The Jews have been persecuted for many hundreds of years by all the nations amongst whom they have found themselves. Hitler’s persecution and murder of six million Jews is an outstanding example of this in recent times.
GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE
At first sight this persecution seems particularly odd since God has declared that they are his chosen people. This is what he said:
”… the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the whole earth” (Deuteronomy 7:6).
However, the reason for their past and present persecution is to be found in the fact that they are God’s chosen people.
THE LAW OF GOD
God gave them a law which he expected them to keep. This was an arrangement with which the Jews readily agreed for they said:
“All that the Lord hath said will we do and be obedient” (Exodus 24:3, 7)
The Jews were also informed of the sort of future they could expect firstly, if they were obedient and secondly, if they were disobedient. Deuteronomy 28, in particular, deals with the prospect before them resulting from their future behaviour before God. The first part of the chapter deals with the good things they could expect if they served God faithfully, but the remainder of the chapter, which is the largest part of it, contained a warning of the things that would come upon them if they were disobedient.
In retrospect we can see why the largest part of the chapter should have been devoted to the judgements of God upon his people, because he knows the end from the beginning and knew what they would later do. The words recorded in the latter part of this chapter have come to pass in remarkable detail. It is in the fact that they have happened at all, and particularly that they have happened with such accuracy, that witnesses to the very existence of God and the absolute reliability of his word. If they had been obedient they would just as surely have been blessed.
THE JUDGEMENTS OF GOD AGAINST HIS PEOPLE
In this 28th chapter of Deuteronomy, the Jews are informed that, if they disobeyed God’s law, they would be smitten with all manner of plagues (verses 21-22). They were also told of a number of nations who would come against them, before whom they would be powerless to stand (verse 25). From verse 49 onwards, we read of a particular nation which was to come against the Jews and cause them dreadful suffering. This we can read of in verses 52-57. It speaks in graphic detail of the awful privations the Jews were to suffer in the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD70. These resulted from the length of the siege and the completeness of it. In some cases the women actually ate their own children because of the shortage of food. This was prophesied about 2000 years before it happened, and the accuracy of it is attested to by the historians of the first century.
The prophecy goes on to speak of the Jews being scattered amongst all nations (verse 64), and tells of their state of mind because of the way in which they were to suffer at the hand of those among whom they found themselves (verses 65-67). Again, secular history bears record to the way the Jews have been the scapegoat for many of the world’s ills all down the ages, which shows how accurate the Bible is and how well the Jews are witnesses to the truth of God’s word!
THE JEWS SCATTERED
There are other prophecies concerning the Jews which speak of them being taken from their land and scattered among all nations. The 9th chapter of the prophecy of Jeremiah is an example of this. In verse 16 he wrote the following:
“I will scatter them also among the heathen (or nations) whom neither they nor their fathers have known”
All these things have come upon the Jews as a witness to the existence and the power of God. Indeed, the very fact that they are still in existence after all these years of persecution is proof in itself that God is in control.
THE JEWS TO BE REGATHERED
Although God has determined to bring all these things upon his people, he yet intends to save them ultimately and bring them back to their own land. The prophet Ezekiel wrote of this in these words:
“Thus saith the Lord God; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel” (Ezekiel 11:17)
The regathering of the Jews is another subject (see our booklets nos. 12 and 15). However, there are now Jews again in the land of Israel, an event, the Bible tells us, which heralds the return of Jesus Christ to the earth. His return will bring about drastic changes on the earth and great blessings for those who serve God faithfully.