Are the Old and New Testaments anti-Semitic?

By Jan Willem van der Hoeven

Just as there is no need to change or rewrite the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) in those places where it is not exactly complimentary to the Jewish people because of their constant failure to respond to their God lest people would take these negative verses about the Jews as an excuse for antisemitism - in the same way there is no need for the New Testament to be changed or expunged of its negative, seemingly antisemitic passages.

The overall message of both the Old Testament and the New Testament is clear.

Share This Post

By Jan Willem van der Hoeven

Just as there is no need to change or rewrite the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) in those places where it is not exactly complimentary to the Jewish people because of their constant failure to respond to their God lest people would take these negative verses about the Jews as an excuse for antisemitism – in the same way there is no need for the New Testament to be changed or expunged of its negative, seemingly antisemitic passages.

The overall message of both the Old Testament and the New Testament is clear. God never has and never will forsake the people He has called. No! Rather, He plans to bring them through all their negative experiences to a glorious, glorious end.

This is the clear message of the whole Bible, and it therefore excludes any reason for a negative, antisemitic attitude towards the Jews on the part of anyone who says he or she believes the words of this Book!

This is how it is spelled out, first in the Old Testament and then in the New Testament:

Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, Who disturbs the sea, and its waves roar (the Lord of hosts is His name): “If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the Lord, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever.” Thus says the Lord: “If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, says the Lord. (Jeremiah 31:35-37)

I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. (Romans 11:1-2)

Actually, this must be of comfort to all Gentile believers who feel themselves grafted into Israel’s commonwealth, as we often have not obeyed and responded to God’s Word ourselves. We may know, even as Israel knows, that He has remained faithful to His promises to those who are of contrite heart and want to do better with His help.

As to the specific question so much under discussion today regarding Mel Gibson’s film, “The Passion of the Christ,” there is no need to change or alter the New Testament record. Instead, we must draw the same conclusions the early apostles – all Jews – had to draw.

Should a truthful recounting of the suffering and crucifixion of Christ as recorded by the New Testament’s Jewish Gospel writers necessarily generate antisemitic sentiment towards the Jewish people?

I believe the same New Testament teaches the opposite:

In fact, the passion of Jesus features centrally in the preaching of the Jewish Apostles, as is clear in the beautiful passage written by Paul to the believers in Corinth:

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-9)

This is how the Jewish apostle Peter expresses it:

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. … Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets” since the world began. For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ (Acts 3:13-15, 17-26)

The lesson is so clear, the way Peter speaks about it: “Brethren I know you did it in ignorance” as Jesus Himself said on the cross. And yet God will use it all in the end to fulfill His holy purpose, also with His own people!

“To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.” (26)

So we see that, in the mouth of the Apostles, the Jewish leadership’s rejection of Jesus was never preached as a reason for incitement against the Jews or as an excuse for antisemitism (after all, they themselves were Jews). Rather it was done in order to urge them to turn to Him so as to be blessed by Him in return.

There is therefore no biblical reason or justification for the vile antisemitism that wretchedly has stained so much of Church history towards the Jewish people.

This also comes out in the beautiful story of Joseph revealing himself to his brothers. He does not upbraid them or express anger towards them for having sold him to the Midianites, but he says:

“do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.” (Genesis 45:5)

Joseph does not condemn his brethren for having sold and rejected him – he embraces and comforts them and tells them God has used their rejection of him to bless them. And as he embraces them in love he weeps upon their shoulders.

The picture of Joseph may well have end time implications, foreshadowing the moment when the Jewish people, like Joseph’s brothers, suddenly become aware and recognize who their love-filled, merciful Brother really is.

Zechariah the prophet foretells it in a most striking way when he prophesies:

“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 firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem… And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself…” (Zechariah 12:10-12)

May the Gentiles not be shut out – like the servants of Pharaoh from that moving scene of recognition and embrace – when this day of weeping, grace and supplication happens to the whole house of Israel!

Or will it be as it was in the case of Joseph, who had to send out his Egyptian servants who thought that he had become one of them, an Egyptian, just as Gentile believers have thought that because they believe in Jesus He is now one of them and has ceased to be Jewish.

Like the Egyptians, who had “Egyptianised” Joseph, forgetting his deep love for his own brethren, so most Christians have “Christianised” or even “Gentilised” Jesus, thus cutting him off from His own people whom He so loves!

When this revelation takes place, Gentile believers had better be humble and contrite, as Paul warns them:

… do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, who are natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree? (Romans 11:18-24)

May we ourselves not be cut off at the very moment when God, according to His mercy and great plan, grafts His own people back into their own tree!

It’s the nations of the world this time that need to be very careful indeed of God’s judgments, as God warns through His prophet Jeremiah:

“But do not fear, O My servant Jacob, and do not be dismayed, O Israel! For behold, I will save you from afar, and your offspring from the land of their captivity; Jacob shall return, have rest and be at ease; no one shall make him afraid. Do not fear, O Jacob My servant,” says the Lord, “For I am with you; for I will make a complete end of all the nations to which I have driven you, but I will not make a complete end of you. I will rightly correct you, for I will not leave you wholly unpunished.” (Jeremiah 46:27-28)

© Israel My Beloved




The PLO was instituted in 1964 three years before the six day war in June 1967 when Israel, in a war of self-defense, recovered the so-called “West Bank”, now seen and proclaimed by nearly everybody as the quintessence crux of the Middle East problem.
This however shows that the PLO (All Palestine needs to be liberated) was not formed to erect a Palestinian state on the ‘so called’ West Bank but was instituted to replace all of Israel with a Muslim Palestinian State.

A Word From Zion

The New Testament Basis for the Restoration of Israel

Jesus was asked by His disciples whether He would restore the kingdom to Israel at that time, to which He replied:
Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.