1991 (4) Jews as Chosen
Understanding Antichrist, advanced level study
Orthodox Life magazine 1991 (4)
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The announcement on the previous page and similar announcements have appeared in the past months with more frequency. Many Orthodox Christians are troubled as to the significance of the events which are foretold in these announcements. Patristic commentary on the circumstances surrounding the last times and the appearance of the Antichrist are not our immediate concern in this article. Since this announcement was sponsored by a purely Jewish concern the comments in the following article deal only with the right, or authority of the Jewish nation to make such statements. The editor.
Note: The author of the following article lives in Russia. We received it some years back. The whole tone of the article is composed, discrete, and sober. Its ideas are profound, clear, and in complete agreement with the teaching of the Orthodox Church and the Holy Fathers.
Christians are the chosen nation of God, holy, redeemed by the Lord, made as white as snow and sheep's wool, purged, and pure from its dross (ls. 1:25), in whose hearts is written the Law of God (Jer. 31:33). In fact even they are not really a true nation (Deut. 32:21), since in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek (Gal. 3:28). The prefiguration of the Christian people was the Jewish people, chosen in the flesh. Since the testament of the Spirit concluded with Christians cannot be annulled, because nothing can separate us from Christ (Rom. 8:38-39), so also the prefiguration, the covenant, concluded with the Jewish people, cannot be annulled. Even though the Jews, as a people, tell away from their spiritual calling, the covenant concluded with them carnally, that is by descent from Abraham, could not be annulled even in the face of spiritual apostasy. Here is the covenant:
Not for thy righteousness or for the uprightness of thine heart dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that He may keep the word which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Understand therefore, that the Lord thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiff-necked people (Deut. 9:5-6).
Similarly in the book of Esther it is told how the king sent out letters to all his provinces, in which he issued the order and appointed the day when it was required "to execute, to destroy, and waste all Jews," and with his signet-ring certified his directive. Later on the king altered his attitude to the Jews. However, revoking a directive, ratified with his signet-ring, was not the custom of the king. He gave a new edict and certified it with his signet-ring, that "the King permits the Jews, living in any city to gather and to stand in the defense of their lives," and to repulse those preparing to fall upon them. On the day appointed by the first edict, when "the malevolent enemies of the Jews were gathered to fall upon them, the Jews congregated to defend their lives," repelled and conquered their enemies, since God Himself was on their side.
If the Old Testament is understood as a foreshadowing, then one sees that the true Jews of the Old Testament are a foreshadowing of Christians, since all true Jews of the Old Testament lived spiritually in expectation of Christ the Savior, the Messiah. On the other hand, their enemies in the Old Testament are a foreshadowing of contemporary Judaism, that is, those who either consciously or unconsciously confess the Jewish religion, the very foundation of this religion being a rejection of Christ [Once one accepts the Christian Gospel, traditional Judaism loses its validity]. The Jewish religion which accepts Christ is the Christian religion.
The first decree, the covenant with the Jewish people made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is never revoked, and therefore, in remain- ing a "special, different" people, since they did not accept Christianity, they repudiated their being the chosen people of God.
Thus, it may be that the very preservation up until now of the Jewish people is a result not of their being "chosen," but as a result of their apostasy. In fact, if the Jews, having repented of the crime committed on Golgotha, would have become Christian, then they would have made up the foundation of a new spiritual nation, the nation of Christians. Would they have begun to strive in this case to preserve their nationality and government? Would they not have dispersed among other nations as the missionaries of Christianity just as the Apostles? Would they not have been strangers in a foreign land, not having a fatherland, like unto Abraham, but in this case with a higher spiritual meaning? All this happened with the Jews, that is, that they became wanderers, not in a positive spiritual sense, but due to a curse, that is, not of their own will, but due to the will of chastising Providence since they did not fulfill that which God intended for them. Would they not have been exterminated en masse during persecutions as the main preachers of Christianity? Would they not have assimilated among other peoples. so that the very name "Jew," "Hebrew," as a national name, would have disappeared and would have only remained in the remembrance of grateful nations as the glorious name of their enlighteners? Yes, and the very Promised Land and Jerusalem were given to the Hebrews not as a worldly fatherland. for which they now are striving, but as a prefiguration of the Heavenly Kingdom and the Heavenly Jerusalem, as a token of which Abraham and through him all the Hebrew nation coming out of Haran, renounced their earthly fatherland. For this reason the very significance of Jerusalem and the idea as a prefigurement would have passed away for the Jews, as soon as the Kingdom of God and the Heavenly Jerusalem would have become obtainable for them and would have become for them, as they are now for us, Christian holy places.
The second edict also cannot be changed, the New Testament covenant with Christians. For this reason, if for Christians there is no other chosen people besides the Christians themselves, then among the "peoples" inhabiting the earth, the Jews must occupy an extraordinary position. We see that these people weaken as a nation through union in Christianity, their only salvation, because the Judaism which permeates them disintegrates and is annulled by this union. This is so because Christianity without Christ reverts to Judaism. Even those Jews who do not accept Christianity, being infected by the bacillus of anti-Christianity, manage to preserve their identity supported by the Old Testament covenant. For this reason the hope of the Jews for universal supremacy is not in vain. This people will be preserved through all times; they will not be exterminated nor will they disintegrate. Other nations, especially Christians, will be preserved only by Christianity and will experience downfall and destruction only if they fall away from Christianity or weaken in their convictions. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve Thee (that is, serve Christianity) shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted (ls. 60:12).
