Give Us Barabbas: The Covenantal Curse

The subject of the Jews is a central theme in right wing politics and conservative religious groups. In mainstream American politics and across the globe, alignment with the state of Israel is seen as a sort of litmus test for conservatism. Christian Zionism and a focus on the state of Israel in “end time” prophecy is prevalent in most of the conservative evangelical, protestant churches across the South and the rest of North America.

 In the Dissident Right, the Jews also serve as a sort of litmus test, but one that runs opposite to the mainstream right wing. One’s “Dissident Right” credentials are based by many on having a sufficiently negative opinion of the Jews and their disproportionate negative influence on the white race. Though virtually all negative, the specific ways in which the Dissident Right views the Jews vary greatly, from viewing them and all the religions based on the Bible as foreskin sacrificing worshipers of a volcano-demon, to Jews being Slavic impostors who converted to Judaism in the first millennium, to Jews being the physical descendants of an unholy union between the Devil and Eve.

The Jews take up far too much of the worldview and discourse of the Dissident Right, but it is still important to find a way to understand the issue that is both accurate and helpful. This article will set forth a way to understand the “JQ” that is not plagued with the Zionism of cucked Christianity, opposed to Christianity because of its Abrahamic origins, or just plain crazy. It is my hope that this article will help our people develop a well rounded position on the Jews that is both traditional and Christian and goes beyond simply being opposed to the Jews because being so is part of being “red-pilled.”

The Covenant

 Let’s begin where it all started, when Jehovah made a covenant with Abraham and later the people of Israel. God promised to make Abraham the father of a multitude of nations and to bless the world through his offspring. There were many parts of this covenant that God made with Abraham and later with the people of Israel – the offspring of Abraham. One of the important parts to consider for this particular issue is God’s promise of blessing and cursing depending on Israel’s obedience to the Law. God promised to bring Israel out of Egypt and give them the land of Canaan. However, they would lose their land and be punished harshly if they did not follow the laws of God and worship Him in truth. God’s promise of blessing to the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would not be made void by Israel’s disobedience, but there would still be consequences for sin.

The Kingdom

Before Jacob (renamed Israel by God) died in Egypt, he prophesied by the inspiration of God and gave covenant blessings to each of his children. Jacob took Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, and made them his own as far as the covenant blessings were concerned. He then gave them the covenant birthright. This was the same birthright that he had taken from Esau, the promise of God to Abraham to make him a father of many nations and bless the world through his offspring. Jacob also prophesied of a coming kingdom where the scepter would be held by the tribe of Judah, another one of Jacob’s sons, and this kingdom would never end.

400 years later, Israel’s 12 sons had multiplied into a nation and left Egypt for the promised land. Eventually, David (of the tribe of Judah) is made King by God and leads the nation of Israel in the worship of God, as does his son Solomon.  However, shortly after the death of Solomon, the people of Israel are split in two. The northern 10 tribes (Israel), led by Ephraim and Manasseh, become a separate kingdom. Now, the Kingdom of Israel had a new king, and the Kingdom of Judah continued to be ruled by the descendants of David.

Sin and Punishment

Not long after the 10 tribes of the house of Israel became a separate kingdom, they began to fall heavily into idolatry and wickedness. They no longer worshiped in the Temple, and they began to worship false gods. Jehovah sent several prophets warning Israel of impending doom if they continued to sin, but they would not repent. Eventually, God sent the Assyrians to destroy the Kingdom of Israel and remove the 10 tribes from their land, scattering them abroad. God’s promise to Abraham and the birthright of Ephraim and Manasseh were still valid, but their sin caused them to lose their kingdom. God does not forsake His people, but He does punish them.

