The Gentile world calls it ‘Diaspora’, though this word has been applied to any situation when large groups of people have moved between nations, for whatever reason. The Jews themselves call it Galut, a term specific to their unique circumstance. It means ‘exile’, a word that itself means ‘enforced removal from one’s native country’.
So the Jews were forcibly removed from their native country, from the Promised Land given to them by God Himself some 2000 years earlier. Who did the ejecting? On the face of it, it was the Romans, driving them into exile for being a thorn in their side, for not laying down in silence and allowing themselves to be conquered like everyone else. But the Romans themselves, just like the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians and Greeks earlier, were mere instruments in the hand of God, who is so interested in the comings and goings of His people, Israel, that He says, in Deuteronomy 32:8:
“When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided all mankind, he set up boundaries for the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel.”
Whatever this exactly means, it does indicate the central place occupied by ‘the sons of Israel’ in God’s dealings with mankind. The undeniable fact is that, just as He used the Babylonians earlier to exile the Jews from their land the first time, He was now using the Romans to exile them for a second time. And although the first exile was to last only 70 years, this second exile was to prove far more long-reaching.
How does the Galut fit in with the message of the Bible? Why would God allow this to happen to our kingdom of priests? That�s a big question that needs an answer. Moses offers some clues in the Book of Deuteronomy:
“Just as it pleased the LORD to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess. Then the LORD will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods – gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life. In the morning you will say, “If only it were evening!” and in the evening, “If only it were morning!” – because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see.” (Deuteronomy 28:63-67)
These words, written over 3500 years ago, send a chill down the spine when we consider the Galut. As mentioned earlier, what could the Jewish people have done to deserve such a judgement? Could this all have been a result of the life of one man, Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus the Messiah? The early Gentile Church seemed to think so.
So you’ve read the Scriptures, you’ve had some insight into God’s mind, what He thought about the Jews. Now for a big contrast, a very big contrast. Let’s get into the mind of the Gentile Christians, from the 2nd Century onwards, when the Church had already started the process of extricating itself from its Jewish roots.
As we enter the Times of the Gentiles, we reach a key point in our story. What was happening to the Jews? Were they now cursed by God and, if so, why? The early Christians were Jewish, but as more and more Gentiles entered the Church, a time came when Jewish Christians were very much in the minority.
Now we come to the crunch. The Jewish (or Hebraic) worldview that had dominated Biblical thought for over 2000 years now gave way to the dominant worldview of the Gentile world, the Greek philosophies of Plato and others. This was to have drastic consequences for the Jewish people.
(This is an abridged extract from Steve’s book Outcast Nation)
Why were the Jews exiled from their land?
Written by: Miriam Emenike
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