".    He wrote that the Jews deserved death but were destined to wander the earth to witness the victory of church over synagogue.   The Catholic church has recently refuted this view but it is still around.

The Church becomes "Establishment" and Gentile

Read more


In 312 CE The Roman Emperor Constantine accepted the Christian faith, or at least his version of the Christian faith. Whilst preparing for another military campaign he claimed to have had a vision of the cross against the sun, accompanied by the words, "In this sign, conquer." As Constantine made Christianity the state religion it started to be corrupted by man centred thinking and Greek philosophy. Constantine was present at the Council of Nicea (below) and his influence sanctioned the moves away from the roots of Christianity.

In David Stern's JNTC (p274), he quotes an informative contemporary writing from Epiphanius -

Why, in the past, did many Jewish believers. in practice, leave their people? Because in the fourth century, when Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and the Gentile-dominated Church gained political power, it began to require Jews who accepted Yeshua as the Messiah to give up all ties with Judaism, Jewish practices, Jewish friends and anything Jewish.

David Stern continues,
During most of the last 1,500 years a Jewish believer Yeshua had to take on Gentile religious and cultural ways, first, because the Jewish community excluded him, and second, because of Christendom's social pressure and distaste for Jewish ways. Concerning the latter, it is as if "men from Rome came down began teaching the Jewish brothers, `Unless you totally ignore your circumcision, in the manner prescribed by Moshe, you cannot be saved!"

'Much of the Church continues to insist on this view, unscriptural though it is, basing their opinion isolated passages misinterpreted, particularly Ep 2:11-15, 1 C 10:31 and Ga 3:28: notes to these passages and the rest of Acts for further discussion.
The correct conclusion is: a Jew who becomes Messianic remains a Jew, and a Gentile who become a Christian remains a Gentile.

The Church Councils

Council of Elvira (Spain)  in 306     -  Marriage of Jew and Christian forbidden.

Council of Nicea in 325 and Council of Antioch in 341    -  Christians forbidden to celebrate Passover with Jews.  

Council of Laodicea  434 - 481     -  Christians forbidden to worship on the sabbath.

(Although it is clear that the Jews started the antagonism, The Church took up hostility as soon as it had sufficient power (under Constantine).   Christians were never given any mandate by Jesus to punish the Jews, but the Church was responsible for unleashing the most awful persecution ever to have occurred on this planet)

(David Pawson covered this most clearly in his tapes "Israel in Revelation"  -  IJEC)

Replacement Theology   or  Supercessionism  

One outcome of the Church History was Replacement Theology.   Put very briefly, replacement theology holds that God rejected the Jews ( Israel) when they rejected Jesus.  (actually thousands of Jews soon accepted Jesus, but it was their religious leaders who rejected Him )   From this it follows that the promises throughout the Bible now apply to the Church while the curses apply to Israel / the Jews.  

This is spiritualised in various ways but it is surprising how often it surfaces if you watch out for it.   Its influence can even be detected in some well respected Bible translations and their section headings.

Consider this . . . .   God made many promises to his chosen, covenant people in the Old Testament.  We Christians trust in the promises he made us in the New Testament and those we appropriate from the Old Testament.   If God can break his eternal promises to his first covenant people we do not have much assurance for the new covenant.  

But thanks be to God   " . . God's free gifts and his calling are irrevocable."  (Romans 11 v29)      Halleluyah !

Ponder this parable from Jesus;   Luke 14 v7 

When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: "When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, `Give this man your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, `Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Isn't adopting Replacement Theology taking the place of Honour which belongs to God's first chosen and much loved people.  Rather than being humbled when they take their rightful place, isn't it better to honour them and see if we are then called up to a better place when we share God's wedding feast with redeemed Israel. See also Bad Theologies

The blame for the Death of Jesus  (deicide)      "Christ Killers"

This has always been a major justification for Anti-Semitism, but it is nonsense.    The whole nation of Israel did not kill Jesus; a small group of self-righteous religious leaders was responsible for coercing the weak Roman governor.

It was God who determined that Jesus must die and Jesus said "no man takes my life but I lay it down".    If someone had not killed Jesus there would be no church and we would all still be in our sins.

The Paganisation of Christianity and the Establishment Church

Constantine made Christianity the state religion, taking control away from God and enforcing "Christian" faith by earthly methods.   He called the Counsel of Nicea (325AD ) which fixed the dates of holy days by the secular / pagan calendar rather than the Jewish calendar.   Celebration of Jesus' death became Good Friday instead of Passover and his Resurrection became Easter ( The feast of the pagan deity Ishtar) instead of Firstfruits.    This detached the events in Jesus' ministry from their prophetic Jewish context, depriving us of so much deep insight into God and his designs.    The Romans had many gods, the highest of which was the sun who was worshipped on Sunday and whose birth was celebrated on December 25th.   In 440AD the church adopted this date to celebrate Jesus' birth instead of the most probable time which was at  Tabernacles.            See The Jewish Calendar and the Gregorian Calendar    Dates in the Christian Calendar

The state church enforced Anti-Semitism and Jews accepting their messiah had to renounce all Jewishness and become gentile Christians.

It is significant that the Church grew faster before it became "Establishment" under Constantine than it ever has since!   This is in spite of the fact that there are no records of evangelistic outreach initiatives such as we trust in nowadays.

The Crusades ( 11th. 12th and 13th centuries )

From the establishment church and its teachings sprang the crusades.   Although some crusaders were sincere, if misguided, many were evil hearted men in it for their own ends and acting on their own prejudices by force of arms.   In one thirty-six hour period the Crusaders murdered 40,000 Muslims and 10,000 Jews in an event hailed by medieval chroniclers as "cleansing Jerusalem from the contagion of pagans".   Crusaders herded Jews into a synagogue, locked them in and burned it to the ground while singing, "Christ we adore thee."   Christians went to the Holy Land at the beginning of the twenty first century  to apologize for the Crusades.   It seems incredible and unfortunate that some Christians still cheerfully talk of holding Crusades.

