Prophecy on Mount Olivet
By Arlen L. Chitwood
Then you shall say to Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD: Israel is My son, My firstborn.
So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.” (Exodus 4:22, 23)
“Anti-Semitism,” from a strict adherence to the compound structure and meaning of the word itself, can be defined simply as being against (antagonistic toward, opposed to) the Semitic people. In a grammatical and etymological sense (as pertaining to race), such a definition would include all the descendants of Shem (i.e., the Arabic nations as well as the nation of Israel).
The word “anti-Semitism” though is not really used in a broad sense pertaining to the entire Semitic line. Rather, the word is invariably used in a much more restrictive sense, referring to opposition exhibited toward only one branch of the Semitic line — opposition exhibited toward the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob.
Webster’s New World Dictionary defines anti-Semitism as “having or showing prejudice against Jews,” “discriminating against or persecuting Jews,” “. . . hostility [toward Jews].” The Jewish people alone, among the Semitic people, have been the target of persecution after persecution during the past three and one-half millennia; and “anti-Semitism” is an expression that has come into use pointing to these persecutions. Other Semitic nations are not in view at all.
“Anti-Semitism” is actually older than the nation of Israel itself. All anti-Semitic acts occurring over the centuries can be traced back to a common point in history. The roots of all Jewish persecution can be found in that which began to occur in Egypt, preceding the birth of Moses and the subsequent birth of the nation of Israel, at a time when a new king arose over Egypt, “who did not know Joseph” (Exodus 1:8ff).
Jewish persecution that began under this new king in Egypt has been continued by the leaders of nation after nation for over thirty-five hundred years of human history; and the results of such hostile action taken toward the Jewish people have always been the same. Chaos (economic, political, etc.), defeat, destruction, and even annihilation have always followed in the wake of nations having a part in anti-Semitism.
The outworking of the principles set forth in Genesis 12:3 have always come to pass, and they always will come to pass. A nation lifting its hand against Israel is, in actuality, lifting its hand against itself. Hostility, for example, which is carried to the extreme point of genocide (more than one nation has tried it), is the surest way possible to commit national suicide.
The epitaph written on the tombstones of nations throughout history that undertook anti-Semitic practices reads, “Fallen because of their vain attitude toward and ill-treatment of the nation of Israel.”
The Why of Anti-Semitism
Why does anti-Semitism even exist in the first place? Or, why have nations not taken a lesson from history? What is it really all about when a nation (such as Russia, Egypt, Syria, or Iran) exhibits open hostility toward Israel, traveling the same self-destructive path taken by its predecessors? What really lies behind such hostile actions?
Why did the Third Reich during the World War II years single out the Jewish people for destruction? Why has Russia fomented anti-Semitism in her own country and in the Middle East for decades? Why did the late Egyptian president, Gamel Abdel Nasser, immediately preceding the Six-Day War in 1967, announce, “Our basic aim is the destruction [note: not ‘defeat,’ but ‘destruction’] of Israel”? Why did the late Israeli prime minister, Golda Meir, view the situation from her vantage point after the same fashion during the succeeding Yom Kippur War of 1973 when she said, “We are defending our very existence [from surrounding nations, supported by Russia]”? Why has the leader of Iran in more recent times continued echoing this same type of anti-Semitic message?
Why has Israel been threatened to this extent by different nations over the years, completely ignoring the lessons from either Scripture or secular history?
Answers to questions concerning the “Why” of anti-Semitism can be found in the Word of God alone. Secular history can comment upon the matter and record a persecution of the Jewish people down through the years, but such history can never reveal either the true origin of anti-Semitism or the reason for the continuance (and even acceleration today) of persecution directed toward the Jewish people.
Only the Word of God provides this information. And apart from an understanding of that which Scripture reveals concerning the matter, it is not possible to assess, and place in its proper perspective, a segment of mankind’s hatred for a people that God called into existence for special and particular purposes, which includes being the channel through which God would bless the very nations seeking their destruction.
