What does the birth of Jesus, the British Election, and Anti-Semitism have to do with each other?
Boris Johnson has just been elected Prime Minister of Great Britain with a healthy majority. Pundits in the U.K. will now pour over the results, pontificating on the stunning defeat of the Labour Government under the Leadership of Jeremy Corbin. But one thing that will surely surface, is the clear Anti-Semitism that seemed rife in the British Labour Party. Thankfully, the British People soundly rejected that Anti-Semitic impulse.
And that brings me to Christmas. Revelation 12 begins with the depiction of a woman who is clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and a crown of 12 stars on her head. The woman clearly represents Israel. Israel (of Jacob) is the sun, his wives are the moon, and the 12 tribes are represented by the 12 stars. The woman is pregnant and about to give birth. This is apocalyptic language. The woman lives in expectation of the messiah, who might appear at any time. Revelation 12 is a wonderful Christmas passage.
But as the woman is ready to deliver the child, a great red dragon is seeking to devour the child the minute he is born. This is surely a depiction of Satan’s role in Herod’s attempt to murder the child Jesus.
But the child is caught up to God. That’s John’s way of saying that the child was rescued by the hand of God. But Satan’s inability to kill Jesus at birth gives rise to a great war in heaven. In consequence, Satan is thrown down from heaven and loses his place. I think John is referring to the book of Job. At one time, Satan had access to the throne of God. He was able to bring his accusations against God’s people. But following the victorious ministry of Jesus, his access to the throne room is now forever barred. Jesus is now our advocate before the Father, and the evil one is now unable to accuse us.
In consequence, the dragon of Revelation 12 is enraged. He now pursues the woman who gave birth to the child. Verse 17 says, “Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring.” Notice the distinction between the woman and the rest of her offspring. Israel has already given birth to the Messiah. But Israel also gives birth to the church. The last part of verse 17 calls the offspring of the woman, “those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” This then explains, both the hatred of Satan, for both Israel and for the church of Jesus.
And that brings me back to the British election. Of course, the Labour party in Britain is not the only place where we find strongly held Anti-Semitic feelings. We occasionally hear of this in Canada. Last April, the CBC chronicled the dramatic rise in Anti-Semitic incidents. Indeed, there has been a 16.5 percent rise in Anti-Semitic incidents over last year.
We who celebrate the birth of our Saviour at this time of the year need to remember more than that our Saviour was a Jew. We need to remember, that His coming has resulted in a vicious hatred against Jews, inspired by Satan. We need to tell our Jewish friends that we as Christians can be counted on to bless the people of Israel. We need to be thankful, for God has chosen them to give us our Savior.