While there are many people groups that have left their original areas of origin and have been disbursed all over the world, the Jews are unique in that they steadfastly maintained their traditions and religious culture during their dispersion. While living among other, sometimes radically different cultures, they, first and foremost, were Jews. The dispersal of the Jews was for the most part not voluntary, they were mainly exiles fleeing persecution.Click on the map to see just how widespread the Jews were dispersed.
There have been a score of historical attempts to systematically exterminate the Jews, six million during WWII alone and even today, there are calls (from Iran and others) to annihilate them. Even the United States, which has a history of helping protect the Jews, has distanced itself from Israel, (the only true democracy in the whole mid-east), while at the same time, making friendly overtures and providing weapons and money to Israel's enemies, the latest being a "Nuclear Deal" which virtually assures that Iran will have nuclear weapons to use in its stated goal of Israel's annihilation.
They, (the Jews,) seem to be universally hated even now in this "enlightened age." What is it that people hate about the Jews? Their industry, their great discoveries that have benefited mankind like polio vaccine? Their comedians and actors that have entertained for generations? For them being the only real democracy in the Middle East? For which of these "sins" do they suffer so, not even finding peace in their own country? Oh, they are the "Christ-killers" and they "control everything" including the news media. I find these tired so-called reasons for hatred false, tiring, and lame.
On the charge of the Jews being "Christ-killers," to anyone who has ever taken the time to actually read the Bible, it becomes clear that Jesus was on a mission foretold in the Bible, which to complete, He had to to be executed.
In the Book of Isaiah, God clearly spells out what He is going to do. This section of the Torah is generally forbidden for reading and studying. Most students of the Torah have never seen these explosive scriptures.
(hover) Isaiah 52:13-15 is where it starts. Powerful words,
God's prudent and exalted Servant that startles the nations has His visage severely marred.
God's Servant gets more amazing in the next chapter, Isaiah 53, there are more details that help Identify the Messiah and understand His mission.
Why would God do this?
To achieve Perfect Justice and Perfect Mercy.
God is perfectly sinless and completely righteous. Sinful man is disqualified to have fellowship with Him. In fact, it is worse than than that because God is perfect in judgment, all sin has to be, and will be punished. If we got what we deserve, we would all be eternally separated from Him now.
Although it seems like a
catch22, a problem with no solution, our Creator has done something truly amazing, He sent His only Son, Jesus, to be born like us, and He, (unlike us,) lived a perfect sinless life to be qualified, to be the one who would suffer and die for our sins, instead of us. In John 1:29, John the Baptist announced Jesus as the
Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
Don't Miss this Important Connection:
- The Lamb of God -
"Just what is this
Lamb of God that John the Baptist was referring to? Way back in the story of Abraham's near-sacrifice of his son Isaac, Isaac says to Abraham:
Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, "My son, God will provide for Himself, the lamb for a burnt offering." Even more interesting, is that the animal that God provided for Abraham's sacrifice, was not a lamb, it was a ram. God would provide "The Lamb," His Lamb, at a later date.
Our part in all of this, the part that qualifies us to be basically adopted into God's family, is for us to believe, (trust) in Jesus, The Son, who's life was given, to save us.
This means that God did all the "heavy lifting" to save us. So, knowing this, how do we feel toward our Creator, the Giver of Life? We should love Him and get to know Him through studying His Word (the Bible,) and willingly strive to live a life that pleases Him.
In 1923, Lloyd George observed: "Of all the extreme fanaticism that plays havoc in man's nature, there is none as irrational as Antisemitism. The Jews cannot vindicate themselves in the eyes of these fanatics. If the Jews are rich, they are victims of theft and extortion. If they are poor, they are victims of ridicule. If they take sides in a war, it is because they wish to gain advantage from the spilling of non-Jewish blood. If they espouse peace, it is because they are scared and anxious by nature or traitors to their country. If the Jew dwells in a foreign land he is persecuted and expelled. If he wishes to return to his own land, he is prevented from doing so."
Over the millennia, Jews everywhere have longed for one thing, to just be left alone in peace to worship as they saw fit, and just live their lives like everyone else. But instead of peace, they were harassed and attacked in their villages and neighborhoods, their longing even now remains unfulfilled as they are attacked and harassed even in their own country.
With most all the Jews banished to other lands, what used to be the land of Israel became a wasteland of swamps and dry unproductive land.
Mark Twain describes how Palestine looked in 1867
On Palestine " ...[a] desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds-a silent mournful expanse....A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action....We never saw a human being on the whole route....There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of the worthless soil, had almost deserted the country." - 1867 (Quoted in Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad. London: 1881)
Biblical prophetic scripture foretold that the Jews would be regathered as a nation again in a specific place: "the mountains of Israel." Ezekiel 37:21-22. The prophet Isaiah (700 BC) alludes to Israel being born in a day. Isaiah 66:7-8.
So, birthed out of the pain of the Holocaust, on May 14, 1948, the Nation of Israel was born-again.
WAR! Israel was immediately attacked by the surrounding nations but against all odds, they hung on. Since then, there has been a lot of wars and continual harassing actions from Israel's enemies.
