A Derek Prince Teaching Letter
No. 7: The Root of Anti-Semitism
A Roman Catholic historian has given a brief but vivid summation of 2,300 years of continuous
As the historian of Anti-Semitism looks back over the millennia of horrors he has recorded,
an inescapable conclusion emerges:Anti-Semitism is the longest and deepest hatred of
human history.Other hatreds may have surpassed it in intensity for a historical moment,but
all in their turn have assumed – or presently commence to assume – their proper place in
the dustbin of history.What other hatred has endured some twenty-three centuries and
survived a genocide of 6,000,000 of its victims in its twenty-third century of existence only
to find itself still intact and rich in potential for many more years of life?The very magnitude
of the record,seen as a whole,cries out for explanation.How did this amalgam of undying
hatred and oppression come to be?What is it essentially?Who or what was responsible for
The author goes on to offer his own explanation of Anti-Semitism.His remarks are illuminating
and helpful,but in my opinion they do not provide an adequate explanation.Over the years
I have heard explanations of Anti-Semitism representing a variety of different approaches:
theological,philosophical,sociological,economic.But none ever seemed adequate.
In 1946 I discussed this question with my first Hebrew teacher,Mr Ben Zion Segal,who was
the secretary of the newly established Hebrew University – located at the time on Mount
Scopus,Jerusalem.Mr Segal believed that the problem of Anti-Semitism was basically
sociological:the Jews were always an alien minority with a distinctive culture of their own,
out of harmony with the culture of the Gentile nations that harboured them.Once the Jews
got a state of their own – which happened two years later – this would resolve the basic
cause of Anti-Semitism.
To this I replied:"If you are correct that the basic cause of Anti-Semitism is sociological,
then the establishment of a Jewish state should go a long way toward resolving the problem.
But if – as I believe – the basic cause is spiritual,,the establishment of a Jewish state will not
resolve the problem,but will intensify it by providing it with one obvious focus:the newly
established Jewish state."
Looking back now over nearly 50 years,I have to say – regretfully – that I believe history has
proved me right.The establishment of the State of Israel has merely provided a more
"politically correct " name "Anti-Zionism " in place of "Anti-Semitism." If anything,the
virulence has increased.
Although I was right in identifying the basic cause of Anti-Semitism as spiritual,I did not
feel I had laid bare the root.Quite recently,however,without any conscious searching on
my part,I received two successive flashes of inspiration from the Scriptures which I believe
do trace Anti-Semitism to its root.
While I was preaching in our local church in Jerusalem,quite unexpectedly I heard myself
say,"Anti-Semitism can be summed up in one word – MESSIAH!!"
At that moment I understood that from its beginning Anti-Semitism had one source – Satan
– who was motivated by the knowledge that the One who was to be his conqueror,,the
Messiah,would come through a people that would be specially prepared by God.This people
would have one distinctive feature:the Messiah would be able to set an example of obedience
to his earthly parents without dishonouring his heavenly Father by any form of idolatry.
Moulded by God through many centuries,the Jewish people alone fulfilled this requirement.
Then I saw how,from the birth of Israel as a nation onwards,Satan had unceasingly sought to
do two things:to entice them into idolatry,and if that failed,to completely destroy them as a
nation.Satan 's attempts to entice Israel into idolatry are a recurring feature of their national
History also records two main attempts of Satan to destroy Israel as a nation.In Egypt Pharaoh
ordered the murder of all their male babies.If this had been carried through,it would have
effectively terminated their existence as a nation.Later,Haman came very close to carrying
through a decree for the extermination of all the Jews in the Persian empire – which was in
effect all the Jews alive at that time.
In the second century BC Antiochus Epiphane,the dictator of Syria,attempted by force of
arms to compel the Jews to renounce their unique destiny as a nation and to merge into the
idolatrous culture of the surrounding Greek empire.Only the courageous resistance of the
Maccabees foiled his attempt and ensured that a century and a half later there was a Jewish
nation to which Jesus could be born as Messiah.
Through His sacrificial death on the cross Jesus fulfilled the purpose for which He came.As
the representative of Israel and all nations,He satisfied the requirements of God 's justice on
our behalf and thus cancelled all Satan 's claims against us.By this He imposed upon Satan a
total,eternal,irrevocable defeat.The full outworking of this defeat,however,will only be
consummated at the second coming of Jesus.
