As believers that the Lord Jesus is the Messiah, and that His unique salvation is revealed by scripture alone, received by faith without works, and appropriated by sheer sovereign grace, we owe an unspeakably great debt to God for the Jewish people.
Even though they have shown hardness, indifference and hostility to their own glory, hope and the 'breath of the nostrils', it is a shock to read the extent to which professing believers have shamefully hated and vilified the Jews.
The sharp distinction between holy prophetic reproof (to the point of being labelled as traitorous to his own people, Jeremiah, or stoned, Zechariah) and malicious, unjust anti-Jewish prejudice is razor sharp and not difficult to make.
We are hugely indebted to
Martin Luther for leading us out of the iron furnace of Roman idolatry.
However in expression, he excelled in this latter evil above many of his Catholic opponents.
In doing so he became an apologist for the Nazi atrocities, and was freely employed by Hitler's supporters. Yet the case is still worse than this, Martin Luther laid out a practical manifesto which the Nazis implemented.
To faithfully follow the
Master, we must confront and uproot the evil,
as well as honour the strengths of past leaders.
Here are some short, vicious
and painfully vitriolic extracts from Luther's study on Messianic
prophecy, 'On the Jews and their lies'
and a short quote from the even more demonic work, 'On the unknowable Name'.
"One leading Protestant churchman, Bishop Martin Sasse published a compendium of Martin Luther's antisemitic vitriol shortly after Kristallnacht's orgy of anti-Jewish violence. In the foreword to the volume, he applauded the burning of the synagogues and the coincidence of the day: 'On November 10, 1938, on Luther's birthday, the synagogues are burning in Germany.' The German people, he urged, ought to heed these words 'of the greatest antisemite of his time, the warner of his people against the Jews.'"
No apologist can claim that Martin Luther bore his anti-Jewishness out of youthful naivete, uneducation, or out of unfounded Christianity. On the contrary, Luther in his youth expressed a great optimism about Jewish conversion to Christianity. But in his later years, Luther began to realize that the Jews would not convert to his wishes. His anti-Jewishness grew slowly after time. Luther, at age 60 wrote this dangerous "little" book at the prime of his maturity, and in full knowledge in support of his beliefs and Christianity.
Luther's vehement attack on Jews and his powerful influence on the believers of the German people has brought a new hypothesis to mind: that the Holocaust, and indeed, the eliminationist form of anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany could not have occurred without the influence from Luther's book "On the Jews and Their Lies."
Today, white-supremacists and Neo-Nazis continue to spread Luther's Jewish hatred and use quotes from this book as "proof" of their convictions.
Are these reproofs in the spirit of a modern Paul or Hosea or Isaiah?
EXTRACTS FROM ON THE JEWS
AND THEIR LIES, by Martin Luther, 1543
My advice, as I said earlier, is:
First, that their synagogues be burned down, and that all who are able toss in sulphur and pitch; it would be good if someone could also throw in some hellfire. That would demonstrate to God our serious resolve and be evidence to all the world that it was in ignorance that we tolerated such houses, in which the Jews have reviled God, our dear Creator and Father, and his Son most shamefully up till now, but that we have now given them their due reward.
Second, that all their books - their prayer books, their Talmudic writings, also the entire Bible - be taken from them, not leaving them one leaf, and that these be preserved for those who may be converted. For they use all of these books to blaspheme the Son of God, that is, God the Father himself, Creator of heaven and earth, as was said above; and they will never use them differently.
Third, that they be forbidden on pain of death to praise God, to give thanks, to pray, and to teach publicly among us and in our county. They may do this in their own country or wherever they can without our being obliged to hear it or know it. ...
Fourth, that they be forbidden to utter the name of God within our hearing. For we cannot with a good conscience listen to this or tolerate it, because their blasphemous and accursed mouth and heart call God's Son Hebel Vorik, and thus also call his Father that. ....Therefore we must not consider the mouth of the Jews as worthy of uttering the name of God within our hearing. He who hears this name-from a Jew must inform the authorities, or else throw sow dung at him when he sees him and chase him away. And may no one be merciful and kind in this regard. for God's honor and the salvation of us all, including that of the Jews, are at stake!
I shall give you my sincere advice:
First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. ...
Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. This will bring home to them the fact that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they are living in exile and in captivity, as they incessantly wail and lament about us before God.
Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.
Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. For they have justly forfeited the right to such an office by holding the poor .....They wantonly employ the poor people's obedience contrary to the law of the Lord and infuse them with this poison, cursing, and blasphemy.
Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews...Let them stay at home...