James Tissot, The Flight of the Prisoners

The Kingdom of Judah did not collapse into wickedness as quickly as the Kingdom of Israel. However, they still often fell into idolatry. In times of wickedness, Jehovah would send a prophet to act as a sort of “covenant enforcer.” The prophetic books of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah are the best examples of this. The prophet would remind the people of the terms of the covenant and promise divine judgment if they continued in their idolatry. It is absolutely essential to note that the way God punished His people was by bringing in foreign nations to militarily destroy Judah and remove them from the land. Prophecy is not primarily telling the future, it is a proclamation of the impending judgment of God on His people for their wickedness. Through the prophets, God warned Judah that He would send the covenant curses several times, and several times Judah was destroyed by foreign armies. However, God always promised restoration if they would repent.

As God had promised by the prophets, the Kingdom of Judah was brought to an end by Babylon, and Judah was taken into captivity and forced to leave the promised land. God used Babylon as a rod of punishment to implement the covenant curses of destruction and removal from the land. The Temple was also destroyed, removing the place of meeting between Judah and Jehovah.

Restoration

As God had promised, Judah would be restored when they repented. The Babylonians fell to the Persians, and the tribes of Judah and Benjamin were returned back to the promised land. However, the Davidic King promised by God to lead His people forever was not restored. Judah was now a vassal state. The temple was rebuilt, but it paled in comparison to the original Temple of Solomon. For the next 400 years the Jews would live in the land of Palestine, but they would be under the rule of other nations. In the prophets, God had promised a Messiah, the son of David, to restore His people. However, for the time being the Jews were under the rule of the wicked.

The New Testament

 After 400 years of silence from God, the Jews had developed a religious system that was much different than was practiced in the days David and the united Kingdom of Israel. They no longer had their own kingdom and their hope to be restored to their former glory was in the promise of a Messiah who would set things right and free them from oppression. Instead of kings and prophets, the Jews now governed themselves through the Sanhedrin, an elected council of religious leaders known as Pharisees. These Pharisees had a large amount of influence and were given much leeway by the Romans to rule the Jewish people, as long as they were subservient to Rome. Most devout Jews, at this time, fully expected the Messiah to soon come and restore their country by casting off the Roman yoke of oppression.

Well, the Messiah did come. Christ Jesus – fully God and fully man, born of a Virgin, of the seed of David – was born by miraculous conception in Bethlehem. Jesus was the physical heir to the throne of David and was the Son of God. He was the Messiah, the one sent by God to save His people and the whole world.

 Despite the fact that He was the Messiah, the ministry of Christ was continually opposed by the Jewish leadership. Time and again, the Jewish leaders sought to dissuade people from following Him, and they often tried to have Him killed. The Pharisees understood who Christ was. They knew He was the heir to the throne of David and they knew that He was the Son of God. However, their lust for power and self rule would not allow them to submit to their King. The Jews wanted salvation on their terms.

The culmination of the Jewish opposition to Christ happened with the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. The Jews, those who claimed to wait for the Messiah King to return, instead shouted that they had no king but Caesar. The Son of David was rejected for a wicked king of a foreign land. Instead of receiving God’s Messiah, the Jews received Barabbas. Barabbas was one of the many self-proclaimed Messiahs in that time who sought to incite revolt against Rome. Barabbas thought that violent insurrection would be the impetus for the salvation of Israel and he believed himself to be chosen by God to lead it. Crucify Christ, give us Barabbas. Even Pontius Pilate understood that Jesus was innocent, but the Jewish pressure to kill Christ was too high to free Him. Finally, in a blasphemous display of treason to the most high, the Jews screamed “his blood be upon us and our children.” And, so it would be.

Before His death, Christ spoke a parable of a vineyard.

Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen (or tenants), and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

Matthew 21:33-41

The vineyard is the Kingdom of God, and the owner is Jehovah. The tenants, or husbandmen, are the Jews – especially the Pharisees. The servants are the prophets, who were sent time and again to call Judah to repentance, only to be mocked and killed by the Jews. The son of the vineyard owner is, of course, Jesus Christ and when He came to receive the fruit of the vineyard, the tenants sought to take what belonged to the Son for themselves by killing the rightful heir. What would be God’s response? He will miserably destroy those wicked men and will let out his vineyard unto other tenants. Those who killed the Son of God will be utterly destroyed and cast off.