The Beginning of Anti-Semitism
When God called Abraham out from Ur of the Chaldees, He promised Abraham a seed and a land. Abraham and his seed were to inherit for an everlasting possession the land “from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates” (Genesis 13:14-17; 15:18-21; 17:7, 8). Abraham was to become the progenitor of “a great nation” that would dwell in this land, through which blessings would flow out to all the nations of the earth (Genesis 12:2, 3; 22:17, 18).
God never gets in a hurry to fulfill His promises; nor does God ever forget that which He has promised. Even though the land of Canaan had been given to Abraham and his seed before Abraham even possessed a seed, neither he nor his seed came into immediate possession of this land. Rather, they were sojourners in and out of the land of Canaan, awaiting the reception of their inheritance at a future time (Genesis 23:4; 37:1; Exodus 6:4).
Abraham dwelt as a stranger and a pilgrim in both the land of Canaan and the land of Egypt for one hundred years, and the seed of Abraham dwelt as strangers and pilgrims in both of these lands for four hundred years. It was after this, after the end of the four hundred-year sojourn of the seed of Abraham, that God set about to fulfill His promise given to Abraham four hundred and thirty years prior to the termination of this time — a promise given at the time of Abraham’s call, while he was still in Ur of the Chaldees (cf. Genesis 12:1-3; 15:13, 14; Exodus 2:23-25; 3:6-8; 4:22, 23; 12:40-41).
(The “four hundred years” in Genesis 15:13, 14 provide the time of the sojourn of Abraham’s seed [from the birth of Isaac to the Exodus from Egypt]; the “four hundred and thirty years” in Exodus 12:40, 41 cover the same period but include an additional thirty years preceding the four hundred years, dating to Abraham’s call in Ur at the age of seventy.
Thus, the full sojourn — that of both Abraham and his seed, called collectively, “the children of Israel” — was “four hundred and thirty years.” And this period of time was marked off by God to the very day: “. . . on that very same day-it came to pass . . . .” [Exodus 12:41; cf. Galatians 3:17, 18].)
The Israelites were in Egypt two hundred and ten of the four hundred years of Genesis 15:13 (cf. Genesis 25:26; 47:28). Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh, prior to the seven years of plenty (Genesis 41:46). The children of Israel (all the house of Jacob) went down into Egypt about nine or ten years later, during the time of famine (Genesis 41:53-57; 42:3; 43:15; 45:6-13; 46:26-28; 47:27, 28). Thus, the death of Joseph at the age of one hundred ten (Genesis 50:24-26) was about seventy years into the two hundred and ten years that the Children of Israel spent in Egypt.
It was following Joseph’s death but preceding Moses’ birth (about sixty years later) that “there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph” (Exodus 1:8; cf. Exodus 1:15-2:10). Moses was eighty years old at the time of the Exodus (Acts 7:20-37). Thus, the emergence of the new king over Egypt occurred probably as much as a century (or possibly even slightly longer) before the time God stepped in and called Moses to lead the people out.
The new king who arose over Egypt between the time of Joseph and the time of Moses was an Assyrian rather than an Egyptian (Isaiah 52:4). The Assyrians had come down and conquered Egypt, taking over the government and establishing a new dynasty of a different nationality.
In Stephen’s address before the religious leaders in Israel some sixteen hundred years later (Acts 7:1ff), attention was called to this fact by the use of the Greek word heteros. The word “another [‘another king . . . who did not know Joseph’]” (v. 18) is a translation of this Greek word (the Septuagint Version of the Old Testament also uses this same word in Exodus 1:8).
The word heteros refers to “another of a different kind”; and the reference is to a different kind of king, one of a different nationality, bringing into existence a different dynasty. An Egyptian dynasty had previously been in power; but the Assyrians came in, took over the government, and a new dynasty of a different nationality came into existence.
This is the reason that the governing power in Egypt looked upon the Israelites as “more and mightier than we” (Exodus 1:9). This statement would not be true if all Egypt were in view. “We” in this verse has to do with the Assyrians living in Egypt and controlling the affairs of state.
