The phenomenon of anti-Semitism has puzzled Christians and nonChristians, Jews and non-Jews, sociologists and prophets alike for millennia. Why does the world persist in despising to death the Jewish nation, no matter what they do—or do not? The root of this ancient hatred traces all the way back to the Garden of Eden.
God wants our eyes and hearts focused on Him. But He does not want us ignorant of the schemes of the devil (2 Cor. 2:11). One reason anti-Semitism flourishes today, even among some Christians—is that many do not recognize it. In 2010 anti-Semitism has been subtly re-packaged as global anti-Israelism. The disguise is so wily that even God’s elect could be deceived—the consequences of which are serious. Zechariah 2:8 (NIV) says “whoever touches you touches the apple of His eye.” The Hebrew implies that whoever lifts a finger to harm Israel, in a sense, pokes their finger into the Almighty’s eye. The result is their own vision is obscured. Such a person may no longer discern truth; they’re prone to deception not only concerning Israel but God Himself. Now, because truth sets us free, to understand the true root of Israel hatred is to be empowered to withstand it. But there’s more. To be empowered against the anti-Israel spirit is to be also empowered against the anti-Christ spirit. To be empowered against the anti-Christ spirit is also to be empowered to overcome the spiritual warfare affecting you personally in these last days.
Seed of the Woman, Seed of War
Return with me momentarily to that glorious Garden called Eden, when all was well in paradise—until, tragically, the unimaginable occurs. Satan tempts the woman Eve with a lie. Eve succumbs to the lie, Adam follows, and humankind—the pinnacle of God’s creation—falls from His presence and grace. Horror reverberates throughout the universe. Only the Creator Himself can redeem what has now taken place. Stunningly, this is precisely what our loving Father prepares to do. Thus He pronounces, “I will put enmity between you [Satan/the serpent] and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall crush your head, and you shall strike His heel.” (Gen. 3:15, NIV).
In this passage, God prophesies His infinitely spectacular plan of redemption. The seed of the woman will crush the serpent’s. And now, as a result, Satan has great wrath. “…Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” (Rev. 12:12, NKJV)
Genesis 3:15 and Revelation chapter 12 expound on each other. When these passages are studied in tandem, a striking, threefold pattern emerges from Scripture. First, we see that God’s plan of redemption occurs in phases. The watershed event in His overarching plan for redeeming this fallen world is Messiah’s cross and resurrection. But redemption does not climax until Messiah returns, and a Milennium later, ushers in a new heaven and earth. Second, we see that from the Garden to the Great Tribulation, whenever God is about to unleash the next phase of His redemptive plan, the devil ferociously unfurls his wrath. Fearful of losing his place on earth, Satan strikes preemptively and venomously, as if he could actually defeat his Creator. Third, we see that each time the devil unfurls his wrath, it is especially aimed at the woman and her seed—in an attempt to thwart redemption. To stand firm in truth and love, aligned with God’s plans, it helps us to know who the woman and her seed are, and how Satan’s wrath unfurls.
Who is the seed?
If you know and love Messiah Jesus, you know He is the “seed of the woman,” or as described in Revelation 12:5, the “male child who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” The word “seed” in Hebrew is singular, as is “male child” in Greek, referring to an individual rather than a corporate or plural seed. Yeshua, fully divine and fully human, crushed the head of the serpent through the power of His cross and resurrection. However, to the extent you and I are spiritually in Christ, the seed can at times refer to us as well.
The “seed of the serpent” refers in its most literal interpretation to the anti-Messiah. In a broader sense, his seed encompasses the fallen angels or hosts of hell, all those given over to wickedness, and the evil they unleash.
Who is the woman?
The identity of the woman is multidimensional. Indisputably, in the fundamental, most literal sense, Yeshua’s mother, Miriam or Mary, is that most highly esteemed woman. But according to many Christian theologians and Jewish rabbis, in the more general biblical and natural context, the woman refers to Israel. This would explain the last days’ outworking of Rev. 12:13 and 17: “When the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. … And the dragon was enraged at the woman, and went to make war with the rest of her offspring [seed], who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (See the remainder of chapter 12 for a more complete understanding.)
In the natural realm, Eve birthed Abraham and Sarah, who birthed Israel, who birthed Miriam, who gave birth to Yeshua. In the natural realm, Israel’s offspring in the last days who keep both God’s commandments and the testimony of Jesus are Messianic Jewish believers in Yeshua.