I will tell you. Their breath stinks with lust for the Gentiles' gold and silver; for no nation under the sun is greedier than they were, still are, and always will be, as is evident from their accursed usury. So they comfort themselves that when the Messiah comes he will take the gold and silver of the whole world and divide it among them. Therefore, wherever they can quote Scripture to satisfy their insatiable greed, they do so outrageously. One is led to believe that God and his prophets knew of nothing else to prophesy than of ways and means to satisfy the bottomless greed of the accursed Jews with the Gentiles' gold and silver.
Shame on you, here, there, or wherever you may be, you damned Jews, that you dare to apply this earnest, glorious, comforting word of God so despicably to your mortal, greedy belly, which is doomed to decay, and that you are not ashamed to display your greed so openly. You are not worthy of looking at the outside of the Bible, much less of reading it. You should read only the bible that is found under the sow's tail, and eat and drink the letters that drop from there. That would be a bible for such prophets, who root about like sows and tear apart like pigs the words of the divine Majesty, which should be heard with all honor, awe, and joy.
Therefore, wherever you see a genuine Jew, you may with a good conscience cross yourself and bluntly say: "There goes a devil incarnate."
I say, before they would have us Gentiles - whom they incessantly mock, curse, damn, defame, and revile - share the Messiah with them, andd be called their co-heirs and brethren, they would crucify ten more Messiahs and kill God himself if this were possible, together with all angels and all creatures, even at the risk of incurring thereby the penalty of a thousand hells instead of one. Such an incomprehensibly stubborn pride dwells in the noble blood of the fathers and circumcised saints. They alone want to have the Messiah and be masters of the world.
Quite apart from this, the Jews hear and see enough in us for which they ever blaspheme and curse the name of Jesus in their hearts; for they really are possessed. Therefore the history books often accuse them of contaminating wells, of kidnapping and piercing children, as for example at Trent, Weissensee, etc.
And these dreary dregs, this stinking scum, this dried-up froth, this moldy leaven and boggy morass of Jewry should merit, on the strength of their repentance and righteousness, the empires of the whole world - that is, the Messiah and the fulfillment of the prophecies - though they possess none of the aforementioned items and are nothing but rotten, stinking, rejected dregs of their fathers' lineage!
However, it is impossible to convert the devil and his own, nor are we commanded to attempt this.
This gives you a clear picture of their conception of the fifth commandment and their observation of it. They have been blood thirsty bloodhounds and murderers of all Christendom for more than fourteen hundred years in their intentions, and would undoubtedly prefer to be such with their deeds. Thus they have been accused of poisoning water and wells, of kidnaping children, of piercing them through with an awl, of hacking them in pieces, and in that way secretly cooling their wrath with the blood of Christians, for all of which they have often been condemned to death by fire.
There is no other explanation for this than the one cited earlier from Moses - namely, that God has struck them with "madness and blindness and confusion of mind." So we are even at fault in not avenging all this innocent blood of our Lord and of the Christians which they shed for three hundred years after the destruction of Jerusalem, and the blood of the children they have shed since then (which still shines forth from their eyes and their skin).
We are at fault in not slaying them.
"But your [God's] judgment is right, justus es Dominie. Yes, so shall Jews, but no one else be punished, who held your word and miracles in contempt and ridiculed, insulted and damned it for such a long time without interruption, so that they will not fall, like other humans, heathens and all the others, into sin and death, not up in Hell, nor in the middle of Hell but in the pit of Hell, as one cannot fall deeper...
Even if they were punished in the most gruesome manner that the streets ran with their blood, that their dead would be counted, not in the hundred thousands, but in the millions, as happened under Vespasian in Jerusalem and for evil under Hadrian, still they must insist on being right even if after these 1,500 years they were in misery another 1,500 years, still God must be a liar and they must be correct. In sum, they are the devil's children, damned to Hell...
The Jews too got what they deserved. They had been called and elected to be God's mouth as Jeremiah says...Open your mouth wide and I will fill it; they however, kept tightly closed their muzzles, eyes, ears, nose, whole heart and all senses, so he polluted and squirted them so full that it oozes from them in all places and devil's filth comes from them.
Yes, that tastes good to them, into their hearts, they smack their lips like swine. That is how they want it. Call more: 'Crucify him, crucify him.' Scream more: 'His blood come upon us and our children.' (Matthew 27:25) I mean it came and found you...
Perhaps, one of the merciful Saints among us Christians may think I am behaving too crude and disdainfully against the poor, miserable Jews in that I deal with them so sarcastically and insulting. But, good God, I am much too mild in insulting such devils.."
To the extent we fail to
disown and dissociate from such wicked sentiments
to that extent we too partake in the bloodguiltiness of our forebear.
May God have mercy on us,
Gentile and Jew alike, through the shed blood of His beloved Son,
which speaks better things than that of Abel.