It is in Exodus chapter one, during the reign of “the Assyrian” in Egypt, that anti-Semitism in its true form first appears in Scripture. And this is the point in Scripture where one must begin in order to properly understand why the Jewish people have been targeted for persecution after persecution throughout a period which has spanned millennia.
The growth, prosperity, and potential power of the Israelites in Egypt had become such that it caused the Assyrians controlling the affairs of state to look upon them as a possible threat to their continuance in power (should they one day side with the enemies of the Assyrians). To prevent such from occurring, the Assyrians first attempted to stem the growth and, in this manner, check the potential power of the Hebrew people by and through a rigorous form of enslavement.
After a time, when it became evident that this was not the answer (for “the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew”), they then resorted to a plan whereby all of the Hebrew male children would be slain at birth. It was during these days that Moses was born, hidden by his parents, and eventually, through the providence of God, was reared under the very protection of Pharaoh in the palace itself (Exodus 1:7-2:10).
Once this persecution began in Egypt, there is no indication in the Word of God to anything other than that it continued without interruption (in a very stringent manner) right up to the time of the Exodus. It existed during years preceding Moses’ birth, at the time of his birth, during the forty years while he was growing up in the palace, and during the forty additional years which he spent in Midian.
In fact, the persecution became so intense during the latter years that the cry of the Israelites “came up to God by reason of the bondage.” And, when this occurred, in complete accordance with that which God later promised Israel (cf. Leviticus 26:39-42; 2 Chronicles 7:12-14),
So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them. (Exodus 2:24, 25; cf. vv. 11-23).
This is the place in the book of Exodus where attention is directed back to Moses (3:1ff); God, at this time, called Moses to not only deliver His people from Egyptian bondage by leading them out of Egypt but also to lead them into the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The four hundred and thirty-year sojourn of the children of Israel was about to end; and once this period of time ended, the Israelites were to go forth under Moses to possess the land of Canaan and therein realize the purpose for their very existence.
The End of Anti-Semitism
That which occurred in the book of Exodus, both preceding and during Moses’ day, constitutes a type of that which is about to occur.
Under the Assyrian Pharaoh in Egypt, anti-Semitism began, reached its apex, and was then terminated insofar as the power of Egypt was concerned.
This points in the antitype to that time when, under another Assyrian, the present existing anti-Semitism will take on a similar dimension, reach a similar apex, and then be terminated insofar as the power of — not just Egypt — but all the Gentile nations are concerned.
Thus, in this respect, the story of anti-Semitism as it exists from beginning to end is revealed in Old Testament history.
The Assyrian controlling affairs of state in Egypt is a type of the Assyrian (the Antichrist [Isaiah 10:5; 14:25; Micah 5:5; cf. Daniel 8:8-14]) who will control affairs of state throughout the world during the coming Great Tribulation (“Egypt” is always a type of the world in Scripture). And the persecution of the Jewish people in Egypt during the reign of the former foreshadows a persecution that the Jewish people will undergo during the reign of the latter. The ten plagues brought upon the kingdom of the Assyrian in Egypt (note: “ten,” showing ordinal completion) point to God’s complete judgment brought upon the kingdom of the Assyrian — past (in the type), and future (in the antitype).
This complete judgment befell the kingdom of the Assyrian following Moses’ return to His people, and it led into the destruction of Gentile world power in the Red Sea.
In the antitype, this complete judgment upon the kingdom of the Assyrian in history, following Moses’s return, points to that which will befall the kingdom of the future Assyrian, following Christ’s return. Judgments occurring during the Tribulation will extend into Christ’s return and be climaxed following His return, with the climax of these judgments (resulting in judgmental completeness) seen in the destruction of Gentile world power when Christ treads the winepress.
(For more information on these judgments, refer to Chapters 18, 19 in the author’s book, The Time of the End.)
The deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, following God’s complete judgment upon the kingdom of the Assyrian, was with a view to their being established in the land of Canaan under the old covenant and realizing the very purpose for their existence.
