The scattering of the Jewish people from the Land of Israel throughout the nations of the world was a result of their disobedience to God’s law and their rejection of the Messiah. The first dispersion as mentioned in a prior article was the Assyrian and Babylonian captivity (721 and 586 B.C., respectively). The reason for this as unanimously witnessed by both the pre-exilic and exilic prophets was Israel’s gross idolatry and apostasy from the Lord (Jeremiah 7, 9; Isaiah 1-6; Ezekiel 8-11, et al.).
The second dispersion occurred for Israel rejection and mistreatment of the Messiah who came to redeem them and offer the Messianic kingdom (Luke 19:41-44). But in the beginning of their national history God foretold all these things would happen as a warning to the nation through Moses right before the people of Israel were to enter the Promised Land. In Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28-32 Israel’s covenantal obligations as the Chosen Nation of God are spelled out by the Lord.
The blessings that would accrue to their obedience are given and conversely the curses that would fall on them if they chose to walk contrary to the Lord and not obey him were clearly spelled out to the nation. A cursory reading of these pivotal chapters at once reveals a precise and accurate prophetic portrait of the history of the Jewish people that has been fulfilled to the letter for the last 3,500 years! “I will scatter you among the nations and draw out a sword after you” (Leviticus 26:33-39; Deuteronomy 28:64-67).
This scattering of Israel to all the Gentile nations of the world would serve as a sign for all to see God’s reproach and displeasure for their disobedience to Him. “And they shall be upon you for a sign and a wonder, and on your descendants forever” (Deut. 28:46).
Lest the reader think this too harsh, the Kiddush (the standard daily prayer book used by religious Jews in synagogues all over the world) offers the following penitential prayer: “Cause us to return with perfect repentance to Thy presence. Pardon and forgive all our iniquities. Blot out and remove our transgressions and sins from Thy sight. Nullify the evil of the sentence decreed against us.”
Now in our day with the recent partial restoration and regathering of the Jewish people back to Israel God is in the process of answering this very prayer. Throughout the long Diaspora God promised that He would preserve the Jewish people as a distinct people among the Gentile nations so that by and large they would not be assimilated or be expunged by them.
“For I am with you says the Lord, to save you. Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, and will not let you go altogether unpunished. Yet I will leave a remnant, so that you may have some who escape the sword among the nations, when you are scattered through the countries” (Jeremiah 30:11; Ezekiel 6:8).
The Assyrians, Babylonians, and the Romans all invaded Israel and conquered the Jews and subsequently led them captive away from the land to be scattered throughout the nations. After the dispersion of 70 A.D. the Jewish people were to live without a homeland for almost 2,000 years. All throughout that time they only survived in small numbers in isolated scattered communities. Their numbers greatly dwindled when they were hunted down and killed by the scores during the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Russian Pogroms, and the greatest of all numbers killed in the horrific Holocaust.
This is precisely why most Jewish people do not accept Jesus as the Messiah because those very people who claimed to follow Him instigated and carried out these violent campaigns and atrocities against the Chosen People. Sadly the tragic prophecy of Jesus in John 16:2 has been fulfilled in one way through the form of ‘Christian’ anti-Semitism when He foretold to His Jewish disciples: “The time is coming that whoever kills you will think he offers God’s service.”
The enemies of the Jews slanderously did so in the name of Jesus Christ—a sin the Christian church has all been too guilty of throughout the centuries. On this point Messianic Jewish author Barry Rubin explains what the Gentile name “Jesus Christ” means to the average Jew. “To a Jewish person, Christ conducted the Crusades, invoked the Inquisition, and prompted persecution of Jews over the last twenty centuries.
To a Jewish person, Christ is the first part of the term used by those who accuse Jews of deicide: “Christ-killers” (You Bring the Bagels, I’ll Bring the Gospel, p. 94). This brings us to our next point that we will take up in the next issue: Universal Anti-Semitism as one of the signs of the end-times and for the return of Jesus the Messiah.
Thus far, we have looked at prophecies dealing with Israel’s history up to the nation’s worldwide dispersion in unbelief. The whole history of the Jewish people was foretold beforehand to them through Moses, the prophets, and the Messiah Jesus of Nazareth. While in that dispersed state, the Jewish people would be without land, kingly ruler, free from the idolatry of the past, and wandering from place to place throughout the nations of the world. This last condition aforementioned was popularized in Europe by the pejorative term “the wandering Jew” in the thirteenth century.
The ugly and brutal fact of Anti-Semitism is a darker side of Jewish history, and along with the doctrine of hell is one of the most somber and grave subjects of Bible prophecy. Nevertheless, the God of Israel did indeed predict from the outset of their national history that the Jewish people would be hated, harmed, and persecuted by the Gentile nations of the world during the long period of the Diaspora.
