I am often asked how I can have blind faith that there is a God. I am also often asked by people who are Christians how to fight doubt when it creeps into their thoughts.
A Christian is required by God to have faith, but it does not have to be blind faith. He has given us plenty of proof. The proof of God is all around us, in nature, and in the world around us.
That brings me to the Jewish people. You cannot explain the Jewish people without God. They defy all logic as a people. Logic tells us that the Jews should have ceased to exist long ago. Many rulers have tried to exterminate them, yet the Jews are still around.
In the days of Jesus, Rome was an occupying force in Israel and placed heavy taxes on the Jews, which always plotted a rebellion. One such rebellion took place in 66 A.D. In 70 A.D. the Temple was destroyed. Jesus predicted the destruction of the temple, which was fulfilled to the letter; "Not one stone shall be left upon another."
In 130 A.D. Emperor Hadrian provoked the Jews by building a pagan temple on the Temple Mount to another rebellion, which ended with the Jews dispersed throughout the whole world. Now this is not the only time that something like this has happened to a nation. What normally happens is that within a generation or two the nation that was dispersed ceases to exist. The people melt into the countries to which they are sent and just disappear.
The Jews were different. Even though the Roman Empire ceased to exist, the Jews remain. Even after nearly 2,000 years they are still a distinct people. They may be a Russian Jew, or an American Jew, or an Ethiopian Jew, or a Chinese Jew, but they are all still Jews. They even had more reason then most other nations to disappear. They have been hunted down and killed and persecuted in many of the countries they found themselves. If they had just melted into the rest of the population they would not have sustained so many problems. Yet they remain Jews.
Go ahead and explain the Jews without using God, I don't believe you can. That brings me to the point; why the Jews? Why did God pick the Jews to be His people? For that matter why did He pick anyone to be His people?
I think that the answer is again, the Jews. I believe that God chose the Jews as His witness to the world. Not because they were anything special, in fact just because they weren't anything special. They were not a mighty nation, nor for most of their history even a righteous nation. How better to witness to the world that He loves us not because of who we are, but because of who He is?
(Isaiah 43:10-12 NIV)  "You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.  I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior.  I have revealed and saved and proclaimed- I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "that I am God."
We see that God has sustained the Jews because He put His holy name on them.
(Ezekiel 20:21-22 NIV)  But the children rebelled against me: They did not follow my decrees, they were not careful to keep my laws-although the man who obeys them will live by them-and they desecrated my Sabbaths. So I said I would pour out my wrath on them and spend my anger against them in the desert.  But I withheld my hand, and for the sake of my name I did what would keep it from being profaned in the eyes of the nations in whose sight I had brought them out.
This is the very reason that there will always be Jews. If anyone ever manages to destroy them completely it will prove that either God is not real or He has no real power. He will not allow His witness to be destroyed.
God predicted that they would again be a nation and that they would be a thorn in the world's side. If you don't believe God got it right, you haven't been following the news very closely.
The Jews remain God's witnesses to the world. Again not because they are a holy nation, in fact most modern day Jews have little concern for God. They are God's witness to the world because there is no human explanation for them and their continued existence. Out numbered by the nations all around them and attacked on all sides, the nation of Israel not only defended itself three times, but regained more of the land that God promised Abraham each time they were attacked. It hurts my heart to see the nation of Israel so willing to give up the land God promised them in return for peace which will never come, until their Messiah, whom they have rejected comes back.
Replacement theology is very popular today. What it teaches is that God is done with the Jews and now His chosen people are the church. This is unbiblical and dangerous for anyone who believes it. Dangerous because by trying to take the place of the Jews they are fighting against God's very witness to the world.
God is not done with the Jews. The year 1948 should have put this theology to rest but it didn't. 1968 should have put this theology to rest, but again it didn't. 1973 should have put this theology to rest, but again it didn't.
In the book of Ezekiel we read about some of God's promises to Israel. He promises to bring them back to their land from all the nations where He scattered them. That is happening before our eyes. He promises them that He will take out their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh and that they will follow Him. This has not happened yet, but it will. We also read about the Temple that Ezekiel saw and was told to describe in detail. This Temple is yet to be built, but it will be.
God is not done with the Jews and they as a people are completely different from the church as believers. Yes there are Jews who believe in their Messiah and are part of the church, but the nation of Israel still has promises from God that will take place. Not all the promises are what we would call good. There is a time coming called the time of Jacob's trouble. It will take place during the tribulation and it will be very unpleasant for the Jewish people. But the very fact that it is coming and was prophesied in the Bible means that God is not done with the Jewish people as a whole. Don't be fooled into the false doctrine of replacement, it is not true.
We should pray for the Jews and Israel as a nation. We should demand that our nation support them and help them. God's promises are not dead, they are alive and well.
(Genesis 12:2-3 (NIV)  "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.  I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
This is a promise to Abraham and to the whole world. The whole world has been blessed through the nation Israel by the coming of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. The promise and the warning are still valid. God will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel. And Israel will remain God's witness to the world.
These devotionals are written by Ralph Dettwiler, and reflect his views.
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