May 3, 2008

The Miracle of the Survival of the Jewish People

By Grant Jeffrey

Centuries ago an agnostic king of France was discussing philosophy and religion with his royal court counselor. After numerous arguments were presented by the Christian advisor in favor of the position that God had revealed Himself in the Holy Scriptures, the king finally demanded that his counselor prove to him that God existed in an argument using only two words. The counselor replied, "The Jews!" In those two words the counselor summed up one of the most miraculous demonstrations of God's supernatural intervention in human history. The survival and prospering of the Jewish people during thousands of years of brutal persecution, pogroms, and the tragedy of six million Jews massacred in Hitler's Holocaust is a mysterious miracle unparalleled in history.

Each of the mighty empires of the past - Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, and Rome - who conquered Israel and carried her Jewish citizens into slavery have themselves turned to dust.

Yet the Jewish people, the least among the ancient nations of the Middle East, have survived throughout centuries, despite the overwhelming persecution and opposition against them. No other people in history have ever lost their national homeland for thousands of years, survived dispersion in more than 70 different nations for 20 centuries, and then returned to their ancient homeland and rebuilt it.

What other nation lost its national language for 20 centuries, only to recover it and teach its ancient language to millions of its returning exiles? The Bible's declaration that God made an eternal, unbreakable covenant with the Jews, through their father Abraham, has remained the guiding principle and focus of the Jewish people's survival against overwhelming odds for the last 3,500 years. God's covenant with Israel was the motivating force behind the Jews remarkable survival as a distinct people, even when surrounded by Gentile cultures.

In addition to the miracle of Israel's survival in a cruel world, we must add the remarkable history of the astonishing Jewish contribution to the arts, philosophy, writing, science, and medicine. According to the writer Max I. Dimont, although less than one half of one per cent of the world's population are classified as Jews, "no less than 12 per cent of all the Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry, and medicine have gone to Jews. The Jewish contribution to the world's list of great names in religion, science, literature, music, finance, and philosophy is staggering" (Max I. Dimont, Jews, God and History , New American Library, 1962. ).

However, the greatest Jewish influences on the history of mankind came from the lives, teachings, and actions of two Jews - Moses and Yeshua of Nazareth.

The Scriptures are a special revelation given to a distinct people, the Jews, who were chosen by God to be both the guardians of this precious treasure and the sharers of this divine revelation with the rest of humanity.

However, the Jewish people, by and large, chose to hold this revelation as their national possession. With very few exceptions, such as the prophet Jonah's reluctant mission of prophetic warning to the Assyrian capital of Nineveh, the Jews generally didn't preach the revealed message of God to the Gentile nations.

The Scriptures contain a written revelation of God's plan to redeem all who repent that was ultimately consummated in the unique person, life, and message of Yeshua the Messiah. Despite the fact that the Jewish race has never constituted more than a small fraction of 1 per cent of the world's population, the profound religious influence of the Jewish people upon the rest of mankind over the last 4,000 years is incalculable.

Today, almost one third of the six billion humans throughout the planet acknowledge that God revealed Himself in an astonishing and unique way to the prophets and patriarchs of the ancient Jews.

Almost two billion people, including Jews, Muslims, and Christians, have accepted that portions of the Jewish Bible are a sure guide through time to eternity. And today the Lord is raising up thousands upon thousands Jewish people who acknowledge that Yeshua is the promised Messiah.