Matthew 24, The Revelation of St. John, and 70 AD

Entire books can be written on the specific biblical prophecies and significance of Matthew 24, Revelation, and 70 AD. There are many details and facets that inform our understanding of the issue at hand. However, I will attempt to very simply and broadly paint a picture of how this all comes together.

Shortly after Christ taught the parable of the vineyard, He went to Jerusalem for the final time before His death. Matthew 24 records Jesus teaching and prophesying about coming events. Christ told His disciples that shortly the temple would be destroyed and not one stone would be left on top of another. His disciples were shocked and asked “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Christ then goes on to list many events and happenings in typical prophetic style. He references apocalyptic passages from the prophet Daniel, he warns that there will be many people claiming to be Christ the Messiah in these end times. Jesus echoes language from the Old Testament prophets that was used to describe the coming destruction of Judah by Babylon. Most importantly, Christ said “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” There is debate on exactly what Christ meant when He said “all these things,” but it is absolutely clear that at least some of the things He spoke of in the preceding passage would be fulfilled before the passing of that generation.

 One of the things that came to pass in the lifetime of those who heard what Christ said in Matthew 24 was the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD by the Romans. In light of the parable of the vineyard in Matthew 21, much of the rest of the passage also makes sense as a description of the destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus warned of false Christs being prevalent, and in the time leading up to 70 AD there were many Jewish zealots (such as Barabbas) in the Jewish rebellion who claimed to be the Messiah sent to save the Jews from Rome. These false Messiahs were in the same vein as Simon Bar Kokhba, a messiah claimant a few decades after the destruction of Jerusalem. They claimed to be anointed by God to overthrow the Romans. Jesus warned His followers of these false messiahs.

David Roberts, The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans 

It is also very important to note that Jesus echoes the Old Testament prophets of Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Jeremiah in his use of language in this passage. He speaks of wars, famines, pestilence, and earthquakes. These are all specific covenant curses and punishments found in Deuteronomy that would come to pass if the people of God rebelled against Him. The trinity of famine, sword, and pestilence were used as shorthand by the prophets in the Old Testament to signify the covenant judgment of God. This judgment of God was always brought by foreign armies destroying Judah. Babylon came to destroy Judah in the Old Testament, and God would send Rome to destroy the wicked tenants of the vineyard in 70 AD.

The use of language that seems to undo Creation is also important to note, and it is also found many times in the Old Testament prophets. The sun and moon will be darkened, the stars will fall from heaven, the order that God created He is now undoing. This was common language in the Old Testament prophets and was used to describe the undoing of God’s relationship with Judah because of their sins. The paradise of the promised land, the new Eden, was destroyed because of sin. This type of language is not talking about the physical destruction of the physical world. It instead signifies the destruction of the “old world” of Judah and their covenant with God, forever undone and cut off because they rejected the Christ.

The Revelation of St. John shares many similar themes as Christ’s teaching in Matthew 24 and they both describe the same events. Revelation is the only prophetic book of the New Testament, but that does not mean that it should be understood by itself. It must be read as any other prophetic book in the Bible.

Contrary to popular fiction and sensationalism, the prophetic books of the Bible were not primarily written to tell about things that will happen in the future. That is a very, very small part of prophecy. The primary role of a prophet is to proclaim the Word of God to the people of God. Prophecy is primarily ethical in nature, not predictive. Think back to when we discussed the punishment of Judah for idolatry. The prophet would lay out a case for the sin of Judah, declare the punishment at the hands of foreign nations, and promise restoration of they repented. The key to understanding the book of Revelation is to read it in the same way as you would read other prophets such as Ezekiel or Isaiah. This will also bring us to a right understanding of who we are, what the church is, and how the Jews relate to the church and the world.

Revelation is filled with the same covenantal language as is found in the other prophetic books and in the Pentateuch. The relationship between God and His people is portrayed as a marriage, and idolatry is portrayed as adultery. Famine, sword, and pestilence are used as shorthand for the covenant curses. The language of God’s judgment is phrased as an undoing of Creation, the destruction of the created order. The destruction and rebuilding of the temple is also a key element in the plot of the book. There are many others, but that should be sufficient to show the similarities.