The Inquisition ( particularly the Spanish Inquisition ) (15th and 16th centuries)

The leaders of "Christianity" tortured and murdered tens of thousands of Christians holding views which were not officially sanctioned, but they also tortured and murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews.

The Disputations    At this time Jews were forced to participate in public debates with their Catholic oppressors.   Government troops might descend on a town and drag the rabbi into the square to defend the Jewish faith.  If he won he could be charged with insulting the Catholic religion and be forced to flee for his life.  If he lost, the Jewish community would be forcibly converted to Catholicism.     (N Gordon "Hebrew Yeshua vs Greek Jesus" )

Martin Luther

He set the Reformation in motion, returning to sanctification by faith from the abuses of the Roman church.   He also observed the absurdity of making Jews into gentile Christians.   Tragically, he later turned violently against the Jews, proposing that they should be confined to Ghettos, their property should be seized and they should be forced to do manual labour.    "We are at fault for not slaying them" he wrote.   These doctrines provided Adolf Hitler with the religious justification for his "Final Solution".

Russia's attitude towards Jews   

The Pale of Settlement

Czar Cathrine II (“The Great”) established the Pale of Settlement in 1791 as a territory for Russian Jews to live. Created under pressure to rid Moscow of Jewish business competition and "evil" influence on the Russian masses, the Pale of Settlement included the territory of present-day Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Belorussia.

More than 90% of Russian Jews were forced to live in the poor conditions of the Pale, which made up only 4% of imperial Russia. Still, the Jewish population in Russia grew from 1.6 million in 1820 to 5.6 million in 1910. Even within the Pale, Jews were discriminated against; they paid double taxes, were forbidden to lease land, run taverns or receive higher education.

Pogroms - ( The word pogrom means destruction )

The Jews who fled East from the Inquisition and settled in Poland were caught when Russia expanded into Poland and used the Jews as scapegoats for all the ills of the day.   The solution was one third forced conversions, one third deportation and one third starvation.   This was with the tacit approval of the church.

The Holocaust        ( Shoah )

The Jews fled west from the Pogroms into Hitler's Final Solution. 

The Demorial to the Deportees  -  The German railway wagon at the end of a cut off bridge The Valley of the Communities, Yad Vashem.  Memorial to the Jewish communities destroyed in the Holocaust.   
	It is in the form of a labryinth with stones carrying the names of all the communities, arranged by country.From 1933 onwards the Jews were again used as scapegoats, this time by the Nazi party.   They were segregated, degraded and finally rounded up and sent to concentration camps.   

These camps became death camps in 1939, and were capable of murdering 25,000 per day.   

Six million Jews were murdered,  of whom 1,500,000 were children.  

But the figures do not convey the full horror of what took place. 

See new museums.

 The pictures on the following page are offered in an attempt to convey that horror, so you should be warned before clicking  here  Holocaust.

It is easy to believe something so terrible could not happen again but the fact that there are people like David Irving who are taking their "Holocaust Denial" views to universities and anyone else who will listen should sound a warning.

A visit to a Holocaust museum is strongly recommended.  If you can't get to Yad Vashem in Israel, perhaps you could get to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, Beth Shalom in England or the new Holocaust museum in the Imperial War Museum in London.    An Internet search on "holocaust" will give a wide choice of sites which will provide more material than would be easy to cope with.  Some are linked from Holocaust.                 (Click the logo to visit the Yad Vashem website)    


The Jews finally realized that the world did not want them, and GOD used the holocaust to bring his people back to Eretz Israel, fulfilling his word.


What about England? - ARE WE ON THE EDGE OF JUDGMENT? 

Jews came to England around 1066 and lived and lived reasonably peacefully.  However, they started to be persecuted. (some were burned at the stake).  They were finally dispossessed and expelled in 1290. They were not allowed back until the time of Oliver Cromwell.   Jews were characterized as evil in literature (Shylock in Shakespeare and Fagin in Dickens ).   

Click here for a brief history of England's medieval Jewish communities.     England's History

England had some strange notions in the 19th century, presumably built on the foundations of Replacement Theology.     The British Israel Movement believed that the British are descended from the "Lost Tribes of Israel" and thus have a special religious hope.  A prominent member was Blake, who wrote the words of  "Jerusalem" . (Parry wrote the tune)   The belief also appears to be connected to the legend of Glastonbury.   

But even if it is true that the young Jesus visited England, or that the British are from a lost tribe, of what importance is that "compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord."   (Phil 3 v8 ))

What about where you live?    

In the late 1990s Christians have been recognizing the evils done to the Jewish communities and have held services of repentance in their towns and cities.  Such an event was held in Hereford, England in May 2001, and was most moving.  Researching the history was most surprising.  If there was a Jewish community in your town, you might consider investigating its history.

Click here for a brief history of Hereford's medieval Jewish community.       Hereford - History of its Medieval Jewish Community

Eretz Israel - ( the land of Israel )

So much of what we are told about the Middle East situation is error and deliberate lies, that we should seek to understand what is really happening before accepting what we hear on the News.

"Philistine" by Ramon Bennett gives a thorough analysis of the reconstructed history that has been sold to the world, PLO strategy, the PLO's manipulation of "Palestinian Refugees", the Arab / Muslim domination of the United Nations and the prophesied outcome of world events concerning Israel.    

"Islam, Christianity and Israel" by Richard Booker gives a good outline of the same issues as well as giving a good, simple explanation of Islam.

See  Israel in the world and prophecy   

Updated 03/05/22

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