I will not make a full end of thee.
The Miracle of the Survival of the Jewish Race
Friday, August 03, 2012
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This past week the Economist carried a special section on Judaism and the Jews entitled “Alive and well”. While the Economist is not known to be friendly to the Jews or to the State of Israel, it is notable that such a series of articles were put together to form a special report on the state of Judaism in the world. This is a testimony to the Bible in the news.
The lead article stated,
“Judaism is flourishing, both in Israel, where 43% of the world’s Jews now live, and throughout the Jewish diaspora. The Jews as a nation are flourishing too. Israelis, for all their problems, are the 14th-happiest people in the world, happier than the British or the French, according to a recent global happiness report commissioned by the UN. In the diaspora Jewish life has never been so free, so prosperous, so unthreatened.”
All of this comes after the concerted efforts of Nazism to eradicate the Jewish population of Europe. The article continued:
None of this could have been predicted just a few decades ago. Hitler had wiped out one-third of the Jewish people. A thousand years of Jewish civilisation in central and eastern Europe had been swept away. Fortunately for Jewish survival, the Nazis’ “final solution” had been preceded by a flurry of pogroms across the then-tsarist empire that started 60 years earlier, sending waves of mass Jewish emigration westward. By the time Hitler struck, some 6m Jews were safe in North and South America and in Britain, with 3m more living in the Soviet Union.
Traditional religious learning and observance had been on the defensive in central and eastern Europe for 150 years, since political emancipation in parts of the region opened the gates of ghettoes and tradition in the shtetls (small Jewish communities) was shaken up. Now the old life was annihilated, along with much of modern, liberal Jewish culture. The Sephardic communities of north Africa and the Levant, long a minority within Jewry, gained new numerical significance. Together with the pitifully few survivors of Nazi-occupied Europe, they became the core population of the new state of Israel.
The Economist carried a population map showing the dispersion of Jews throughout the world which also delineated the growth of the population of the Jews in Israel. What is interesting to note is that Israel’s Jewish population, 5,703,700 outnumbers the Jewish population in any other country including America. Israel, one of the smallest countries in the world, now carries the largest population of Jews anywhere in the world. From 1900 to 1948 there was a dramatic shift in Jewish population from a European centered critical mass to split between North America and Europe, with only a small population existing in Israel. Today there are really two major centers – Israel and North America, with only 739,800 residing in continental Europe and mere 276,500 remaining in the Ukraine and Russia.
These demographics illustrate the fulfillment of two major prophecies concerning the nation of Israel. First is the indestructability of the nation of Israel and second is the prophecy of the return of the Jews to the land. Both are captured in Jeremiah 30:10-11:
“Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; Neither be dismayed, O Israel: For, lo, I will save thee from afar, And thy seed from the land of their captivity; And Jacob shall return, And shall be in rest, and be quiet, And none shall make him afraid. For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: Though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, Yet will I not make a full end of thee: But I will correct thee in measure, And will not leave thee altogether unpunished.”
Here Jeremiah makes two clear prophetic statements – that God would bring the Jews back into the land and that he would preserve the nation. This is a miracle in itself. Take a look around at other nations who have been taken captive and scattered, or simply invaded and overrun. Where are the Inca’s or Mayas of South America? The archaeological remains of their cultures are popular tourist sites – but as for the people, they have assimilated into oblivion and their religion has ceased to exist. The Jews are a different story – because they are the people of the promises made to Abraham.
