How can Israel be God’s witnesses? – April 2021

If curiosity brought you to our website that would be good​​ because we like visitors with an inquiring mind. Many people will know that it is the Bible that is ‘reckoned to ​​ be the world’s bestselling book’. But to be told the people of Israel have a 4,000-year history could be harder to believe.

(​​Timeline is not to​​ scale – dates are approximate – click on it to enlarge it)

The writers of the Bible cover some 7,000 years of time but from the Birth of Israel to when, in the future, Jesus is on the throne of Israel ruling the world, only covers part of it. ​​ Our simple timeline of events covered in the Bible​​ shows​​ that the history of Israel started from the day God called Abraham,

1​​  Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew​​ thee : ​​ Genesis 12​​ 

On to the birth of the nation at Mount Sinai in the wilderness, as God, who had rescued them from harsh slavery in Egypt, promised Israel through Moses, that,

5​​  Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then​​ ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth​​ is​​ mine:​​ 6​​  And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.​​ These​​ are​​ the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.​​   Exodus 19 ​​

Sadly, the people of Israel were disobedient to their God leading to the 12 tribes becoming divided, with the 10 northern tribes retaining the name Israel making Samaria their capital and the remainder, in the south, becoming Judah with Jerusalem their capital. ​​ Israel soon took to Idol worship losing God’s protection and about 713 BC, they were conquered by the Assyrians, carried away, and scattered amongst the cities all over their empire.​​

6​​  In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor​​ by​​ the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.​​ 2 Kings 17 ​​ 

Sadly, Judah too, soon deteriorated despite God’s warnings that if they left worshipping Him for idols they too would​​ lose His protection. ​​ They ignored the warnings and the Babylonians overran their country and carried them away as captives to their own land with the result that the descendants of Abraham were scattered over a large area of their homeland.

10​​  And all the army of the Chaldees, that​​ were with​​ the captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about.​​ 11​​  Now the rest of the people​​ that were​​ left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude, did Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carry away.  ​​ 2 Kings 25

Later the peoples of Judah returned to their land, rebuilding Jerusalem. ​​ But they had learnt little, still disobeyed God and the Romans under Pompey invaded them in 63BC

​​ 49​​  The​​ LORD​​ shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth,​​ as swift​​ as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand;​​ 50​​  A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the​​ young:​​ 51​​  And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which​​ also​​ shall not leave thee​​ either​​ corn, wine, or oil,​​ or​​ the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee.​​ 52​​  And​​ he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the​​ LORD​​ thy God hath given thee.​​  Deuteronomy 28

This terrible prophecy by Moses of this final scattering by the Romans, and the life that followed goes on in the above chapter.

Early in their colonisation Jesus was born and at 30 years old he began his mission to bring Israel back to God. ​​ Despite his initial success with the ordinary people only a remnant responded long term to his teaching with the religious leaders rejecting him and contriving his crucifixion. ​​ Their punishment for murdering the righteous Son of God came, when they tried to remove their Roman overlords, who brought in reinforcements and destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple, crushed the rebellion, and banished the Jews from the land by an Edict of Emperor Hadrian in 135AD scattering the Jews all over the world.​​

Thus, the Jews were​​ ejected from their land and widely scattered three times. ​​ It might have been expected that the Jews would be assimilated into the nations all over the world where they ended up, but that was not God’s purpose for He had promised … …​​

14​​  And I will be found of you, saith the​​ LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the​​ LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away​​ captive.​​      Jeremiah 29

As the 19th century closed Theodor Herzl, a German Jew began the Zionist Organization promoting Jewish immigration to Palestine to form a homeland for the Jewish people and a Jewish state. ​​ Early in the 20th century European Jews started migrating to Palestine in large numbers, fleeing religious persecution. ​​ Against huge odds, and undoubtedly because God’s hand was with them, the Jews now have a state of their own in the land of Israel. ​​ Today some 6,153,500 Jews live​​ there, 43% of the world Jewish population of​​ 14,606,000​​ (Wikipedia).

In spite of the efforts of many nations over a long period of history to eradicate the Jews, notably first by Hitler and the Germans, and latterly by the combined efforts of​​ the Arab nations around her,​​ the Jews have survived defying expectations because God had promised one faithful man that he would​​ make​​ of him a great nation,

1 ​​​​ Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that​​ I will shew thee:​​ 2 ​​​​ And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:​​ Genesis 12

God gradually extended these promises to Abram, in an amazing way.