In the antitype, this points to a future deliverance of the Israelites under the One who is greater than Moses, following God’s complete judgment upon the kingdom of the coming Assyrian; and this deliverance, as in the type, will be with a view to the Israelites being established in the land under — not the old covenant — but the new covenant and realizing the very purpose for their existence.
In this respect, the book of Exodus is not only a historical account but also a prophetic account.
1) The Death of the Firstborn
The death of the firstborn was the last of the ten plagues brought upon the kingdom of the Assyrian in Egypt (Exodus 11:1ff). This, of course, has its parallel in the last of the judgments that will be brought upon the worldwide kingdom of the Assyrian yet future. The terminal judgment upon the future kingdom of the Assyrian will issue forth from the last of the trumpet and bowl judgments (same judgments, described two different ways) extending out into the time of Christ’s return.
And after all of these judgments have come to pass, “a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” [a perfect tense verb — ‘It has come to pass’ — referring to that which has been completed in past time, which presently exists in a completed state]” (Revelation 16:17).
“What” will have been completed in past time, existing in a completed state, at the time this voice comes forth from the throne? Relative to Israel and the nations, it can only be one thing. As in the type, so in the antitype: The firstborn in Egypt died in the type; and the firstborn with respect to the Gentile nations, typified by Egypt, must die in the antitype.
And this, in turn, exactly as in the type (Israel on the eastern banks of the Sea, singing the victor’s song, with the power of Egypt beneath the waters of the Sea [in the place of death]), will allow God to bring Israel forth, in a regal respect, as His recognized firstborn.
(The death of the firstborn in Egypt had to do with both individuals and with nations comprised of these individuals. It had to do with Israelites and the nation of Israel, and it had to do with Egyptians and the nation of Egypt.
God’s provided substitute for the Jewish people had to do not only with the firstborn in a family but with the nation as a whole, with God’s firstborn son. And the lack of a substitute apart from Israel had to do with firstborn sons throughout the nation of Egypt and with the nation of Egypt itself [which could only have been recognized as the firstborn within Satan’s realm, for Egypt was the central ruling nation of that day under Satan and his angels].)
God told Moses to announce to Pharaoh,
. . . Thus says the LORD: Israel is My son, My firstborn. (Exodus 4:22b)
And when God told Moses to make this announcement to Pharaoh, nations were in view. And the announced firstborn status of Israel alluded to the birthright.
Israel was the nation in possession of the rights of primogeniture, not Egypt. Israel was the nation that God recognized as the one possessing the right to hold the scepter that Egypt held.
Such an announcement to the Pharaoh of Egypt would be inconceivable. The lowly nation of slaves, in subjection to the most powerful nation of that day, was the nation that God recognized as His firstborn.
Moses was further told to say unto Pharaoh,
So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn. (Exodus 4:23)
The service that God required of His son involved Israel’s establishment in the land of Canaan at the head of all the Gentile nations. In this position, the nations were not only to be ruled by Israel (the regal function of the birthright) but they were to be blessed through Israel (the priestly function of the birthright).
Then, God’s threat to slay Pharaoh’s firstborn, though referring to the firstborn in his household (Exodus 12:29), must be looked upon in a broader sense than just a reference to Pharaoh’s flesh and blood firstborn son. It must be looked upon as also carrying national implications, for that was the subject at hand (“Israel is My son, My firstborn . . . let My son go . . . .”). The complete scope of God’s threat to Pharaoh must include a nation as well (Exodus 14:27-31) — the nation of Egypt.
Satan and his angels presently rule the earth from the heavens through the Gentile nations (Daniel 10:13, 14, 20). Egypt, as the ruling nation of that day, was the one to whom Satan would have bequeathed the rights belonging to the firstborn.
(Note that Satan is the great counterfeiter; and it is evident from the account in Exodus, when understood in the light of his position among the nations, that his work in this realm carries over into the “rights of primogeniture” on a national scale.)