Satan,who pays more attention to biblical prophecy than many preachers,is fully aware of
all this.Until Jesus returns,Satan knows that he will remain free to continue all his evil activities
and to present himself as "the god of this age " (2 Corinthians 4:4).
There is therefore one event which Satan fears more than all others and which he opposes
by every means in his power:the return of Jesus in power and glory to establish His kingdom
and to banish Satan from the earth.The opposition of Satan to the return of Jesus is the
unseen force behind many of the conflicts and pressures in the contemporary world situation.
In His final prophetic discourses in Jerusalem,Jesus pinpointed two events which must
precede His return to earth.
In Matthew 24:14 He said,"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world
as a witness to all the nations,and then the end will come." At the close of His earthly ministry,
Jesus gave His disciples an explicit order:"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to
every creature ..." (Mark 16:15)."Go and make disciples of all nations ..." (Matthew 28:19).
Jesus has never cancelled this order.It is still in force.He will not return until His disciples
have carried it out.Satan therefore uses every means in his power to divert the church from
completing its task.The longer the church delays,the longer Satan retains his liberty.
Just previously,however,in Matthew 23:38-39,Jesus had said to the Jews in Jerusalem,"See,
your house [that is,the temple ] is left to you desolate;;for I say to you,you shall see Me no
more till you say,'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.'"
The way in which the Lord will prepare the hearts of the Jews for this is predicted in Zechariah
12:10:"And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit
of grace and supplication;then they will look on Me whom they have pierced;they will
mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son,and grieve for Him as one grieves for a first-
born." Notice that the Lord Himself is speaking in the first person,yet He says "Me whom
they have pierced."
The Holy Spirit will move supernaturally on the hearts of the Jewish people to bring a
revelation of their Messiah and anguished repentance for having rejected and crucified
Him.Notice,however,that this description refers specifically to "the house of David and the
inhabitants of Jerusalem." The restoration of the Jews to their own land and to the city of
Jerusalem is an essential preliminary.Until this takes place,the defeat of Satan will not be
This,then,is the second condition that must be fulfilled before Jesus will return:the Jews
must be re-gathered in their own land and in the city of Jerusalem,and their hearts must be
prepared to acknowledge Jesus as Messiah.Just as surely as Jesus came the first time through
the Jews,so surely He will come back the second time to the Jews.
This insight gave me an altogether new understanding of the worldwide furore and confusion
concerning the situation here in Israel.What else could explain the almost daily focus of the
world media,of the United Nations,and of the world 's most powerful governments upon a
tiny strip of land at the east end of the Mediterranean,with a population of five million and
an area about the size of the nation of Wales or the state of New Hampshire?There is no
normal,political explanation for such a concentration of world forces upon a situation and a
people that would normally be considered insignificant.
I also understood in a new light the clear revelation of Joel 3:1-2 that at the close of this age
God will judge all nations on the basis of their attitude towards the re-gathering of Israel in
their own land:
"For behold, in those days and at that time,
When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem,
I will also gather all nations,
And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
And I will enter into judgement with them there
On account of My people, My heritage Israel,
Whom they have scattered among the nations;
They have also divided up My land."
The implications of these revelations are far-reaching and frightening.Our attitude towards
the return of Jesus is revealed by two things:our concern for world evangelisation and our
concern for the re-establishment of the Jews in their own land.If we are indifferent towards
world evangelisation,we are in fact – whether we acknowledge it or not – indifferent to the
return of Jesus.
Probably there are many Christians who would give at least lip service to the urgency of
world evangelism,but who are still blind to the significance of the restoration of Israel.Yet
both alike are main themes of the prophetic Scriptures and of the words of Jesus Himself.
The issue of Israel 's restoration goes much deeper than theology or intellectual
understanding.Ultimately it is spiritual.The spirit that opposes the re-establishment of Israel
is the spirit that opposes the return of Jesus.Though it may wear many disguises,it is the
spirit of Satan himself.
Faced with these clear scriptural issues,we each need to ask ourselves a decisive question:
Am I sincerely committed to support by every legitimate means the task of world
evangelisation and the re-establishment of Israel as a nation in its own land?The answer we
give will reveal our attitude towards the return of Jesus.
In the Master 's service,