Monday, February 3, 2014

Israel as Proof of God's Existence: Dispersion and Persecution

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

Since Atheists claim the book of Daniel is a fraud that was written long after it claims to be, and since they write off Jesus as either a mythical being or just a man whose disciples conjured up so-called prophecies about Him, let's consider some Bible prophecies that were written thousands of years ago that have been definitely fulfilled in the modern history of the Jewish people.

These are prophetic fulfillments that cannot be discarded. As one person has put it, they have the thumbprint of God on them.

Dispersion Worldwide

The first one I would point to is the dispersion of the Jewish people worldwide.

Thirty-four hundred years ago, as the Jewish people prepared to enter their Promised Land after their 40-year journey from Egypt, their leader, Moses, warned them to be faithful to God. He told them that if they were unfaithful, God would place curses upon them, and that if they refused to repent, His ultimate curse would be their expulsion from their homeland and their worldwide dispersion.

Deuteronomy 28:58-64

58) If you are not careful to observe all the words of this law which are written in this book, to fear this honored and awesome name, the LORD your God,

59) then the LORD will bring extraordinary plagues on you and your descendants, even severe and lasting plagues, and miserable and chronic sicknesses.

60) He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt of which you were afraid ...

63) It shall come about that ... you will be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it.

64) Moreover, the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone, which you or your fathers have not known.

In this Scripture passage we have a very precise prophecy with a known date.

Its fulfillment began in 70 AD when God allowed the Romans to destroy the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple because the Jews had rejected their Messiah, Yeshua of Nazareth. The dispersion of the Jews from their homeland was accelerated after the Second Jewish Revolt that lasted from 132 to 136 AD.

By the beginning of the 20th century, there were only 40,000 Jews left in the land of Israel. All the rest had been scattered throughout the world, with Jews existing on every continent. No group of people in all of history had been so widely dispersed.

And so we have a precise prophecy with a precise fulfillment.

The Persecution of the Jews

The second prophecy I would point to is one that said that after their dispersion, the Jews would be persecuted wherever they went. Let's return to Deuteronomy and pick up reading where we left off:

Deuteronomy 28:65-67

65) Among those nations [where the Jews will be scattered] you shall find no rest, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot; but there the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing of eyes, and despair of soul.

66) So your life shall hang in doubt before you; and you will be in dread night and day, and shall have no assurance of your life.

67) In the morning you shall say, "Would that it were evening!" And at evening you shall say, "Would that it were morning!" because of the dread of your heart which you dread, and for the sight of your eyes which you will see.

This is a graphic description of exactly what happened to the Jewish people after they were dispersed from their homeland. Everywhere they went, they were harassed, persecuted and targeted for annihilation — a process that climaxed with the Holocaust during World War II when 6 million Jews were exterminated.

Again, we have a precise prophecy with a precise fulfillment.

The Desolation of the Land

The third prophecy I would like to emphasize is one that stated that the Jewish homeland would become a desolation after the Jews were ejected from it. Let's return to Moses' words in Deuteronomy, looking this time at chapter 29:

Deuteronomy 29:22-27

22) Now the generation to come ... and the foreigner who comes from a distant land, when they see the plagues of the land and the diseases with which the LORD has afflicted it, will say,

23) "All its land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass grows in it, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah ... which the LORD overthrew in His anger and in His wrath."

24) All the nations will say, "Why has the LORD done thus to this land? Why this great outburst of anger?"

25) Then men will say, "Because they forsook the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt.

26) "They went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they have not known and whom He had not allotted to them.

27) "Therefore, the anger of the LORD burned against that land, to bring upon it every curse which is written in this book ...

Again, we find a very detailed and graphic prophecy that was spoken 1500 years before it began to be fulfilled when the Jews were forcefully expelled from their land, beginning in 70 AD.

By the beginning of the 20th Century the Jewish homeland was a complete desolation. Nearly all the trees had been cut down. Only 17,000 remained. All the previously cultivated valleys had become malaria-infested swamp lands.

Mark Twain, who visited the land in 1866, described it with these words in his book, Innocents Abroad:

"It is a blistering, naked, treeless land."

"Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, I think Palestine must be the prince. It is a hopeless, dreary, heart-broken land."

"Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes... It is desolate and unlovely."

Again, we have a precise prophecy with a precise fulfillment.

In the sixth segment of our study of how Israel proves the existence of God, we'll look at the fulfilled prophecies that concern Israel's miraculous preservation.

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