Antisemitism as a False Flag Operation

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One of more distressing things that has happened over the last couple of years is that our old equilibrium has been knocked cock-eyed. This is certainly unsettling, but Christians can reassure themselves of the fact that our sovereign God knows how to practice creative destruction, and that He has done this signature move often whenever a people are as haughty as we have been. That is what we see going on all around us now.

While trusting in His sovereign purposes, I want to note that one aspect of our old equilibrium was the fact that antisemitism did not have nearly the foothold here in America that it has had in Europe. There were important gospel reasons for this, but in certain important respects I think this is now changing, and not in a good direction.

But the antisemitism I am going to be talking about is not the central problem—this is is simply one of the fruits that the rancid tree of envy will inevitably grow. It is the canary that conked out in the mine. It is the first couple of coughs in a six month losing battle with lung cancer.

On Not Fitting Into Anybody’s Shoe Box

Because I am going to be walking through a minefield here, I thought perhaps the best way to begin might be by strapping on a pair of snowshoes and just tromping my way across. This I propose to do by cramming a bunch of disparate facts into just one paragraph, the one immediately below this one, without taking any time to defend or explain any of them at any length. I am just putting them up to serve as the background wallpaper for the observations that I am going to go on to make after that. It will perhaps serve the useful function of heading off some of the more predictable distortions of what I am going to be saying.

Quite a few members of my immediate family have significant amounts of Jewish blood in their veins. The ancestry of all my grandchildren includes Rabbi Cohn, and for about a third of them, it also includes atheist Jews who were members of the communist party. I am a supercessionist, meaning that I believe that the promises that were given to Israel in the Old Testament have been fulfilled in the New Israel, which is the Christian church. The Greek word Iudaios can be rendered either as Jew (as opposed to Gentiles) or as Judean (as opposed to Galilean), which means that we really ought to revisit a number of the passages in the New Testament that talk about what “the Jews” did. At the same time, because there is no salvation apart from Christ, modern Jews who reject Christ as their Messiah are rejecting their only possible hope of salvation. I am not a Zionist, Christian or otherwise, meaning that I don’t believe there was a theological case to be made for the establishment of Israel in Palestine in 1948. Nevertheless, I was not consulted, being still five years off from my natal day, and the state of Israel was established there anyhow. And like every nation on earth, now that they are established, they have every right to remain right where they are, which means they have the right to protect themselves. I don’t believe in Manifest Destiny either, but I still live in Idaho, and would take it ill if there were any general attempts at eviction. I believe that the Holocaust was a horrific evil, but I don’t believe it was sui generis—the human race has been every bit as wicked as that before, and on numerous occasions.

So here is the challenge. When it comes to the cherry-pickers, they can go through preceding paragraph and make me out to be a Zionist, or an antisemite, or perhaps both at the same time, whatever suits their current purposes.

I start this way because I would really like to approach this topic from what I hope is a different direction. Work with me.

The Normal Human Condition

The normal human condition, apart from Christ, is the envious condition of striving, biting, devouring, scratching, grasping, and yearning. The normal human condition is one of malice and envy.

“For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.”

Titus 3:3 (KJV)

“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings”

1 Peter 2:1 (KJV)

“But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.”

Galatians 5:15 (KJV)

Only the blood of Christ can liberate a man from this dismal condition, and only a widespread acceptance of a gospel ethos can render a culture relatively free of the pretensions and charades that envy loves to parade around in. I refer, naturally enough, to the posturing of things like “social justice.” That is just a high-flying name that people give to their malevolent envy, and it is like trying to polish a turd.

Now this side of the general resurrection no culture is free of envy, but it is possible for a culture that is under the blessing of God to be comparatively free of it. That has been the case for much of our nation’s history, but we now appear to be in the middle of a wholesale rejection of that particular blessing. I mean, look at us. Our current events are being driven by economic envy (socialism), racial envy (BLM), sexual envy (feminism), and so on. Our unregenerate streets are full of envy and rage, and there was a time when it was not that way.

