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CBN.com - In looking back upon the Jewish nation; the fact that it still exists today is a miracle in itself, for the Jews have been more persecuted than any race on the face of the earth. They have been conquered by seven different nations and yet survived each of these alien cultures. Any student of history will tell you that it is an impossibility for a people to retain their identity in the midst of a nation who demands that it be given up. Yet the Jewish people, through centuries of persecution and dispersion, have sustained their own identity.
Out of the four billion people living on our planet today, only fourteen million are Jewish. That is less than one-third of one percent of the total population. Yet although small in number, the Jews have made many significant contributions to the world.
In the last few years, twelve percent of the Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry and medicine have been won by Jews. In every field, Jews have excelled and great men have emerged: The great scientist, Einstein, was a Jew. Sigmund Freud, the man responsible for modern psychoanalysis and psychology, was Jewish. Spinoza was a Jew who took psychology into other realms of the spiritual aspect of man. In diplomacy, Henry Kissinger stands out. Phillip Roth, Saul Bellow and Leon Uris are well-known Jewish authors. The great songwriter, Irvin Berlin, was Jewish. Jack Benny, Al Jolson, George Burns, Milton Berle, Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen are well-known Jewish entertainers. Even the father of Communism -- Karl Marx -- was Jewish.
A few years ago while traveling through the Mideast, I saw the ruins of many civilizations that have come and gone, leaving behind rock, rubble and debris. Whereas the Jews have left behind many of the ideas that impregnate our society today. Here in the United States, as a result of the Hebrew philosophy of recognizing man's individual rights, we have inherited our democratic form of government and society.
Scripture traces the historical roots of the Jews to the seed planted by God in Abraham, the father of the nation.
From Abraham came two sons: Isaac and Ishmael. Scripture tells us that Ishmael was born after the flesh and Isaac was born after the Spirit; the son of promise. Ishmael was banished with his mother, Hagar, into the desert, where it was prophesied that he would become a wandering nation. Today, Ishmael's descendants are the Arabs.
The Jews emerged from Isaac, who fathered two contentious sons, Jacob and Esau; Esau sold his birthright and Jacob, the younger brother, inherited it. Out of the Isaac-Ishmael, Jacob-Esau relationships has come the intense conflict between the Arabs and Jews, that is at the heart of the present-day Mideast conflict.
Psalm 83:2-3 says,
"...For, behold, Thine enemies make an uproar; and those who hate Thee have exalted themselves. They make shrewd plans against Thy people, and conspire together against Thy people, and conspire together against Thy treasured ones."
In 1957, ten years before the Six-Day War, Abdul Nasser said, "We are going to drive the Jews into the sea and wipe them out as a nation." In that same year a war exploded in the Sinai. To the surprise of many, Israel won--within a few days. But again in 1967 Nasser said, "We are going to grind them into the ground. We are going to push them into the sea. We're going to wipe out Israel--no one will ever remember them again." Even in this Abdul Nasser was fulfilling Scripture:
"And they have said, 'Come and let us wipe them out as a nation. Let the name of Israel be remembered no more'" Psalm 83:4
This hatred is explained by Paul in Galatians 4:29:
"But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh (Ishmael--Arabs) persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit (Isaac--Jews), so it is now also."
Ezekiel 35:1-12 also prophesies:
"...Behold, I am against you, Mount Seir, and I will stretch out My hand against you, and I will make you a desolation and a waste."
Ezekiel is here referring to the Arab nations;
"I will lay waste your cities, and you will become a desolation. Then you will know that I am the Lord. Because you have had everlasting enmity and have delivered the sons of Israel to the power of the sword...therefore, as I live, declares the Lord God, I will give you over to bloodshed, and bloodshed will pursue you...I will deal with you according to your anger and according to your envy which you showed because of your hatred against them (Israel)...Then you will know that I, the Lord, have heard all your revilings which you have spoken against the mountains of Israel..."