Revelation was a final declaration of God’s judgment on the apostate Jews. Judah, who had once been the wife of God, is now a whore. John even tells us the name of the Whore of Babylon – Jerusalem, the city in which our Lord was crucified. The whorish people of Judah had forsaken their husband and fornicated with the Romans. They cried “No King but Caesar!” Yet, their illicit lover would ultimately destroy them and raze them to the ground (See Ezekiel 16 and 23 for a parallel). The temple, along with the entire “old world” of God’s relationship with Judah would be destroyed. The covenant curses would be unleashed on Jerusalem from the Heaven. Judah has been divorced by Jehovah. No longer are the Jews the people of God, for they are the synagogue of Satan. Like the devil himself, they sought to usurp the authority of Christ and to set themselves up as lords of God’s vineyard. Like in Ezekiel’s vision, God would come on the clouds bringing judgment against Judah, but this time instead of Babylon it would be the Romans who would serve as the rod of God’s wrath.

Just as the Old Testament prophets promised restoration after judgment, St. John does the same in Revelation. The Temple will be rebuilt. Jerusalem will be restored. The undoing of creation will be restored in the New Heavens and New Earth. However, there is a major difference. When St. John speaks of these things he isn’t promising that they will happen to Judah if they repent. Instead, this restoration of God’s people would happen and did happen by means of the Church. The Church is now the Temple of God. The Church is the New Jerusalem. The Church is the New Creation of Christ. The Son of David now rules the Kingdom of God, which includes our people.

Summary and Conclusion

Simply put, the Jews lost their position as part of God’s people after rejecting Christ. They were cut off and punished for the last time for their wickedness and idolatry when Rome destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD. Even after 70 AD, they still paid the price for their sins, as they continued to rebel against Rome and to set up false messiahs in the later Jewish Rebellions.

We don’t know for sure how ancestrally connected the modern Ashkenazi Jews are to the Jews of the first century. There seems to be some connection that has a bit of of admixture. They do, however, retain the same anti-Christ religion that chose self-rule by their religious elders over the rule of God and His Anointed, and they do take on the mantle of first century Judaism. Whether or not they are 1% or 100% descended from first century Jewry, they are heirs of the blood curse as long as they blaspheme Christ.

The promise of God to Judah and Benjamin in Jacob’s dying blessing has been kept by God. He did not recant His blessing. Jesus Christ, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, is King of Kings and bears the crown and scepter forever. The Jews have no claim to that promise.

The promise of God to Abraham to make his offspring a multitude of nations that will expand across and bless the whole earth has not been made void. Paul’s epistles make this clear in several places. The seed of Abraham would be restored in some meaningful sense. However, the Jews have no claim to this promise either. The birthright of the blessing of Abraham was given to Ephraim and Manasseh, not Judah or Benjamin.  Christ was the chief fulfillment of the blessing to Abraham, the seed of Abraham in whom all nations of the earth will be blessed. If there is, was, or will be a physical fulfillment of that blessing in the descendants of Abraham it is not through the Jews (Judah and Benjamin), but instead through the rest of the descendants of Israel (whoever, wherever, or whenever that may be).

As Christians in the Dissident Right, we need to have a balanced and biblical view of the Jews. They are the enemies of our Savior, and they are often our enemies as well. However, they are not some sort of literal demonic spawn of the Devil. They received the blessings of God in the past, yet in their wickedness they cast themselves into a state of curse and damnation. May God grant us grace to keep from such sin.

In closing, perhaps some or many of the Jews will repent in the future and save their individual souls, but one thing is clear. God has given us the blessings of His presence. God has given us His word and church. God has given us the promise of victory and salvation if we keep his law. WE are God’s people, and the future is ours, not theirs.

Keep the faith, and trust in our Lord.

-By Dixie Anon

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