But it stands to reason. Apart from Christ, the electric crackle of envy runs along all the wires. Everything is hooked up to this particular grid. The current flows from Gentile to Jew, Jew to Gentile, white to black, black to white, short to tall, fat to skinny, and so on—mimetic desire and carking envy are absolutely everywhere and in everything. People who dismiss this with a wave of the hand do not understand the Scriptures, and they are blind when it comes to identifying one of the mainsprings of all unregenerate human action. But the prohibition of envy and covetousness (“of anything that is your neighbor’s”) is in the Ten Commandments for a reason.

Now because the evangelical church has drifted away from preaching a hot gospel—the kind that has a suitable emphasis on damning law and redeeming grace—the previous Christian consensus that our nation once had has almost completely eroded. It used to “go without saying” that envy was wicked, but it no longer goes without saying. We used to be able to smell it, and we can’t smell it anymore. Many millions of Americans now believe that somehow the yearnings of their splenetic envy are their birthright. And so it is that we are currently in the middle of a culture-wide shitstorm of envy, and nobody appears to recognize it for what it is.

So much wealth. So much wickedness. So much guilt. So many disparities. So many lies. So much stupidity. So little gospel. Of course we are at each other’s throats.

Given the degradation of our Christian consensus, and given how lame the evangelical witness has been, and given how much envy has been whitewashed in our culture in multiple ways, including in sermons, it would be astounding if those who call themselves conservative or right wing were unaffected by all of it. They have not been unaffected. It has to be bluntly stated that all unconverted conservatives, traditionalists, right-wingers, and populists, so long as they are in that unregenerate condition, are extremely vulnerable to this contagion of envy. And even a number of the converted are vulnerable. How could they not be? Their politics just change the direction of their envy, not the fact of it.

On Right Wing Rage Porn

At the very start, let me hasten to add that I am sure that the same thing and much worse can be said about the left wing rage machine. But my topic today has to do with something I see developing on the Right that I regard as extremely worrisome, and it is a whole lot bigger than just the Jewish question. The issue of rising antisemitism is just a piece of it—but a revelatory piece nonetheless.

Remember that I am still setting the stage for my concluding observations, and I am doing it this way because antisemitism is a worldview problem, not an isolated or separate topic off to itself. For reasons that I hope will become obvious, it is an issue that is connected to the whole wide world.

I am not sure how this came about, but a number of the algorithm gremlins have somehow decided that I am a fitting target for various forms of what might be called right wing rage spam. As a result, on a daily basis, multiple times a day, I am cordially invited to see Senator So-and-so drop a BOMB on AOC, or to watch as an angry mom OBLITERATES a school board somewhere, or to click on something that will enable me to observe a Texas sheriff WIPE THE FLOOR with some ding dong at CNN. It has to be acknowledged that a lot of people on the right appear to like hating.

Now for those of you who have been around this blog for more than a few weeks, you will know that I believe that we are supposed to have enemies. And I believe that it is most necessary that we fight them. At the same time, and this cannot be emphasized too much, we are under the strictest of orders to love them (Matt. 5:44; Luke 6:27, 35). Love is not inconsistent with a vigorous polemic. It is not inconsistent with prophetic rhetoric. It is inconsistent with scurrilous abuse. “And peace, Eustace. Do not scold, like a kitchen-girl.”

But when envy has metastasized, and gotten to a certain point, it is impossible to hide—kind of like Shylock’s nose. And one of the very first things it does is to draw Shylock’s nose like that.

Jews Without Christ

Jews without Christ are in the same position as anyone else without Christ. There is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Unbelieving Jews share the same lot as every other kind of unbeliever. Unbelieving Jews need Christ, and without Christ they are lost.

But being lost does not prevent them from being a high performance people. Being high performance doesn’t save you because only Christ saves. Now I say they are a high performance people for reasons that have to do with centuries of cultural cohesion in the face of opposition, whether warranted or irrational, centuries of intellectual discipline revolving around ancient texts, and because God wants to glorify His name by preserving them as an intact people so that He can bring them back to the olive tree en masse (Rom. 11:24-25).

Because they are unregenerate, their high performance levels veer in two different directions—one to the detriment of everybody, and the other a blessing to all through God’s common grace. One high talent Jew cooks up a cancerous Marxist plague that emanates from the Frankfurt School, a guy with a name like Horkheimer, say, and another high talent Jew carves out a cure for cancer from a bar of soap, with a name like Horowitz, say, thus winning the Nobel Prize—his third. Because the first guy is malevolent, the destructive impact of his high talent malevolence is high. Bad things happen all over the world as a result. We are looking at you, George Soros. Because the second guy is pursuing his own glory, not the glory of God, he already has his reward (Matt. 6:2), not yet having learned that a man who gives everything he has to the poor without love is still nothing (1 Cor. 13: 3). But we still have the cure for cancer, for which we thank God.

