Published Date: June 24, 2018
Last time I wrote that after I discovered that Christian persecution against Jews was so pervasive and diverse that we had essentially broken all ten commandments, I didn’t know what to do. Today I share the personal story of what happened next, and if you read this column to the very end, you might just — well — wait and see!
In Spring and Summer of 2013, after twenty-five years of working with Jews in high-tech, here I was, finally learning the true history of the relationship between Christians and Jews. Why? Why would a man who thought history was boring, eagerly go study history? God, in His lovingkindness, laid a trap for me in the form of “the Blood Moons”! Even today, most people don’t know that the Blood Moons had already happened EIGHT times in history between 162 AD and the year 1967. In 2013, I reasoned that the right approach to understand the Blood Moons was to study EVERY occurrence, not just the two or three occurrences people were excitedly talking about.
Blood Moon Over Jaffa Gate (Photo: Sherwood Burton)
God Drops the Cheese
Along the way to try to understand the Blood Moons, God also dropped some pieces of cheese on my path — some fascinating facts — that would fuel the incentive I would need to get through this huge study.
First, I learned what most of our readers today already know — about the horrible and amazing pattern of Jewish tragedies that had occurred on the 9th day of the fifth month of the Jewish Calendar, the 9th of Av. Here are a few of them:
- The destruction of the First Temple by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC
- The destruction of the Second Temple by Rome in 70 AD
- The fall of Betar during the Jewish Revolt of 135 AD
- The day that England expelled the Jews in 1290 AD
- The day that Spain expelled the Jews in 1492 AD
NOTE: I will have more to say on these soon, but not today.
Then I learned that Christian history was a lot more connected to Jewish history than I ever imagined. Two pieces of exciting cheese that God allowed me to find to fuel the excitement were:
- Azusa Street Revival: The real beginning of that world-famous movement in 1906 — the first time the Holy Spirit fell on William Seymour and his friends — was the night that Jews all over the world were celebrating their Passover meal!
- Like a Mighty Wind: The night that the famous Indonesian revival began in 1965, was on Tishri 1, which is the Feast of Trumpets (or Rosh Hashana).
NOTE: In the Charismatic stream of the Christian faith, there are hardly two events and subsequent revivals more famous than these. I am not aware that the people involved ever knew about these Hebrew Calendar connections: I discovered these connections on my own.
Once I read over the basics of the last 2,000 years of history, I went back and read specifically about Jewish and Christian history from various viewpoints – Catholic, Protestant, Messianic, secular and Orthodox: about fifty history books in all. With all the dates I was studying I began to see that the relationship between Christians and Jews was a lot more complex than I had realized. It was in that time period that I had the thought that we may have broken all ten commandments.
I also began to catalog specific events of persecution. Every time I came across a new location and date of Jewish persecution, I would drop it into a spreadsheet that I was keeping. I would write a few notes about the event including the number of people affected (or killed) and then move on. I was expecting the various books I was reading to be repeating the same basic persecution events over and over, but instead, every time I read another book I discovered new anti-semitic events.
And then came the 9th of Av. (This year it is observed beginning Saturday evening, the 21st of July).
Now that I understood its history, and why the Jewish people would choose this day to fast and pray, I came upon an idea: What if I were to halt my own study on the Blood Moons history for one day, and examine the events perpetrated against the Jews?
I went to my file, this time not just to “add a new row,” but to see all that was in it, and now saw to my disbelief that this file had about 500 incidents spread over its many pages! Oh my! Even if I only spent “one minute” on each of them, this was going to take a full eight hours!
I decided to do exactly that: my task on the 9th of Av would simply be to fast like the Jews do, and then look at each row for one minute, consider it, and move to the next.
