From Prejudice to Persecution: Tracing the Historical Trajectory of Anti-Semitism

John 15:18: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”



When pro-Hamas protesters use the phrase “From the River to the Sea,” it implies the complete elimination of Israel and the establishment of a Palestinian state encompassing the entire area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. In other words, it is the complete genocide of Israel, “by any means necessary,” that is being promoted.

However, those same protesters will also proclaim, “Stop the genocide in Gaza,” decrying an accusation of Israel’s genocide in Gaza.

How odd. Genocide that’s desirable for the Jews but appalling for the Arabs. Yet we hear this in hundreds of protests all over the world, from Warsaw, Dublin, and London, and to University campuses all over the United States.

The FBI announces that “our statistics would indicate that for a group that represents only about 2.4 percent of the American public, they [Jews] account for something like 60 percent of all religious-faith hate crimes.”

Yet with all this, even liberal standard bearers are shocked that the hatred for Jews is so deeply embedded and pervasive.

Loathing doesn’t stop with the Jews, though; Iranian officials have made it clear that they want to also eliminate Christians. And, worldwide, the genocide of Christians is widespread yet oddly silent.


What is the genesis of this deep hatred?

Some have suggested that during the Middle Ages, many Jews, who were largely excluded from other professions due to discriminatory laws, found themselves involved in money lending as a means of survival. The perception of Jews as moneylenders became tainted with negative stereotypes over time. These stereotypes portrayed Jews as greedy and reinforced the notion that they were somehow inherently untrustworthy. Such prejudices were widespread and deeply ingrained in medieval European society, perpetuating an atmosphere of hostility and mistrust towards Jews. These unfounded perceptions fueled anti-Semitic sentiments, often leading to discriminatory laws and violent actions against Jewish communities. Jewish people were routinely scapegoated for societal issues, economic troubles, and crises, with the lending of money being used as a pretext for anti-Semitic acts.

Yet Leviticus 25:35-37 instructed Jews that lending was not to be pursued, stating, “If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God that your brother may live beside you. You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit.”

Furthermore, concerning Christians in the New Testament, Jesus also taught principles of fairness and generosity in financial matters. In Luke 6:34-35, Jesus says, “And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great.”

Disobedience to God’s commands is not without consequences. However, hatred of the Jews and the Christians stood long before the Middle Ages.


The nexus of this Jewish and Arab conflict can actually be traced back to Abraham.

According to the biblical account, Abraham considered the father of Jews and Arabs, had two sons: Ishmael, born to his wife Sarah’s maidservant Hagar, and Isaac, born to his wife Sarah. The story highlights a divine promise made to Abraham that his descendants would become a great nation. However, Sarah, initially barren, grew impatient and suggested that Abraham have a child with Hagar to fulfill the promise. After Ishmael’s birth, tensions arose within the family, and Sarah, feeling threatened by Hagar and Ishmael, requested that Abraham send them away.

This is discussed in Genesis 16:1-6: “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, ‘Behold now, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.’…and he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. And Sarai said to Abram, ‘May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the LORD judge between you and me!’ But Abram said to Sarai, ‘Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.’ Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.”

Ultimately, Ishmael’s descendants settled in the Arabian Peninsula, giving rise to all the Arab nations. But Ismael is prophesized to stand in conflict against the Jews as detailed in Genesis 16:11-12: “And the angel of the LORD said to her, ‘Behold, you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the LORD has listened to your affliction. He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.’”

The description of Ishmael as a “wild donkey” signifies his untamed or rebellious nature. Furthermore, the phrase “his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him” implies that Ishmael and his descendants will be a people who engage in frequent hostility and conflict. Lastly, the phrase “he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen” indicates that they will live in enmity and opposition toward their relatives, particularly the descendants of Isaac (the Israelites).

This, then, is the true origin of the Jewish and Arab conflict. Of course, it is promoted and fomented by none other than the god of this world, Satan himself; as 2 Corinthians 4:4 states, …the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.



Throughout time, this conflict will ebb and flow, but God also makes another promise to Abraham and the Jews. In Genesis 12:3, He states, “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

The ultimate blessing that Genesis 12:3 refers to is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. The same Messiah that the Jews rejected and crucified and the same Christ that will soon come again. His second coming will be preceded by the Rapture of the Church, The Battle of Gog and Magog, The Rise of the Anti-Christ, the Tribulation, and the Battle of Armageddon. His Church and believing Jews will all ultimately survive and be blessed.


All that is in the current news, Gaza and the rights of the Palestinians, will fade away; it’s a much bigger issue than that.

Romans 8:38-39 makes a promise, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

That love is available exclusively to those who are saved in Christ Jesus.

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