The Case for the Jew

THE unconditional surrender of Italy; the relentless offensive of the Russian armies which drove the Germans back to the Dnieper and beyond; and the virtual imprisonment of the Pope in Vatican city, have constituted the big news of the last few weeks. Back of this news there remain the many unsolved problems which must be dealt with following the full defeat of Nazi Germany and the Pacific enemy, Japan. Among those problems is one that has always been more or less an international issue; namely, what to do about the Jews.

Milton Mayer wrote an article entitled, “The Case Against the Jew,” which appeared in a March, 1942, issue of the Saturday Evening Post, in which he vividly pointed out what, in his opinion, was the reason for much of the persecution that has come upon this historic people, in the past as well as the present. The article was far from flattering, and, in effect, made it appear that the Jews deserved much of the suffering through which they have passed.

But there is another side to this question, a “Case for the Jews,” as it were, which, when the whole story is told, will find the Jews no longer a persecuted people, but rather, God’s richly favored people through whom because they will be among the first to fall into line with Messiah’s Kingdom, God will dispense His promised Kingdom blessings to all mankind. The case for the Jews is God’s case, which is based upon His promises to them through their patriarchal fathers whom He loved.

The claim that the Jews are God’s chosen people has helped to engender hatred against them on the part of those who have not believed in the God of the Jews, nor in His sacred Word, the Bible. While this claim may seem like a hollow mockery in the light of the experiences through which they have passed, yet in it is contained the key to an understanding of the Jewish problem and what the eventual, happy outcome is to be. They are God’s people—not the people of a Jewish, tribal God, but the people of Jehovah, the only true and living God, the Creator and sustainer of all life.

Because they are God’s people, who entered into a special covenant with Him, they are in a very special way subject to His laws. To them much was given, and of them much is required—and the more so, in view of the high favors of God yet to be bestowed upon them. That the Jeers have sinned there can be no doubt; and that the age-old hatred against them has been due largely to their derelictions, cannot readily be disputed. But so have the Gentiles been sinners. Even professing Christian Gentiles themselves often have been just as guilty of the very sins they have charged against the Jews.

And Gentiles have suffered for their sins, too. For six thousand years all mankind has suffered because of original sin; and their sufferings have increased as sin has been added to sin, so that today the climax of human sin and selfishness has brought the world to the brink of ruin. In this global tragedy, Jewish suffering is accentuated, but all other nationalities are also suffering. If it were possible to analyze properly all the factors involved, we would find that this suffering is in proportion to the degree in which the laws of God have been willfully ignored or disobeyed. The Jewish people take the center of the stage this picture, not because they are worse than the rest, but because, as God’s chosen people, they have been more highly favored, hence have been more responsible.

To understand this case for the Jeers properly, one must turn back the pages of history many centuries, before the first advent of Jesus, to the time when God promised that through them He would bless all the nations of the earth. (Genesis 12:1-3; 22:18) This was not a casual promise, but a real one, which God later confirmed with His oath. (Hebrews 6:17) While it is true that the “seed” referred to as the “stars of heaven” are the spiritual children of Abraham, developed upon the basis of faith during this present age, yet it also definitely concerns the natural descendants of Abraham. (Genesis 22:17) The part that Israelites play in connection with the Creator’s purpose to bless all nations is unalterable and unchangeable.

The implications of this promise were reiterated time and time again for the encouragement of the Jewish nation. All God’s prophets confirmed it and with it was associated the hope of a coming Great One whom the Lord would send—the Messiah, the “messenger of the covenant”—and who, backed by divine power, would exalt the Jewish nation to chief prominence in the world as the blessers of all mankind—Mal. 3:1

About the time Jesus was born the Jews were looking forward specially to the coming of this Messiah—their King. They were then a vassal nation to Rome, and the hope of deliverance and freedom was a constant source of encouragement during those dark and uncertain days of their national life. But—and here’s where their real tragedy begins—Israel’s hope of the glory and honor of their coming King caused them to have a fixed, but wrong ideal in their minds as to how He should look and act, hence they were not prepared to accept the lowly One whom Jehovah sent to them.

When Jesus was announced to be the Messiah, His appearance and presentation was very different from what they were expecting. They wanted a great King and Lawgiver full of dignity, full of ambition, full of pride, self-will, and domineering in word and act. This was their idea of what would constitute the necessary qualifications of a King who should rule over and make Israel the leading nation of the earth.

The Israelites had seen the pride and arrogance of Herod. They had seen the importance of the Roman Emperor, and the dignity and power of Roman generals, and, also, the haughtiness of Roman Governors. They were, therefore, expecting their King to possess even a greater degree of dignity, pride and glory, since He was to represent the heavenly court and its authority on earth.