As Satan had delivered these rights to the Assyrian ruling over Egypt during Moses’ day, he will deliver these same rights to the Assyrian ruling over the entire world during that future day preceding Christ’s return. And, as there was a national death of the firstborn then (as well as individual), there will be a national death of the firstborn yet future (as well as individual). Just as Egypt was put down in view of Israel occupying her proper place with respect to the nations in the past, the kingdom of this world will be put down in view of Israel occupying her proper place with respect to the nations yet future. The position of “firstborn” must be occupied by the one possessing this right.
Following Israel’s departure from Egypt under Moses, the Assyrian Pharaoh and his armed forces were overthrown in the Red Sea (Exodus 14:13ff). The firstborn (individuals) throughout all the kingdom in Egypt died when the Lord passed through the land of Egypt on the night of the Passover. Then, Egypt itself, the nation exercising the firstborn status under Satan, experienced death at the hands of the Lord by and through a destruction of the Assyrian and his armed forces in the Red Sea.
Israel, though, lived still. A substitute (the paschal lamb [Exodus 12:3ff]) had been provided as a vicarious sacrifice for the firstborn (both individually and nationally); and the nation, as God’s firstborn, stood triumphant on the eastern banks of the Red Sea, ready to go forth and realize the rights belonging to the firstborn.
As it was, so shall it be: The future Assyrian and his armed forces will be overthrown (Revelation 19:17-21); and, as in the type, there will be both a personal and a national death of the firstborn in connection with this overthrow. The Antichrist and those comprising his kingdom will personally experience the death of the firstborn; and the destruction of the worldwide kingdom of the Assyrian — that future kingdom exercising a firstborn status under Satan — will constitute the national death of the firstborn.
Israel, though, will live still. A Substitute (the Passover Lamb [1 Corinthians 5:7]) has been provided as a vicarious sacrifice for the firstborn (individuals) within the camp. By and through Israel’s acceptance of the Passover Lamb in that day, a nation will be “born at once” (Isaiah 66:8); and this nation, following the overthrow of the kingdom of this world, will stand triumphant (as did the nation on the eastern banks of the Red Sea in history), ready to go forth and realize the rights belonging to the firstborn.
2) An End of All the Nations
God, in Jeremiah 46:28, has stated that He would one day deal with all of the Gentile nations in a final respect:
“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. . . .”
This is not only exemplified through teachings drawn from the type under consideration but also from an event that occurred during the second month following the Exodus. After the Israelites entered into Rephidim, the Amalekites moved against the nation. And because of this, God stated concerning the Amalekites,
. . . I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.
The Amalekites were the first of the Gentile nations to war against Israel following the birth of the Israeli nation and their departure from Egypt (Numbers 24:20). And God’s pronounced judgment upon this nation, in keeping with the principles set forth in Genesis 12:2, 3, establishes “a first mention” principle, which is in keeping with Jeremiah 46:28.
(The “law of first mention” in biblical interpretation states that the first time a subject is mentioned in Scripture, that subject remains unchanged throughout Scripture.)
The Amalekite nation was to be “utterly” put out of remembrance from under heaven; and the same basic thing is said of the Gentile powers existing during the Tribulation (the last of the Gentile powers to war against Israel). In Isaiah 26:13, 14, God has stated concerning “other Lords [rulers of the Gentile nations during that time]” that He has “visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.” That which befell the first will also befall the last.
Insofar as the “first of the nations” was concerned, the Israelites became the appointed executioners of the Amalekites (Deuteronomy 25:17-19); but because of repeated failures to carry out the Lord’s command completely, the Amalekites remained in existence as the bitter enemies of the Israelites for over seven hundred years beyond the Exodus (cf. 1 Samuel 15:2, 3, 7-9; 2 Samuel 1:6-10). The sentence pronounced upon the Amalekites in Exodus 17:14 was not carried out in its completeness until the days of Hezekiah (1 Chronicles 4:39-43); and from that point in history, the Amalekites ceased to exist.
Although the Amalekites figured prominently in Old Testament history, dating all the way back to the days of Abraham (Genesis 14:7), archaeologists have failed to unearth a trace of this nation’s existence. The Amalekites were literally blotted out of existence.