In another and broader sense, or in the supernatural realm, the woman includes all those who worship the God of Israel, or Jewish and Gentile believers in Yeshua. As we’ll soon see, this interpretation explains the relationship between the anti-Christian spirit and the anti-Israel spirit. Particularly in these last days, both demonic forces operate in tandem. And increasingly, the remnant of those keeping both God’s commandments and the testimony of Jesus will include Gentile, as well as Jewish, believers in Yeshua.
How Satan’s wrath unfurls: the recurrent biblical pattern
How does Satan’s wrath unfurl? The father of lies, lies (John 8:44). From the Garden to the Great Tribulation, the lie serves as his prime weapon of choice. His choice goal, however, is death. He aims to destroy both the woman and her seed in order to thwart God’s redemptive plans. Recall that Yeshua said the devil was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). The devil’s very first lie to humanity brought about their death (Genesis 3:3).
Viewing Genesis 3:15 and Revelation 12 together, the recurrent pattern emerges from the Scriptures. The devil tries—unsuccessfully—to abort each new phase of God’s redemptive plan through a spirit of death:
1. God initiates the Abrahamic covenant in Genesis 12:1-3. However, barrenness befalls the patriarchs and matriarchs. Because barrenness precludes new life, it is a type of spirit of death. Satan causes Abraham and Sarah to be barren, he causes Isaac and Rebekah to be childless, and Jacob and Rachel are similarly unable to reproduce. Yahweh intervenes each time to birth the godly seed. Each time He is glorified.
2. Many years pass and the sons of Israel grow into a nation. God’s next phase of redemption is the Mosaic covenant. But down in Egypt, Satan’s propaganda campaign begins. He lies to the pharaoh (Exodus 1:8-10), who then orchestrates history’s first mass murder of the Jews. Again his goal is to destroy the seed of the woman that crushes his head. But God preserves Moses, Israel’s unmatched leader destined to mediate the written Word. Moses also directs the first great aliyah, or taking of the Promised Land. The Land is an integral part of the divine redemption. Bear in mind the Creator is redeeming not just humanity but His entire creation.
3. The Davidic covenant represents the next stage of redemption. Through King David the Messianic lineage is set in motion. But David’s predecessor Saul believes a lie about the young warrior’s motives and seeks to slay him (1 Samuel 18:8-9, 24:9). Once more, God is victorious and glorious.
4. In the book of Esther, Israel has been exiled and is living in the Persian Empire. Again Satan inspires the attempted genocide of the Jews. He concocts lies about them to the Persian king through his wicked adviser Hamaan. Is it coincidental this takes place shortly before the Israelites return to the Land? God marvelously defeats the devil, and the second Jewish aliyah is described in Ezra and Nehemiah.
5. After the Jews return to the Promised Land, once more the father of lies, lies. Ezra and Nehemiah record how Israel’s Arab neighbors relentlessly resist the rebuilding of Jerusalem. When these enemies are unsuccessful they lie outrageously to the authorities, falsely alleging the Jews will upset the “powers that be.” Today almost 2,500 years later, the reality of Ecc.1:9-10 rings sadly true—“there is nothing new under the sun; what has been done will be done…it has already been in ancient times before us” (NKJV). By demand of Israel’s Arab neighbors animated by Islam, world powers again relentlessly resist the Jews’ rebuilding of Jerusalem.
6. Hundreds of years later, the New Covenant comes to pass in the fullness of time. Immediately prior, King Herod rises to power and is told a lie. A Jewish child, word has it, will someday usurp his Roman throne and rule the province. The lie is based on prophetic truth—but it remains a lie. Nevertheless, the crazed king executes every baby boy in the Land. Behind the scenes, Satan is attempting to abort the prophetic fulfillment of Genesis 3:15 and the crushing of his head. But God isn’t worried. His Son the Savior is swiftly tucked away and survives. Sadly, in the process thousands of innocent Jewish babies are cruelly killed. Rachel weeps for her children and cannot be consoled (Matthew 2:17-18). Messiah’s coming is not quite as expected.
7. In a last ditch effort to abort the Messianic mission and world redemption, Satan inspires the crucifixion of Jesus. Now the enemy is outwitted in the most stunning victory ever. The spilt blood of Jesus unleashes forgiveness of sin. The Resurrection represents humanity’s inheritance of kingdom-of-heaven authority. The Holy Spirit’s outpouring births the Body of Messiah from all families and nations on earth.