So thank God for Ben Shapiro. Thank God for Dennis Prager. But then remember that we need to go a whole lot farther.

But all this activity, destructive or constructive, just sets the stage. When people are envious, and they are looking for a scapegoat, they cannot tolerate the notion that there is an ethnic group out there that is way more disciplined and talented than they are. But they easily believe that there is a group out there that is way more evil than they are because that is how scapegoating works. The bad people in that other group are doing evil things, and the ones among them doing all that helpful stuff, well, they obviously must be cheating, see?

So antisemitism does not challenge Jewish unbelief. It mirrors Jewish unbelief. It commits the same sin that the Jews are committing—which is refusing to let Christ crucify all our conceits, all our pride, all our envy, all our our striving, all our swollenness, and all our vainglory.

The Pauline Strategy

Interestingly, the apostle Paul puts a godly use of the force of envy right at the center of his strategy for evangelizing Jews. And what I am urging here means that antisemitism among professing Christians is a photo negative of that strategy. It is about as unbiblical as it is possible to get. It represents a high fusion of two of the worst traits of human beings—those two traits being malevolence and stupidity.

Paul’s strategy is that we are supposed to provoke the Jews to envy us. We are not supposed to envy them.

“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy . . . If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.”

Romans 11:11,14 (KJV)

I believe that Paul is playing the long game here. It is not just a matter of personal salvation and forgiveness and relief, although all of that is right at the foundation. We are actually talking about the blessings of Deuteronomy coming to the Gentile nations that have received the Messiah of the Jews. These Gentile nations will consequently be the head, and not the tail, and Paul knew that this was a strategy that would actually work on his people.

Carping envy from Gentiles only reinforces Jewish unbelief. It feeds and nourishes Jewish unbelief. It is a central complicating part of the problem of Jewish unbelief. It is an envy that feeds the drivenness of the excluded Jew. It is like Harold Abrahams in that great film Chariots of Fire. He was an unbelieving Jew who was so driven that he wanted “to take them all on, one by one, and run them off their feet.” And the Christian in the film, Eric Liddell, brought the real answer. He simply wanted to run because he “feels God’s pleasure.” Grace can run fast too. Incidentally, one of the most powerful and understated moments in the film is right at the end, when you realize that the funeral of Harold Abrahams is a Christian funeral.

The best thing we can do for the Jewish people is labor to build a Christian culture that runs the way Eric Liddell ran—under the pleasure of God.

One Last Provocative Comment

Now as the saying goes, friends don’t let friends immanentize the eschaton. And I have taken great care not to have immanentized my own eschaton. I do not believe we are even close to the point when the lion will lie down with the lamb, or the kids are playing with cobras. But I do believe that we are far enough along in church history to see how this sort of thing might work out in the future.

When it comes to the capital of human creativity, daring enterprise, engineering genius, and cultivation of the technological sublime, there have been two countries in the centuries since Christ that have been true stand-outs among the others. Those two nations have been America and Israel. That fact alone is worthy of some comment.

But there is a corollary. Both have been the objects of unbelievable amounts of vitriolic and envious scorn. Both countries might well disappear under the molten hot hatred that envy produces, because envy hates fruitfulness and always has.

That envy is the fuel that the Left has always run on, and so much is a matter of course. On the Right, the recent populist uprising against conservative leaders who don’t believe in conserving much of anything has accomplished a lot of good. But one of the vulnerabilities it has created (that is becoming increasingly apparent) is that it has made some on the Right susceptible to the seductive allurements of envy—outsiders against insiders, little guys against big guys, deplorables against the omnicompetent Bond villains, goyim against the Jewish cabal, and so on.

It is a trap. It is a squirrel cage run. Get off it now.

But the answer is not a secular ecumenism. The answer is Christian culture, operating under the blessing of God. That means acceptance of God’s law, trust in God’s salvation promises, and living the way God intended for us to live—free of envy.