Thus the Jews were wholly unprepared to accept the humble Jesus as their King—one who was born in a manger, and a lowly Nazarene. They were ashamed to acknowledge that this man was their King. Just as the prophet had foretold (Isaiah 53:2), He did not have the appearance that they desired. From their selfish, human standpoint they could not understand how such a person could be a world conqueror, hence He was “a rock of offense” to them.—Isaiah 8:14

The world today is tragically aware of how all the people are subjected to suffering because of a wrong course pursued by their leaders. It was so with the Israelites. The nation as a whole, living at a time when education was not general, may not have been too familiar with the prophecies concerning their hoped-for Messiah; but their leaders knew, or could have known what to expect. It had been foretold that their King would be born of a virgin. (Isaiah 7:14) The prophet had declared that He would be born in the City of Bethlehem. (Mic. 5:2) The manner in which He would present Himself to them as King had been foretold. (Zechariah 9:9) The prophecies were clear that He would be “a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:1-3) This was not a flattering description of a great King, and Israel’s leaders should have known what to expect.

But those leaders were not pleased with God’s arrangements. It would have been unfortunate had they only turned their backs upon Him and refused to co-operate; but worse than that, they persecuted Him, and finally, through co-operation with the Roman authorities, put Him to death. Those leaders went still further, in that they accepted the responsibility for their act, inviting its consequences to fall upon them and upon their posterity.—Matthew 27:25

Let us remember that these were, and still are, God’s chosen people, who had covenanted to keep God’s laws, hence the results of their acts and words were inescapable. It may seem strange to those unaccustomed to weighing principles from the standpoint of cause and effect—sowing today, and reaping later—that the present generation should suffer as a result of the accumulated crimes of preceding generations. But that is exactly where the Jews—and in fact all mankind—stand today. The sins of the fathers are being visited upon the children on a colossal scale in these, our momentous times.

The law of cause and effect is nowhere more prominently marked than on the present generation. The seeds of past sowing have developed and brought forth a crop, and this is the harvest time. The events of today are the natural issues of the times that have gone before. The leaders of the Jews, on their part, said of their Messiah, “His blood be upon us, and on our children.” Their proposition was accepted. Jesus said, “Your house is left unto you desolate,” and how great has been that desolation!—Matthew 23:38

About thirty-seven years after the divine sentence was pronounced upon Israel, their desolation began. In A.D. 70 when Jerusalem was crowded with multitudes who came for the Passover, Titus imprisoned the inhabitants, within the walls of the city and they became a prey, killed and ate their children. The number that perished, according to the historian, was over a million, and the city was reduced to ashes.

The surviving remnant went as exiles into all nations and were driven from country to country and from province to province, deprived of almost every privilege enjoyed by other men. The historian says, “In France, Germany, England and Italy they were circumscribed in their rights by decrees and laws of the ecclesiastical as well as the civil powers, laws which excluded Jews from all honorable occupations. They were driven from place to place, compelled to subsist almost entirely upon mercantile occupations and usury. … They could own no land, belong to no guild, and they found all mankind against them.”

The fact that God permitted all this for the Jews’ own good, does not excuse the guilt of those who were responsible for their unhappy plight throughout the centuries. Nor does it excuse those who now are continuing the program of hatred against this historic people. Surely no Christian, who has the spirit, of Christ, will do anything to encourage or aid such a program. It is the Christian’s privilege now to speak comfortably to the Jews by assuring them that God’s fixed time to deliver them is at hand.—Isaiah 40:1,2

It is because the Jews have truly been God’s chosen people that He has dealt with them with a view to their ultimate deliverance and salvation. God’s promise is, “Mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from My face; neither is their iniquity hid from Mine eyes. … I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double.” (Jeremiah 16:16-16) This “double” period of punishment—mentioned also in Isaiah 40:1,2; and Zechariah 9:12—is a time measurement, the central point of which was at the first advent of Jesus. It began when God first recognized the children of Israel as a nation, namely, at the death of Jacob. We are now living at the close of the second half of that “double,” and already God’s providences are overshadowing the Jews, establishing them in the land He promised to their fathers.

But the case for the Jews, as we read it in the promises of God, makes clear that their final deliverance from their enemies, and their restoration to the Promised Land, was also to be accompanied by trouble, in many respects the most severe they ever experienced. The fact that reportedly two millions of Jeers have already been killed in Europe under the Nazi regime; and that the purpose has been to destroy them all, is no argument against the fact that God’s time has come to bless them, but rather the reverse. The very time of their deliverance is prophetically described as one “of fear, and not of peace.”—Jeremiah 30:3,5,11

Victory for the United Nations will undoubtedly remove the present threat against the Jews in Europe. It seems reasonably certain that their problem will come up for solution at the Peace Table. The Jeers themselves, through the Zionist Organization, are carefully preparing their case, demanding that Palestine be put more fully at their disposal and under their control as a haven for the hundreds of thousands of Jews who will need a home following the war.

It seems reasonable to suppose that some favorable arrangement involving the Land of Promise will be made for the Jews, and that large numbers of them will find their way there during the general reconstruction period following the war. But their troubles will not be over. Ezekiel 38 and Zechariah 14, tell of a final assault against the Jews who have returned to their land and who are dwelling peacefully there. This attack, the prophecies indicate, will be made by armies coming down from the north.

It will be at this point that God will manifest His power on behalf of Israel, and they will be miraculously saved from destruction by their enemies. Thus will all nations know that the hated Jews have been indeed God’s chosen people. Not that He has overlooked their sins any more than He has overlooked the sins of others, for all bear witness of how they have suffered for their sins. But out of that suffering, God will work out His divine purpose in these children of promise.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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