In my post on “Anti-Christian Bigotry,” I criticize David Turner’s and William Nicholls’ psychological evaluation of Christians. I thought of an image earlier in the week that plays the same game in reverse, though it is a far more reflective of reality.
Imagine a vain queen consort. This woman has many lovely qualities, and she could offer her inestimable talents to her king and to her kingdom in countless ways. However, her chief role as queen consort is to give birth to an heir. As a woman in the most important womanly task, she has an opportunity to manifest the special splendor of her sex—that of the deflection of importance from herself to her child. It is the mysterious glory and beauty of woman. Needless to say, many daughters of Eve fall short of this excellence, including our hypothetical queen consort.
Instead of finding honor in her role to give birth to someone that she loves more than herself—to someone that means more to the kingdom than herself—our queen thinks such painful and repugnant. She dwells on her many superior qualities and curses the fate that her special duty is that of a breeder. She will not rule in her own name. Knees will not bow and tongues will not confess because of her. She is but a handmaiden—a royal and treasured handmaiden—but a handmaiden, nonetheless, in that she must serve another. Instead of finding fulfillment in nursing, she begrudges her babe his destiny. She will fade in the tower while the infant whom she suckles grows up to reign. Even though she could continue to assist her family and her people in a multitude of ways, her most important act has been accomplished, and she dreads a life of waning importance. She is a miserable and spiteful queen.
In many ways, I think that Jews—as an ethne—are a consort queen. The Jewish ethne, being biological children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has the most important role in the history of nations. For the Hebrews were to give birth to the Messiah, and it is from the Jewish ethne that the Church would arise. The New Israel grew from the seedbed of the original Israel. There is no greater honor for a people as a people.
However, most of the Hebrews rejected God’s plan. I do not think that most did so in the manner of the vain queen. Rather, it is likely that most rejected—and still reject—the gospel for religious reasons. Jesus defies the expectations of most Jews, and the newness and strangeness of his message must strike most of them as heretical and blasphemous. If he is not indeed the Son of God, then he was a terrible heresiarch—indeed, the panheresiarch—the greatest wolf in world history, who has stolen so many sheep. If he is the Messiah, however, then God’s plans did not accord with the hopes and desires of most of his ancient followers. That sounds perennially familiar. Yet, I believe that rabbinical Judaism developed separately from Christianity mostly for theological reasons.
Nonetheless, I suspect that the ethnic vanity of Jews has provided a continual stumbling block for them that impedes their acceptance of the gospel. When I talk to rabbinical Jews or read their frank “ecumenical” words, I sense the spite and resentment of the vain queen. Some of the Hebrews were not content to acknowledge their ethnic role in God’s history as a historical step toward a God’s universal adoption of mankind. What do the chosen people have to do with the filthy nations? One can see the same attitude over and over again. It is a pity. The vain queen has much to give, and she would be praised and valued for such contributions.