Although the Jews had previously had periods of captivity, it was the Romans in the first century who were responsible for scattering the Jews.This was not long after the time that Jesus lived in the land of Israel. Jesus spent some time in the magnificent temple in Jerusalem – the picture shows a model.
On one occasion when his followers pointed out how grand the Temple was, Jesus made this sombre prediction:
“Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Matthew 24 v 2
This prediction was fulfilled to the letter when the Romans razed the temple to the ground in the first Jewish–Roman war between 66 and 70 AD. The Roman Emperor Vespasian sent his Roman Army, led by the future Emperor Titus to end a Jewish revolt. In the process Jerusalem was besieged and the Temple was destroyed.
The Arch of Titus in Rome was built by the Romans to commemorate the overthrow of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Part of the Arch shows the seven branched lampstand from the Temple in Jerusalem being taken by the Romans.
With typical Roman thoroughness, they completely destroyed the Temple. Jesus’ prediction that not one stone would be left on another was fulfilled. These stones from the Temple were probably thrown down by the Roman armies in 70 AD. They’re a reminder of the literal fulfilment of Jesus’ words.
All that now remains of the Temple complex is a portion of the wall which supports the platform on which the Temple once stood. This wall is the well known Western or Wailing Wall which continues to be the focus of Jewish aspirations and pilgrimage to this day.
After the third Jewish revolt in 135 AD, the Jews were dispersed throughout the vast Roman Empire. The Atlas of Jewish History produced by leading Jewish historian Martin Gilbert, says:
By 300 AD, the Jews had settled in every part of the Roman Empire except Britain.
There are many Bible predictions of this scattering, here are a few examples.
“…the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other…”
Deuteronomy 28 v 64
The prophet Jeremiah predicted that God:“… will scatter them also among the Gentiles [that’s non-Jews], whom neither they nor heir fathers have known…” Jeremiah 9 v 16
The prophet Ezekiel has a similar prediction:
“I [God] will scatter you among the nations, disperse you throughout the countries…” Ezekiel 22 v 15
In 2014, almost 56% of Jews were living outside Israel. Despite being only 1% of the world’s population, there are significant numbers in many countries as the table below shows.
The Bible correctly predicted that the Jews would be scattered all round the world
The land to become desolate
Next, we want to look at what the Bible predicted about the condition of the Jewish homeland during this time of scattering.
God said to the Jewish nation:
“I will scatter you among the nations and …your land shall be desolate and your cities waste”. [ Leviticus 26 v 33]
The Jewish prophet Ezekiel talks about:
“the desolate wastes, and the cities that have been forsaken, which became plunder and mockery to the rest of the nations all around” [Ezekiel 36 v 4]
We can see how desolate the land eventually became from pictures of Palestine taken in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This desolation continued until the Jews began to cultivate the land again.
A typical example of this effort was desolate land being prepared for agricultural use at Kibbutz Gonan, close to the Syrian border.
The Jewish homeland became desolate during their scattering around the world as the Bible predicted
We may be tempted to say “Well, yes, but these predictions were all lucky guesses. Anyone who knew anything about history could have foretold the future and got it right some of the time”
But using knowledge of history, no one would have come up with these predictions about the Jews at. History tells us that nations disappear when they lose their homeland. They become absorbed into the nations that conquer them. The Bible, however, gives us these unexpected predictions for the Jews. On the other hand, the Bible predicted a rather different future for the nation of Egypt
We should also bear in mind that anyone who could regularly predict unexpected events could make a small fortune at the bookmakers or on the stock market. The same person would also be in great demand by weather forecasters and politicians! Regularly predicting the unusual is something we just can’t do.
So we are presented with a challenge:
There is no way we can accurately predict unlikely future events. But the God of the Bible has done so with 100% accuracy.
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