Deuteronomy 28:15-68 outlines this terrible time. A simple comparison between this passage of Scripture and the history of the Jewish people for the last two thousand years will unquestionably verify these prophecies have been fulfilled as exactly foretold and that the Bible is indeed inspired by the omniscient God who foretells history before it comes to pass. What we have described and predicted in the above passage in Deuteronomy and other related passages found throughout Scripture is the prediction of the rise of anti-Semitism.
The term anti-Semitism was coined by Wilhelm Marr in 1878 who himself was a virulent anti-Semite. Anti-Semitism simply defined is the racial and religious hatred of the Jewish people. The ugly phenomenon of Anti-Semitism began the moment God chose Abraham to father a new people through which the redeemer of the world would come and was the response of Satan himself to destroy the means by which in the “seed of the woman ”he would meet his final end and defeat (Genesis 3:15).
The devil’s simple strategy was thus: “Destroy the Jewish people and there will be no Savior to defeat me.” After the first advent, his strategy is still in place as he has sought throughout the centuries following Christ to do the same so that this same Messiah will not come back to a restored Israel and fulfill those promises made to Israel that still await fulfillment at the Second Advent. Furthermore, God made a promise and oath in Jeremiah 31:35-37 that the Jewish people would continue as a nation in perpetuity—that is, forever.
Satan’s strategy for creating the inimical reality of anti-Semitism is nothing less than the complete annihilation and obliteration of the Jewish people so that this divine eternal promise of their permanent existence as the distinct chosen nation are nullified and God’s integrity and Word are proven unreliable, false, and wrong. Indeed, when Yahweh chose Israel as the human channel for the Savior to come into the world and redeem humanity from sin and death, Satan targeted and chose them also for destruction knowing that they would be God’s instrumental means by which he was to suffer ultimate defeat.
Revelation 12 uses symbolic images of a woman clothed with the son (Israel) and the fiery red dragon (Satan) to prophetically narrate the conflict between Satan has with Israel and how it will come to a head in the future seven-year Tribulation period. Scripture explains that the ultimate cause and origin for anti-Semitism is supernatural and found in the perfidious design and person of Satan.
Men like Haman, Hitler, and Pharaoh are human pawns to carry out “the final solution” against the Jewish people. But in the end, all people who attempt to harm and destroy the Chosen People, God will curse and overthrow with damnation in the end according to the solemn and eternal oath He swore to Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, in Genesis 12:3; “I will curse those who curse you.”
In spite of all the terrible atrocities the Jewish people have suffered for the last 2,000 years, the God of Israel has kept them distinct and preserved as a separate people (for a chronological listing of Anti-Semitism attitudes and practices from 70 A.D. to 1970, see the book The Causes and Effects of Anti-Semitism by Paul E. Grosser and Edwin G. Halperin). One with a discerning mind can even see the subtle side of anti-Semitism by the condescending and accusatory manner in which Modern Israel is constantly spoken of by the news media (which in itself is a considerable subject to document and rightly comment upon; but presently, our study will stay within the perimeters of the Scripture and those Bible prophecies dealing with the Jewish people).
God foretold that during the long period of dispersion, the Jewish people would have no rest from the Gentile nations. They would be maligned, persecuted, and killed in large numbers wherever they sojourned due to the pervasive and perennial presence of anti-Semitism (see the prophecy of Leviticus 26:36-39). But in spite of this, the Lord has triumphantly preserved them and brought them back to their ancient homeland against all adverse odds.
History has indisputably confirmed the aforementioned prophecy given some 3,400 years ago true and fulfilled in the history of the Jewish people, so much so that the summative observation from Paul Grosser and Edwin Halperin definitely applies here and underscores what God foretold would be their condition in the Diaspora:
“No people in history has been hated, maligned and persecuted so continuously and systematically as the Jews. In light of the history of anti-Semitism, the continued survival of the Jews and Judaism is a major historical triumph…. The continuity and persistence of anti-Semitism over the past nineteen centuries indicated that it is an integral part of Western culture. It has existed in slave, feudal, capitalist and socialist economic systems.
It has existed in monarchies, aristocracies, theocracies, democracies, dictatorships, police states, and authoritarian and totalitarian regimes. It has existed in religious, secular, and atheistic societies. It has existed in rural and urban populations, in small towns and suburbs. It has existed even in places where there were no Jews. No matter what the Jews did, there has been no sure escape (The Causes and Effects of Anti-Semitism, pp. 339, 353).”
The Lord Jesus predicted that one of the signs indicating the end of this inter-advent age (i.e., the present time between the first and Second Advent of Jesus Christ) would be the universal hatred of the Jewish people by the Gentile nations on account of Him. “You shall be hated of all nations for My name’s sake” (Matthew 24:9). World-wide anti-Semitism is thus a sign for Israel and the world that we are living near the period of the Messiah’s return as foretold by Jesus almost 2,000 years ago in Matthew 24.