Some of the Wars of Israel
Israel's Battlefield Miracles
The Jews have proven themselves to be very prosperous and innovative people. This is shown by how out of proportion their number of Nobel Prize winners are, compared to other people groups.
In Chemistry (31 prize
winners, 20% of world total.
In Economics (27 prize
winners, 42% of world total.
In Literature (13 prize
winners, 12% of world total.
In Peace (9 prize winners,
9% of world total.
In Physics (47 prize winners, 25% of world total.
Jonas Edward Salk developed the 1st Polio vaccine.
Albert Einstein - Probably the most influential scientist of all time.
Edward Teller - Father of the Atomic Bomb
Billy Crystal, Bob Dylan, Richard Dreyfuss, Jerry Seinfeld, Harrison Ford, Art Garfunkel; Goldie Hawn, Madeline Kahn, Mel Brooks, Bette Midler, Gilda Radner, Paul Simon, Barbra Streisand, Woody Allen, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, Gene Wilder, Lauren Bacall, Rodney Dangerfield, Peter Falk, Steven Spielberg, Carrie Fisher, Buddy Hackett, Harvey Korman, Jack Klugman, Jerry Lewis, Walter Matthau, Carl Feiner, Don Rickles, Jerry Stiller, Dutin Hoffman, Rachael Weisz.
These names, several of which are highly recognizable as entertainment stars, producers and comedians, are all Jewish. This list is just a small sample of a much larger list here.
These are just American Jewish entertainers, there are hundreds others world-wide. I would find it impossible to name a people group that has done more in the field of entertainment, than the Jewish people.
"If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one quarter of one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine and abstruse learning are also very out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world in all ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself and be excused for it. The Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Persians rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greeks and Romans followed and made a vast noise, and they were gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, and have vanished. The Jew saw them all, survived them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities, of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert but aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jews; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?" September 1897 (Quoted in The National Jewish Post & Observer, June 6, 1984)
"The Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations."
"Some people like the Jews, and some do not. But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and most remarkable race which has appeared in the world."
The rest of the above scripture tells why God choose them:
Deuteronomy 7:7-11 "The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for, you were the least of all peoples; but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Therefore, know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments."
With great privilege comes great responsibility, and the sons and daughters of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were indeed privileged to be chosen by God as His special people. As a newly singled out ethnic group, they witnessed, up close and personal, example after example of God's supernatural works, His presence, provision, and protection. They saw the plagues of Egypt and the salvation provided by the lambs blood on their door frames. They saw the sea open up and heard God's voice coming from the mountain. Yet, even with all these demonstrations of God's power on their behalf, they, the Jews, just couldn't fully trust God, let alone love Him. Their contempt for God got so bad at one point, that God felt like wiping them out, but, in Moses, God saw a favorable spark of hope and despite the failures of national Israel, God did not disown them.
God had made it crystal clear, that if they obeyed the laws and commandants He prescribed, things would go well for them and if they didn't, there would be extreme difficulties.
Do you consider the Jews to be God's chosen people? If so, Why?
While evil mankind cannot strike God directly, they go after His Chosen People and the Christians that represent Him, as we have seen in recent mass shootings where Christians were singled out for murder.
The evil motivation I speak about above, is spiritual in nature; operating in a persons conscience. While we like to think that our conscience keeps us from trouble, conversely, the lure and temptation of evil is active in the same realm of our minds. Perhaps you struggle with there being a spiritual side of things. If so, I suggest that you read this book: The Beautiful Side of Evil. It is an "eye-opener."
Consider this glimpse behind the curtain - Think about how the words Jesus and God, are used as common curse words. But, have you ever heard Buddha, Mohammad, or Joseph Smith used as curse words? Why not? Because, the influencing spirit behind this, is not interested in slandering them.
While most of mankind seem to have a problem with the Jews, God doesn't. You see, God has a history of accepting and using the rejects of this world, for the purpose of revealing Himself to mankind (1 Co 1:26-29). Certainly, anyone that appreciates the Bible should appreciate the Jews, because it was those faithful Jewish scribes, who hand copied the scriptures for hundreds of years before the printing press was invented. Those scribes, being aware that they were copying Holy words, were masters of systems of checks and balances, to confirm that the scriptures were copied accurately.
A Bias Self-Check - How do you personally feel about the Jews? It seems to me that there is a correlation between a person's feelings toward the Jews, and their feelings about the God of the Bible. Perhaps a self-check in this vain would would useful in revealing whether or not, one has a deep set, hidden bias against God, the people of God, and the Bible. A strong bias against God, would result in the investigator searching and clinging more to the negative evidence, instead of giving the positive evidence the serious and equal consideration it deserves.
It is fascinating to me how the "People of the Book" are
unique in so many ways, almost as unique as the redemption that the God
of the Bible offers freely to anyone that will listen.
This was just a light look that these unusual and controversial people, in the next part, we look at the overall message of the Bible. In other words, if the Bible is God's Word, what is He trying to tell us and why?