One cannot doubt that those who consciously confess the Jewish religion strive for the universal supremacy of Judaism, or rather of the Jews. If one were to read the Old Testament as the Jews do, that is, not spiritually, not interpreting the prefigurative meanings (understanding as the Prophet did, foreseeing the names Jews and Jerusalem as actual prophecy about the Church, – St. John Chrysostom, Exegesis on the Second Chapter of the Book of Isaiah, Second Point), but in a carnal way, then it would seem that the prophecies speak about a future supremacy. For example, it is said: For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (ls. 2:3). "Here the New Testament is being spoken of," writes St. John Chrysostom. "This can be seen from the place and time, from the one who accepted the law, from history after the acceptance of the law and in general from everything." Firstly, for example, from the location: "out of Zion." The law of Moses was given to the Hebrews on Mt. Sinai. Why is it written here: "out of Zion"? Not being satisfied with this alone, he added the time. He did not say "goes forth", but "shall go forth," which refers to a future time and to an event as yet not fulfilled. Later he indicates the place and says: "and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." Indeed, Christ taught lofty and heavenly commandments while sitting on the mountain (Zion) and while being in Jerusalem. However, the Jews who do not accept Christ refer this and other such prophecies to "a future time and subject, as yet not fulfilled." They understood them carnally, in a worldly sense, namely that there shall still come a law from Zion, from Jerusalem, and therefore not only for the Jewish people, as for the Hebrews the law of Moses had already been given on Mt. Sinai, but for the whole world, a law in a carnal sense, as a "government" or "authority," an already given law, since the Jews only recognize the first given law of Moses. For this reason the religion of the Jews is directed towards the future, to meet the Messiah, not Christ, but rather the Antichrist, who must establish the supremacy of the Jews and Judaism upon the whole world (Ed. note. Judaism here to be understood as not the religion given by God before the revelation of Christ but the distorted belief held by contemporary Jews). In this we see the difference between the philosophies of Judaism and Christianity. That is, while Christians seek the Heavenly Kingdom, the Jews seek an earthly kingdom, the improvement of the world under the supremacy of the Jewish people who exert great efforts in aspiring towards the fulfillment of this idea, for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light (Luke 16:8). For this very reason the Jews crucified the Lord, Who did not become the Messiah in their understanding, Who did not guarantee worldly wellbeing, Who did not free them from the Roman authority, but Who preached a Heavenly Kingdom, a kingdom not of this world. In other words, the Jewish idea is a deification of materialism.
This Jewish materialistic approach openly and more subtly, under the appearance of various social theories and philosophical systems, encroaches upon the consciousness of Christians, breaking down Christian nations. In particular the penetration into the Christian consciousness of this Judaistic idea explains many heresies, the rise of Islam, the substitution of Christianity with humanism, altruism, Marxism, and separatist nationalism. Nationalism, which at times takes on an anti-Semitic character, at other times ends up in union with Judaism, in any event is the reverse side of Jewish philosophy. A nation is truly attractive only in that part of it which is Christian. On the other hand, separatist nationalism, that is the extolling of a nation because it is a particular nation, refers back to the incorrect and prideful Jewish understanding of their chosenness, when they boast, "We are children of Abraham."
This activity of Judaistic philosophy is responsible for the striving towards the worldly in Christian societies, the wasting of spiritual talents for the worldly, that is, the burying of them, which explains the direction of present-day civilization towards "progress," the ruining of our planet, modern pagan art, and so on.
Thus the Jews may obtain supremacy, resulting from the breakdown of Christian peoples, that is from an open or subtle falling away from Christianity, which can be viewed as a direct influence of Jewish philosophy. In the end they will bring forth from their midst the Antichrist, their messiah, upon whom they hope.
The task of Christians at all times has been the salvation of as many human souls as possible, and therefore we try by all means to put off the appearance of the Antichrist.
What common denominator do some people seek in order to equalize black and white, Christianity and Judaism? – Judaism being a deified materialistic philosophy of earthly justice, worldly good, earthly freedom, and worldly well-being. Just as the deification of one's aspiration for all that which is worldly comes from Judaism, for the Christian that which is worldly is used only in so much as it is necessary in one's striving for the spiritual. It therefore follows that those who strive to equalize Judaism and Christianity, black and white, using the worldly as a basis, allow the spirit of Judaism to conquer them. In other words, having exchanged Christian spiritual goals for worldly ones, those that call themselves Christians lose that which distinguishes them from Jews and thus seek a union with Judaism, [perhaps unconsciously] rejecting Christ. They become co-workers in preparing for the kingdom of Antichrist.
"The Orthodox Messenger", April, 1988 (no.11), pp. 5-7, Dioceses of New York and Canada.
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