In a similar fashion, God is going to “make a complete end of all the nations” where the Israelites have been driven. The textual setting of this passage in Jeremiah 46:28 is during and following the coming Great Tribulation. The nations are those within the kingdom of Antichrist, a worldwide kingdom, which will include all nations.
Anti-Semitism in that day — evident from the matter at hand in Matthew 25:31-46 and from that which is revealed concerning the kingdom of Antichrist (Matthew 24:15-22; Luke 21:20-24; Revelation 12:1-17) — will break out on a worldwide scale and will be of such magnitude that the Israelites (as the Israelites in Egypt) will be forced to cry out to God for deliverance (cf. Hosea 5:15-6:2). At this time, as in the past, God will hear their cry, remember His covenant, and send a Deliverer — the One greater than Moses. Then that which befell the kingdom of the Assyrian in Egypt will befall the worldwide kingdom of the Assyrian yet future; and that which befell the first of the nations to come against Israel will befall the last of the nations to come against Israel.
Though God will make a “complete end of all the nations,” numerous Gentiles will enter into the Millennium, forming nations. The “complete end of all nations” has to do with national power, a firstborn status.
The nations under Satan are now exercising this status, as Egypt in the type. But, as also seen in the type, matters are about to change.
A change will have to occur because of that which God began to work out almost four and one-half millennia ago:
Blessed be Jehovah [the personal name of Israel’s God], the God of Shem . . . . (Genesis 9:26a, literal rendering)
Shem was the only one of Noah’s three sons having a God, and the nation descending from Shem through Abraham is the only nation on earth today possessing a God, who is identified as Jehovah, the one true and living God. And it is this nation that God recognizes as His firstborn, which necessitates that which is seen in the type occurring in the antitype.
Gentile power must be put down, with Israel subsequently elevated to the nation’s rightful place within a restored theocracy.
It will not, it cannot possibly happen any other way. God has brought these things to pass concerning Israel’s status relative to the nations, He has spoken through the prophets concerning that which is about to happen, and that is the end of the matter.
The Reason for Anti-Semitism
The position presently held by the Gentile nations, the position that Satan holds relative to these nations, and the position that Israel was called into existence to hold must all be taken into account to show the reason for both the beginning and continuance of anti-Semitism. There is a definite reason and a definite unchanged systematic plan underlying anti-Semitism; and this reason and plan have remained unchanged since the days of the Assyrian Pharaoh in Egypt.
The Gentile nations presently hold the scepter; and Satan, along with his angels, presently rules from the existing kingdom of the heavens through the Gentile nations upon the earth. However, Israel is the nation possessing the right to hold the scepter. Israel is God’s firstborn son, the nation in possession of the rights of primogeniture; and God’s firstborn is destined to one day hold the scepter.
Satan knows this; he has known this for millennia. And ever since that time when the Assyrians came down and conquered Egypt (under the direction of Satan [Satan and his angels ruled through the Assyrians, and the Israelites were in Egypt]), Satan has sought to destroy Israel through the Gentile nations.
He knows that the day God establishes Israel in her rightful place, his power over the nations will cease to exist. He knows that his complete kingdom, as anti-Semitic nations down through the years, will fall; and the abyss (Revelation 20:1-3), a vain last attempt at power (Revelation 20:7-9), and the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10) will be all that await such a fall by the one who “made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms” (Isaiah 14:16).
The reason for anti-Semitism — it’s very obvious: Satan, who rules the earth through and controls the Gentile nations, is doing all within his power to destroy the one nation that is a threat to continued Gentile power, and thus his continued rule. Satan has moved and continues to move Gentile powers against Israel simply because Israel is God’s firstborn son, the one nation possessing the rights of primogeniture; and he will continue in this unchanging manner until his hostile actions against Israel, which will reach an apex under the Antichrist during the Tribulation, are terminated by Christ Himself at the time of His return.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you. (Psalm 122:6)