Which is easier, to predict the future or record the past? Most of us would say it’s easier to write history. Anyone can gather a few books, old newspapers or research on the internet and then write a fairly accurate history of the Viet Nam War or Desert Storm, or the Stock Market Crash and Depression in the 1930’s. Or if we have enough time, we can write a history of an entire nation, like Britain or France, and do it with some confidence of accuracy on the main points. And besides, if we are wrong or disagree on some issues where history isn’t clear, it’s impossible to go back and prove us wrong.
In predicting the future however, it’s all too clear when what we predict doesn’t come to pass. Predicting the future is a much more difficult task and one that quickly falls into the realm of impossibility for long range events. Nations come and go. Entire peoples have disappeared off the map, their languages forgotten and their cities buried in dust. The Hittite people, talked about in the bible were a powerful nation in the ancient Middle-East, but disappeared with so little trace that the secular historians said they never existed. However due to the persistent digging of the anthropologists, they were re-discovered and the Scriptures were vindicated. Like so many other once dominate nations, they met with sudden disaster, or just slowly faded away into oblivion.
Rome and Greece came and went, Egypt’s glory faded along with mighty Babylon, Persia and a host of other smaller nations. One nation, though, has persisted with remarkable tenacity, that of the Israeli or Jewish people. They have survived even after being cast out of the land two times, the last time for almost two thousand years of exile. During this time of exile and wandering the Jewish people were persecuted to the point of becoming a byword for reproach and oppression. Yet despite this, and though they are one of the most ancient of the nations, having coexisted with ancient Egypt and Babylon, this nation has survived and even thrived, with language and religious identity intact.
Mark Twain, (Samuel Clemens) was no friend of the Bible or Judeo/Christian beliefs, yet he was moved to say this in testimony of the Jewish People;
“He could be vain of himself and not be ashamed of it. Yes, he could be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream stuff and passed away. The Greek and Roman followed and made a vast noise. They are gone. Other peoples have sprung up and held the torch high for a time, but it burned out and they sit in twilight or have vanished. The Jew saw them all and beat them all and now is what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmity of age, no weakening of parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert, aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew. All other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?” (Samuel Clemens, (Mark Twain) Harpers Magazine 1899)
The Jewish People. The people of the Book, Gods chosen people. Remember Him? The God of the Bible, who along with giving us a history of the ancient world from Adam and Eve to the coming of the Messiah, also gave us prophecies of the future of the Jewish people up to the end of time. There are a staggering number of prophecies over the Jewish Nation and the Messiah, but we’ll just look at a few major ones in brief. We’ll look at around eight clearly defined specific prophecies;
1) They would become a great nation
2) They would be a blessing to the nations
3) They would be scattered throughout all the nations
4) They would be persecuted wherever they went
5) Despite the continual persecution, they would be maintained and keep their identity
6) They would be gathered back into their own land
7) A religious leader would rise from among them that the gentiles would turn to
8) While other nations would come and go, the Jewish people will never cease to exist
1) They would become a great nation and the world would be blessed by them.
In Genesis 12: 1-3, God tells Abram that He would make him a great nation and would bless him. He also said, “I will bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
That God has blessed all the nations through the Jewish is probably referring foremost to the coming Messiah and Scriptures; however it shouldn’t be lost on anyone that more Nobel prizes for medicine have been awarded to Jews than to all other ethnic groups combined. And that is only a small part of the contribution they have made to mankind in general. As far as the cursing goes, have you met any Moabites or Philistines, or Edomites or Ammonites etc, etc? No. All these nations were among those that cursed Israel and they have all gone to the graveyard of the nations. So in this prophecy alone there are actually at least 3 or 4 fulfilled prophecies, and they were all made before Abram had even had a son.
2) They would be scattered into all the nations of the world and be persecuted, but be preserved and regathered in time.
Deuteronomy 28:64-67, “Then the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other…and among those people you will have no rest…your life shall hang in doubt before you…and in the morning you will say, ‘Oh, that it was night, and in the evening you will say, ‘Oh, that it were morning, because of the fear that terrifies your heart.”
And, Deuteronomy 30:1-3, “Now it shall come to pass when all these things come upon you…the LORD your God will…gather you again from all the nations where the LORD your god has scattered you.
This happened once in 586 BC and they were regathered in 536-7 after 70 years, and again they were scattered after Titus destroyed the temple in 70 AD. In 1948, just a few short years after the horrors of the Holocaust, 1900 years after the Roman destruction and despite tremendous opposition, a new Jewish Nation was formed in their homeland and millions of Jews from all parts of the earth have returned there. These particular prophecies were made before they had even entered into their land for the first time.
3) The Jewish people will never cease to exist or cease from being a people. God will make an everlasting covenant with them to plant them in their land and prosper them there.
Jeremiah 31: 35-37, “Thus say the LORD, that gives the sun for light by day and the ordinances of the moon and stars for a light by night…if those ordinances depart from before me, says the LORD, then shall the seed of Israel cease from being a nation before me forever. If Heaven can be measured and the foundations of the earth searched out, then I will also cast out Israel for all they have done.”
Jeremiah 32: 37-41
“Behold I will gather them out of all the countries where I have driven them in my great anger…and I will bring them back to this place and cause them to dwell safely. They shall be my people and I shall be their God and I will give them one heart that they may fear me forever…and I will make an everlasting covenant with them and not turn away from doing them good but will put my fear in their hearts so they will not depart from me.., I will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and all my soul.”
That’s what He said, and the idea is repeated but I think this is sufficient.
4) A religious leader would arise from the Jews whom the Gentiles of the world would turn to.
Genesis 49:10, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah…until Shilo comes, and unto him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”
Isaiah 11:10, “‘And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse who shall stand as a banner to the people, to Him shall the Gentiles seek…”
Speaking of the Messiahs ministry in Galilee and beyond it said in Isaiah 9: 1,3, “…by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, in Galilee of the gentiles, the people who walked in darkness saw a great light, those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.”
Certainly it cannot be denied that millions of people and generations of rank pagans have turned to the light of the Scriptures through the message of a lowly Jewish carpenter named Jesus. Born in a small village called Bethlehem and raised in an equally small non-descript town called Nazareth, he was crucified after a very short life of 33 years. And yet from China to Russia to Europe and Africa and the Americas and elsewhere His name is known and revered. Even the Koran honors him. And say what you like about him, He was Jewish.
It’s also important to realize that all the verses that the Christian scholars and apostles attribute to the Messiah, were also considered Messianic by all the Jewish scholars prior to the 16th century, and many still are today.
There are so many other prophecies about the Messiah and over the Jewish people as well as dozens over towns like Tyre and Babylon and various nations, almost all fulfilled centuries after the scriptures were written. One of the oft repeated prophecies in the Minor Prophets is that in the “last days” a coalition of nations of the world would unite and come against Israel in order to annihilate her. This hasn’t happened yet, but certainly is not hard to conceive of; the media’s handling of Israel in the press is atrocious, and secular college campuses often espouse the new anti-Semitism, being very biased and negative towards the only Jewish or non-Islamic nation in the Middle East.
No other book comes even close to this type of explicit prophecy, where peoples and town and specific nations are named. As a matter of fact, if none of these prophecies had come to pass, the bible could easily be falsified, yet it stands vindicated, even by its enemies.