Summary: God’s dealings with Israel provide us with an object lesson about sin, repentance, and responsibility.
Will Israel Repent?
[Note: I only got halfway through this sermon in 1/2 hour; I ended up doing this in 2 parts; the "second part" is found in the next sermon in my "Jerusalem Jews for Jesus" series].
1. Have you ever wondered why Jews have such hesitations about Christianity? Partly because the Jewish people have suffered much at the hands of supposed Christians.
2. Here are just a few examples.
315: Constantine published the Edict of Milan which extended religious tolerance to Christians. Jews lost many rights with this edict. They were no longer permitted to live in Jerusalem, or to proselytize.
325: The Council of Nicea decided to separate the celebration of Easter from the Jewish Passover. They stated: "For it is unbecoming beyond measure that on this holiest of festivals we should follow the customs of the Jews. Henceforth let us have nothing in common with this odious people...We ought not, therefore, to have anything in common with the Jews... "
337: Christian Emperor Constantius created a law which made the marriage of a Jewish man to a Christian punishable by death.
339: Converting to Judaism became a criminal offense.
379-395: Emperor Theodosius the Great permitted the destruction of synagogues if it served a religious purpose. Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire at this time.
380: The bishop of Milan was responsible for the burning of a synagogue; he referred to it as "an act pleasing to God."
415: The Bishop of Alexandria, St. Cyril, expelled the Jews from that Egyptian city.
415: St. Augustine wrote "The true image of the Hebrew is Judas Iscariot, who sells the Lord for silver. The Jew can never understand the Scriptures and forever will bear the guilt for the death of Jesus."
418: St. Jerome, who created the Vulgate translation of the Bible wrote of a synagogue: "If you call it a brothel, a den of vice, the Devil’s refuge, Satan’s fortress, a place to deprave the soul, an abyss of every conceivable disaster or whatever you will, you are still saying less than it deserves."
489 - 519: Christian mobs destroyed the synagogues in Antioch, Daphne (near Antioch) and Ravenna.
528: Emperor Justinian (527-564) passed the Justinian Code. It prohibited Jews from building synagogues, reading the Bible in Hebrew, assemble in public, celebrate Passover before Easter, and testify against Christians in court. 3
535: The "Synod of Claremont decreed that Jews could not hold public office or have authority over Christians." 3
538: The 3rd and 4th Councils of Orleans prohibited Jews from appearing in public during the Easter season. Canon XXX decreed that "From the Thursday before Easter for four days, Jews may not appear in the company of Christians."
613: Very serious persecution began in Spain. Jews were given the options of either leaving Spain or converting to Christianity. Jewish children over 6 years of age were taken from their parents and given a Christian education
722: Leo III outlawed Judaism. Jews were baptized against their will.