This article was written by the former secretary of Precious Seed during periods of increasing weakness before he passed into the presence of the Lord. His fear was that he would not be well enough to complete it, but it was found near his typewriter the day after he was called home. Eds.
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits ; that blindness in part is happened’ to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in”, Rom. 11. 25. Written large on the pages of Scripture and history is the story of God’s dealings with His people Israel, and little as they may realize it the ultimate destiny of the nations of the earth is most intimately connected with Palestine and the Jewish people. From of old God had a glorious purpose for them, but because of their constant backsliding He scattered them among the nations; nevertheless they are still God’s chosen people and His purpose for them remains unchanged. The Jews are the people of the promises, the people through whom Christ after the flesh should come; they had a unique mission in the world, they were set apart to make God known to the nations of the earth. Well might the apostle Paul say, “What advantage then hath the Jew? … Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God”, Rom. 3. 1, 2. Divine truth was communicated to them, that through them it might be made known to the world. The Bible, therefore, came to us through the Jews; and the very laws which govern human life today and upon which the vast fabric of civilization rests have much of their basis in the statutes of God preserved by the Jewish people.
Further, not only may the Jewish people be a more highly honoured people in the world today, they are the most ancient. They have witnessed the rise and fall of the world’s mightiest empires, survived all the great nations of the past, and they will survive all the great nations of the future. Almost all nations have at some time or another sought to exterminate the Jew, but the Jew cannot be exterminated, nor can he be assimilated. Of the Jew God had decreed, “the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations”, Num. 23. 9, and they are not so reckoned to this day. Other peoples when dispersed abroad have been absorbed into other nations, but it is not so with the Jew. The Jew always remains a Jew no matter what country gave him birth. No matter where the Jew lives or what he does, he still retains his identity, and God has so scattered them that one cannot go anywhere without finding a Jew.
The Jew is the miracle and mystery of the ages, but it is the mystery that requires our attention here, the mystery being “that blindness in part is happened to Israel”. For the word “blindness” here, the Revised Version gives the word “hardening”, but for the purpose we have before us we prefer the word “blindness”. That the Jews were blind is a fact beyond question, and many scriptures specifically say so; they were deliberately blind to God’s goodness, to God’s purpose, and to their own best interests, and for their folly He gave them “the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear”, Rom. 11. 8. Elsewhere, in a Psalm of the rejected Messiah David says, “Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not”, Psalm 69. 23, and Paul, a distinguished Jewish convert of New Testament times, has this to say of his fellow countrymen : “But their minds were blinded : for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ”, 2 Cor. 3. 14. Well might one of their own prophets say, “they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord”, Zeph. 1. 17. Now let us consider some of the implications of this blindness.
This Blindness Was Judicial. It was a judgment sent from the hand of God. We have said that no other nation ever has been so highly honoured as the Jewish nation; on the other hand no other nation ever has been so deeply guilty as this one; no other nation has sinned so long, so stubbornly and so desperately against the light of God’s offered mercy. At long last, when in the blindness and madness of their hearts they killed the Prince of life, the long-promised Messiah, God carried out His oft repeated warning and scattered them among the nations; and the very nations that they were raised up to save, now became so many rods to flay them. From that moment the whole world became their enemy and for nearly two thousand years they have been robbed, persecuted, maltreated, enslaved, outraged and hounded to death, and it all began in their own beautiful land. One million, one hundred thousand Jews were slain, and ninety-seven thousand were taken prisoners, when the Romans desolated Palestine. Constantine, so called the Great, decided to befriend the Jews who had survived the slaughter, but later changed his mind, cut off their ears, and dispersed them as vagabonds. From time to time many a country on the face of the earth has witnessed and willingly aggravated their sufferings; even in so-called Christian England they have been murdered and pillaged. On more than one occasion in the history of these islands, every Jew was imprisoned and his wealth appropriated by the state. Once King John imprisoned every adult Jew he could find in order to discover their possessions; then by cruel torture he extorted from them vast sums of money. At the coronation of Richard the First mobs killed every Jew they could find, plundered them and set fire to their homes, and Edward the First decreed that the ’Jews and all that they possessed belonged to the king but later he relented to the extent of taking only half their possessions.
To come to modern times; in Russia during the revolution there were four million Jews and many of them perished by the sword; as for the remainder their sufferings were indescribable. In Germany during the second world war there were three million Jews, and few of these escaped the dreaded gas chambers of the Gestapo. Thus have the Jews suffered the terrible consequences of their sins, and thus must they suffer until the rod of chastisement is withdrawn. All too often it is forgotten that God deals with nations in the same way that He deals with individuals. Nations like individuals must reap what they sow, and having sown to the wind the nation of Israel must reap the whirlwind. It was not merely that they had failed, their failure was a guilty failure; they had not only sinned grievously and deliberately, they had sinned against light and knowledge.
Nor must it be forgotten that God is dealing with the nations of the earth today just as certainly as He dealt with the Jewish nation, and He is dealing with them with special reference to their treatment of Israel. Whilst Israel’s sufferings have been a judgment sent from the hand of God, woe unto them by whom they came. Gentile world powers have aggravated those sufferings ; they have always found a fiendish delight in persecuting and maltreating God’s chosen people, but no nation ever persecuted the Jew and escaped national retribution. We have only to think of Babylon, Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Greece and Rome for examples of this. How are the mighty fallen ! These nations once ruled the world, but because they dared to tread down the nation of God’s choice, they themselves have been trodden down. The same thing is true of the great Western powers; as we have seen they have at some time or another exploited and oppressed the Jewish people and judgment will certainly come. When they have served God’s purpose they will be set aside and nothing will save them; in the language that describes the great image in Daniel 2, they shall be broken in pieces. Israel’s blindness is the direct result of their own sin, but let the nations beware; the Jewish people are still the people of God and no one can meddle with them except at their peril. Despised and hated by this world they may now be, but in the new earth that is yet to be, no people will be so great and glorious as restored and converted Israel.
To be concluded
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