For one minute each I would think about what was written on a particular row – about that:
- particular pogrom
- riot against Jewish homes
- forcing Jews to wear special clothing
- an expulsion of Jews from a town or region
- special laws going into effect to restrict Jewish life
- business endeavor or type of employment
- a restriction on interaction between Jews and Christians
- a piece of anti-semitic [H2] writing from a Church Father
- a burning of a building with Jews trapped inside
- a violent demonstration of Jewish hatred down the streets of their neighborhood
- an event where Jews were being blamed for natural disasters
- the burning of a certain city
- a disease or an outbreak of the plague
- the cannibalization of Christian babies
- the pouring of human blood upon their matzah
and of course outright murder and killings of Jews.
I would think about each one, trying to imagine what it would be like to have been there and to have watched those things happen. And then after 60 seconds I would move on to the next.
I sat down in my study chair at eight o’clock that Tuesday morning on June 16, 2013 and opened the file. It was not too difficult at first. But as the day rolled on, the events just kept coming and coming. Not only was I thinking about what the Jewish people had endured, but I also considered the fact that this particular row in my spreadsheet (all but a few of them) had never been known to me: how I had never heard it mentioned in my entire Christian life, nor from any of the Jews that I had worked with almost daily for over twenty-five years.
“Why had I never known this?” I would ask over and over that day.
As I read hundreds of these events in order, from about the second century onward, the vile acts just continued to get worse and worse. This was clearly the most unusual fast in which I had ever partaken. At some point in the 1200s in the early afternoon, I could no longer even sit and read. I became physically ill and had to stop. I never even reached the horrible events in the later centuries! I was overwhelmed by the atrocities committed against the Jews by my European Christian forefathers.
Then I suddenly realized something else — something that I was not seeing: There was no record of Jews ever repaying evil for evil in what they suffered from us.
I was undone.
What started out to be a one-day side-trip, turned out to be much more. Something broke in me that day, something I expect to carry with me for the rest of my life. In the weeks that followed, it was no longer “business as usual” in my study of the Blood Moons. Those moons were fading in the sky of my mind, just as an eclipsed moon fades away into the light of the coming dawn. Something was different now.
And looking back, I can see now that what I did not do on that day, was just as important as what I did do. I did not try to repent!
Years later, it would hit me. By not repenting, by not trying to slap a spiritual bandaid on the wound I was opening, I was in some small way partaking in the beauty of the book of Lamentations — the very book that Jews read on the 9th of Av. In that book Jeremiah does not try to “fix it.” He does not try to stand in for the Jewish people and plead their forgiveness. He lives in the moment, feels the pain, cries to God, and asks questions of God that seem to have no answers.
Owning Our Past
Dear friends, I am no better at finding the purposes of God than anyone else. I often feel like I stumble forward, and have to look back to see His true purposes.
A couple of months ago, out of the blue, a Root Source subscriber from New Zealand who I had interacted with in the past, Ray Montgomery, wrote me with an idea. Like me, he too had come to grips with the full extent of Christian persecution against Jews. Like me, he had compiled lists of events from his various research. Like me, he too had been undone by what he learned. Ray wondered if now might be the time that God could be calling Root Source to “do something regarding our Christian past” on the 9th of Av this year.
So here is what Ray and I would like to do for everyone reading. He will take his research and mine which I have given him, and he will prepare a list of all the events we each discovered separately. We would like to make our combined list available to you.
Would you be willing to join us in looking at all these events on the 9th of Av in 2018? That would mean looking at these events from sundown Saturday July 21, to sundown Sunday July 22?
I thought I would never want to go through that list again, but Ray and I promise to do it again this year with you, so that we can all go through it together!
Would you be brave enough to take this list in one hand, and perhaps the book of Lamentations in the other hand, and place yourself in the attitude of weeping for what we Christians have done in our history, by owning our past?
You have come to the end of this column now.
You have followed the cheese.
Would you now be willing to take the next step, and let God lead you right into His “trap of lovingkindness”?
If you aren’t sure yet, we understand, this is a weighty decision. But if you are sure, or even if you only want to consider it, please click the link below to provide your email, and we will send you the material closer to the date.