8. Satan’s wrath is great. Fierce persecution (based on lies) is unleashed against Israel and the Church—though at this point, the Church is mostly Israeli. As a result God’s people are scattered abroad. The next phase of redemption history unfolds—the spread of the Gospel to the nations.
9. Nearly 2,000 years later, the set time to favor Zion has come (Psalm 102:13). In 1920, a global body known as the League of Nations establishes a Mandate for a Jewish State. The Mandate is adopted in full accordance with international law. (Boundaries for the Jewish State encompass 90 percent more than the size of Israel today.) The “woman” is about to be revived, heralding the prophesied end times restoration of Israel. The Old Testament Scriptures and Yeshua Himself indicate the Jews must be back in the Land—and Jerusalem—before He comes as conquering king (Matthew 23:39).
What happens next? The Nazi Holocaust endeavors to eradicate every Jew on earth. Once more, the power to murder flows from the power to propagate lies. The father of lies, lies. In World War II he employs propaganda at unprecedented levels about the Jewish people. Six million tragically perish. Yet ultimately God’s plan prevails.
After World War II, the League of Nations is replaced by the United Nations. The UN is by law required to adopt all mandates legally passed by the League of Nations. Despite the hellish horror a few years prior, the third Jewish aliyah begins. Israel is re-born in the natural realm. At about the same time, the spread of the Gospel in Holy Spirit power exponentially increases. Millions of Gentiles are re-born in the spirit realm—but only after millions are viciously killed in two world wars. At this point, the interrelationship between the anti-Israel and anti-Christ spirit sharpens into focus.
10. In 1967 the nations surrounding Israel plot her final demise. The seed of the serpent spins his viperous lies, weaving together Nazi propaganda with modern-day, murderous Islam. But God is gloriously victorious. In the lightning-speed Six Day War, His enemies are defeated and physical Jerusalem is restored to the Jews. In a sense, spiritual Jerusalem is restored to the Gentiles, as global revival simultaneously escalates.
Interpreting the times: seed of the woman, seed of war
In 2010, a small remnant of Jewish lovers of Yeshua live in Israel and are beseeching Him to return. We’re saying daily from Jerusalem, “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:39). We’re joined by untold numbers of Christians from the nations. Together as the Bride, we’re preparing the way for Messiah to return.
The devil’s wrath—and fear—are greatly roused. Therefore he is rousing wrath worldwide toward Israel as never before. The woman and her Seed represent seeds of war.
To his deadly Islamic, anti-Israel propaganda, Satan has now infused the inherently anti-Christian lie of humanism. Humanism defines truth not as an objective standard set by One greater than humanity. Instead, truth becomes subjective; it is seen as whatever standard of right or wrong appears to best serve collective humanity, given current circumstances. To the extent Biblical Truth is denied, so too is the Biblical basis for Israel’s existence. As a result, fertile ground is found for nontruth, or lies, to flourish about the Jewish State.
Israel’s existence reminds the world of an inconvenient reality that runs counter to the goals of humanism. That “inconvenient reality” is the existence of the God of Truth.
Tragically, many Christians fall prey to the deception. Anti-Semitism takes hold in their hearts and, by harming the apple of God’s eye, their own vision is dangerously harmed. They may no longer see truth or discern clearly. (For this reason, the same liberal churches that disdain Israel generally embrace the ways of the world regarding homosexuality, abortion, and other similar issues.) Today’s anti-Israel movement is repackaged anti-Semitism, together with the anti-Christ spirit.
While the enemy animates the world against Israel, God is watching. The Holy One uses anti-Semitism as a test for the nations. When (not if) you hear accusation upon accusation in the coming days and years about Israel, remember the father of lies, lies. The enemy of your soul has great wrath toward the woman whose Seed crushes his serpentine head. He opposes God’s plan for redemption by opposing the people through whom God will bring the next phase of His redemption into effect. Those people are the Jews—and all who keep the holy commands in Yeshua’s name. Those people are you and me.
Birth pains at unprecedented levels will accompany the days leading to Messiah’s Second Coming. The woman, like Rachel, will once more weep for her children. But her consummate victory is at hand: “Now salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ, have come, for the accuser of our brethren…has been cast down… And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them!” (Rev. 12:10, KJV)