Ironically, this past week was also the fast of Tisha B’Av, which commemorates the destruction of the first Temple by the Babylonians, and the second temple by the Romans. When in Israel this past year, we walked past the stones which had been thrown of the Temple Mount by the Romans. This is testimony to the words of Jesus Christ when prophesying what would happen to Jerusalem in the Olivet prophecy found in Matthew 24:1-2:
And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
The dramatic fulfillment of these words is evidence to the truth of the Bible. However, the Olivet prophecy continues and further detail is gained from reading Luke’s account. He relates the end of the treading down of the city and the restoration of the people in Luke 21:20 and 24:
(v20) And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
(v24) And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
We live in a time when this prophecy is coming to fulfillment. The article by the Economist is an unwitting witness to it. The largest concentration of Jews anywhere on the planet is now in Israel, and the remaining Jews scattered throughout Europe are again seeing the rise of Anti-Semitism and looking to escape the age-old persecution. The same special feature reported the following:
“… anti-Semitism, vicious and irrational, is rising once more, especially in Europe (see chart 4). In Hungary it has become particularly virulent; Jews there fear for their physical safety. Anti-Semitism comes in neo-Nazi and hard-left varieties, and of late it has been embraced by Muslim groups too. Anti-Semites are usually anti-Israel; many oppose Israel’s very existence…
Moreover, Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is both anti-Israel and anti-Semitic, and a Holocaust denier to boot. His government is working hard to obtain the means to implement his threats to annihilate the Jewish state.
For the Israeli right, and for many Jewish communal leaders in the diaspora, an undifferentiated axis of evil extends from the Iranians to the Palestinians and on to anti-Semitic thugs on European streets.”
Many are escaping back to Israel and this is further testimony of the truth of the scripture and the fulfillment of prophecy all around us.
Of great concern is the lack of impact the miracle of Israel is having these days. The generation that witnessed the birth of Israel is gradually falling asleep in the Lord. The new generation have grown up with the “pillar of fire” miracle in front of their eyes all their lives. They have never known anything else. Yet the chart in the Economist displayed above shows that only 100 years ago the population of Jews in Israel was negligible. It is a miracle that has taken place during the lifetime of the Christadelphian community, as is evidenced by the word of John Thomas, writing in 1848:
There is, then, a partial and primary restoration of Jews before the manifestation, which is to serve as the nucleus, or basis, of future operations in the restoration of the rest of the tribes after he has appeared in the kingdom. The pre-adventual colonization of Palestine will be on purely political principles; and the Jewish colonists will return in unbelief of the Messiahship of Jesus, and of the truth as it is in him. They will emigrate thither as agriculturists and traders, in the hope of ultimately establishing their commonwealth, but more immediately of getting rich in silver and gold by commerce with India, and in cattle and goods by their industry at home under the efficient protection of the British power. (Elpis Israel p441-442).
Thomas anticipated the miracle we see in front of us today. With the passing of time, the miracle has lost its effect and has become simply an historical fact. For some, the media has tainted their understanding of what is going on today and they see only the pre-adventural nation in the land in unbelief of the Messiahship of Jesus, constituted on purely political principles and forget that a portion of this nation will form the nucleus of the kingdom upon the return of Christ after they have been purified as Malachi describes. Rather than seeing Israel as a miraculous fulfillment of bible prophecy, spiritual cataracts are forming and people are beginning to lose sight of the fact that this is the preparation for the kingdom of God over which Christ will rule. Have we forgotten, “This is the Lord’s doing and marvelous in our eyes.” (Psalm 118:23).
Our God is putting the building blocks for the kingdom of God on earth. The Psalmist tells us,
When the LORD shall build up Zion, He shall appear in his glory. (Psalm 102:16)
He has restored the land, the people, the capital city, the language, and now is beginning to revive a preliminary form of biblical faith in some of these people. This work will be completed by Elijah who will “turn the heart of the children to the fathers” (Mal 4:5-6) and by the “pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding” (Jer 3:15) once the partial and primary restoration has taken place.This is a great sign of the Lord’s return, spoken of by the Apostle Peter when he told the Jews in Jerusalem:
He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:20–21).
As we watch the Bible in the News we see one of the greatest miracles taking place, the result of a “more sure word of prophecy” of which we have been eyewitnesses of. We eagerly anticipate the Lord’s return, having been told that this is the time when he will return. May that day be soon. This has been Jonathan Bowen joining you.