​​ 14 ​​​​ And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:​​ 15​​ ​​ For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.​​ Genesis 13

5 ​​​​ Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a​​ father of many nations have I made thee.​​ 6 ​​​​ And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and​​ I will make nations of thee, and​​ kings shall come out of thee.​​Genesis 17

In essence the promises were:​​ Abraham’s​​ offspring​​ to​​ be​​ many nations​​ [Israel​​ and the Arabs];​​ to​​ have Kings [including Jesus];​​ to​​ possess the land [now Israel]; as confirmed by the Apostle Stephen​​ … ​​​​ …

2​​ The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham … …​​ 5 ​​​​ And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.​​  Acts 7

But the God who created and sustains this earth​​ is all powerful and a God of truth, so His promises must mean that​​ Abraham is to be resurrected to receive his promises.​​ 

19 ​​​​ God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath​​ he spoken, and shall he not make it good?​​ Numbers 23

And that is how Israel are God’s witnesses. ​​ The Bible is God’s word.

16​​  All scripture​​ is​​ given by​​ inspiration* of God#, and​​ is​​ profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in​​ righteousness:​​ 17​​  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.  ​​ 2 Timothy 3​​

(*Greek:​​ θεπνευστος​​ divinely breathed​​ in​​ [Strong’s Greek Dictionary])​​ i.e. God plants his word in the Apostles mind.

We need to know the Bible​​ is true because the all wise, all powerful Creator and Sustainer of all life has caused it to be written for our benefit.

11​​  Thus saith the​​ LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work​​ of my hands command ye me.​​ 12​​  I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I,​​ even​​ my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.​​Isaiah 45​​

God invites us to test those who claim to speak His word so that we know if​​ it is Truth.

1​​  Beloved,​​ believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.​​ 2​​  Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:​​ 3​​ And​​ every spirit that confesseth not that​​ Jesus Christ is come in the flesh​​ is not of God: and this is that​​ spirit​​ of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.​​ 1 John 4​​

How can we test​​ the Truth of the Bible as a whole? ​​ We find God has provided a interesting way. ​​ It’s prophecy! ​​ You will know that the Old Testament was written before the New Testament. ​​ You may know that there are prophecies of Jesus life in​​ the Old Testament, fulfilled in the New Testament. If we can prove The Old Testament was written and completed before Jesus was born, we have our proof.​​

How is your history? ​​ Have you heard of the Alexandria library in Egypt? ​​ If you go to the​​ Wikipedia​​ article,​​ “Library of Alexandria”,​​ you can read of how … …

“The Great Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt, was one of the largest and significant in the ancient world. … … It may have been proposed by Demetrius of Phalerum, an exiled Athenian statesman living in Alexandria, to Ptolemy I Soter, who may have established plans for the Library, but the Library itself was probably not built until the reign of his son Ptolemy II Philadelphus. The Library quickly acquired many papyrus scrolls, due largely to the Ptolemaic kings’ aggressive and well-funded policies for procuring texts. It is unknown precisely how many such scrolls were housed at any given time, but estimates range from 40,000 to 400.000 at its height.

The reason we are interested in the Alexandria library which is in Egypt is because the emperors there wanted to create a library of all the world’s books of knowledge and learning in Greek which included copies of the Hebrew scriptures called the Tanakh and known to us as the Old Testament. so let us return to Wikipedia again, this time to the article on a book called the … …

Septuagint.

The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint … … from the Latin: septuaginta, lit. ’seventy’; often abbreviated 70; in Roman numerals, LXX), is the earliest extant Koine Greek translation of books from the Hebrew Bible. … … ‘The Translation of the Seventy’) derives from the story recorded in the Letter of Aristeas that the Hebrew Torah was translated into Greek at the request of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285–247 BCE) by 70 Jewish scholars or, according to later tradition, 72: six scholars from each of the Twelve Tribes of Israel

The importance of the Septuagint version is it was completed well before the birth of Jesus Christ and many prophecies in the Old Testament were​​ fulfilled in New Testament and later times. We will give you just one brief example as it is not the purpose of this article, nor do we have the space, to deal with prophecy.​​

When the wise men came to King Herod in Jerusalem seeking to give gifts to the one they rightly believed was to be the King of Israel he was greatly concerned.​​

3​​  When Herod the king had heard​​ these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.​​ 4​​  And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.​​ 5​​  And they said unto him,​​ In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,​​ 6​​  And thou Bethlehem,​​ in​​ the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.​​ Matthew 2

If you turn to the prophet Micah 5:2 you will find that is what Micah did write and wise men when they arrived found the young child born​​ to be​​ King of the Jews.​​

That did not happen in Christ’s lifetime but, as with the promises to Abraham, will be fulfilled at a future date when he returns to this Earth to​​ save Israel from her enemies and establish God’s Kingdom. But that is for another time.​​

So we hope you can see that God has been directing the​​ lives of His people in detail for 4,000 years. And on another occasion, we’d like to show you, how He will continue to do so long into the future.​​

The above article outlines reliable evidence that the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament, which contains many prophecies of New Testament events, was completed well before the birth of Jesus Christ.  Another article that gives trustworthy evidence of how the Dead Sea Scrolls are further proof, in a separate way, of the truth of many Old Testament prophecies can be found if you click the link below.