For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.
Jews endured much persecution for centuries whilst living in other countries, but they have always remained a separate and distinct people who could not be assimilated into other nations because of their traditions under the Mosaic Covenant. This is how God intended it to be.
Traditional Christianity, both Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, has misunderstood Scripture when it believed for centuries that God had rejected His people, Israel. It believed that the Jews had been replaced by the Church comprised mainly of Gentile Christians, which it believed to be the New Israel of God. This belief has been called 'Replacement Theology'.
It is this unbiblical belief, which has fueled anti-Semitism in Europe for centuries. Jews suffered much persecution during the Crusades (1099-1244) and the Inquisitions, including the Spanish Inquisition (1478-1765). They suffered expulsion from many countries including England, France, Spain, Lithuania, Portugal and Germany. Jews were blamed for The Black Death plague (1347-1351), which decimated the population of Europe. They were charged with having provoked the plague through their unbelief in Christianity. The persecution of Jews during the Black Death resulted in an eastward migration of many Jews to Poland and Russia, where they remained until the twentieth century.
Anti-Semitism climaxed in the Holocaust of Hitler's torture chambers, where more than six million Jews died between 1940-1945.
The Holocaust led to the return of many Jews to Israel, and the country of Israel was reestablished in 1948. The re-establishment of Israel has 'woken-up' many Christians to acknowledge the fact that God has not rejected Jews as believed by traditional Christianity for centuries. Some Christians have now become very strong supporters of Israel.
In 1600, it was estimated that only 1% of Jews lived in the land of Israel, whilst the remaining 99% lived in other countries throughout the world. However, by 1991, the 'Historical Atlas of the Jewish People' estimated that 32% of Jews had returned to Israel. This still left 68% living outside Israel. We believe that many more Jews have returned to Israel since 1991, but we do not have the latest figures. God's work of gathering the Jews out of all countries back to Israel is far from complete and will continue until the return of their Messiah, at the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Israel is now once again a nation in its own land. It is a tiny nation with only a few million people, yet it is the most powerful nation militarily in the Middle East. Israel is leading the world in many technological developments, such as in biotechnology and the Internet. It is also a world leader in environmental research. Over a hundred Israeli companies are listed on NASDAQ. Israel's importance and contribution to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance and medicine, is greatly out of proportion to its small size and numbers. However, God's plan to make Israel a great nation of blessing not only to themselves but also to all nations of the earth, as promised under the Abrahamic Covenant, has not even begun yet. It can only begin when their Messiah, Jesus Christ, returns to this earth as the King of the Jews.
Israel remains an unbelieving nation except for a few Messianic Jews. In God's eyes they still have unbelieving hearts of stone and their list of sins is still as long as that recorded by their prophets in the Old Testament. God has not yet finished judging and punishing His people.
The Bible prophesies that God will punish and judge the whole world including Israel, before Jesus Christ returns to this earth. This will be a time of cataclysmic events and worldwide destruction of peoples called the Great Tribulation, lasting for three and a half years. The Great Tribulation will be the most horrific unprecedented time that the world will have ever experienced, or will ever experience again. (Matthew 24:2) Daniel also refers to this time of trouble when the power of the holy people, meaning Israel, will be completely shattered. (Daniel 12:1, 7) Also, Jeremiah refers to this time as 'The Time of Jacob's Trouble'. (Jeremiah 30:7)
The final battle to be fought on this earth before Jesus Christ's return is called the battle of Armageddon. God Himself will gather all nations to battle against Jerusalem and use them to judge and punish His people for their sins. Jerusalem shall be taken and half of the city shall go into captivity. (Zechariah 14:1-2) However, this will be the last time God will use foreign armies to punish His people. The God of Israel will then fight against these armies of the nations and destroy them. (Zechariah 14:3)
We are living in momentous times leading towards the fulfillment of God's covenant with Abraham, when God will make Israel a great nation of blessing both to itself and to all the nations of the earth.
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