Other scriptures state that the Arab nations will go down into the dust and will never again be known as a great nation. In some ways this has already come to pass. In traveling through many of the Arab countries, all that is visible to the eye is the barrenness of rocks and sand; land that is quite useless in growing anything. But as one travels into Israel, there in the arid desert, green plants are growing alongside cabbages, lettuce, and banana trees. It seems impossible, but the Bible says that out of this dry and thirsty land, God is going to bring forth rivers and bring fruitfulness to the land.
The Lord has also spoken in a very personal way concerning Israel, calling it His land. The prophet Hosea talks about this as the land of the Lord, and in Hebrews it is referred to as the land of promise. The Lord says that this land was given to Israel forever.
But 597 BC was the last time the Jews actually resided in Jerusalem. Since the time, Gentile nations have ruled Israel, and the city of Jerusalem (which means city of peace) has been torn by war, while Jews have been slaughtered inside its walls. This city has been desecrated and torn down many times, only to be raised up again.
In the period of time we are living in now, many prophecies predicting a final return of the Jews to Israel are being fulfilled. In Deuteronomy 4:27-31, the Lord talks about the dispersion and then the gathering together of the Jews. Speaking through Moses, God says:
"And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples and you shall be left few in number...But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul...For the Lord your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them."
Many Jews might think that God has forgotten them, but He hasn't.
In Isaiah 11:11-12 the Lord speaks: "Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover the second time with His hand the remnant of His people...and will assemble the banished ones of Israel, and will gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."
God is bringing His people from the four corners of the earth--He is gathering the dispersed.
Again in Jeremiah 24:6-7 the Lord speaks concerning the Jews:
"For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them again to this land; and I will build them up and not overthrow them, and I will plant them and not pluck them up."
A very dramatic event occurred in June of 1967, after the Jews won the Six-Day War. For the first time since 597 BC, they marched into Jerusalem and stood trembling before the Wailing Wall, a remnant of Solomon's temple still standing after thousands of years, and through tears of joy proclaimed, "This is our land; this is our city." The Jews are resigned to this--Israel is their land and they are not going to move. If they have to die for it they will. What more can be done to a people who have been slaughtered for thousands of years; what more can be done to a people after six million died in Hitler's gas chambers? They are determined to keep what they believe is rightfully theirs.
Although the Jews are returning to the Promised Land, peace remains far from them. Trouble, war and rumors of war continue to plague Israel, and will increase as Israel comes into a time of what Scripture calls "Jacob's troubles"--a time of bloodshed and persecution such as they have not yet known.
Jeremiah 30:5-11 says,
"For thus says the Lord, 'I have heard a sound of terror, of dread, and there is no peace...Alas! for the day is great, there is none like it; and it is the time of Jacob's distress, but he will be saved from it...And Jacob shall return, and shall be quiet and at ease, and no one shall make him afraid. For I am with you, 'declares the Lord, 'to save you; for I will destroy completely all the nations where I have scattered you, only I will not destroy you completely. But I will chasten you justly, and will by no means leave you unpunished.'"
In the midst of this time a counterfeit messiah will rise to prominence and attempt to deceive the Jews and the rest of the world.
But ultimately this false messiah will be overthrown by the Lord Himself, and all the nations of the earth will bow before the true Prince of Peace! Then there will be peace for Israel.
Isaiah 32:18 says,
"Then My people will live in a peaceful habitation, and in secure dwellings and in undisturbed resting places..."
And Isaiah 66:12 says, "For thus says the Lord, 'Behold, I extend peace to her like a river...'" The fact is, that peace cannot come to the nations of the world until it comes to Israel, to Jerusalem, when Jesus rules there. In light of this, it is important for God's people to support Israel and to, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: may they prosper who love you" (Psalm 122:6).
In the end, God's design for Israel will be fulfilled. Jerusalem will truly be a city of peace, and the Jews will live in prosperity in the land God promised to them thousands of years before.
"Ho, Zion!...he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye" (Zechariah 2:8).
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