Seven remarkable milestones that defy historical patterns and fulfill ancient prophecies.
- By Rabbi Motty Berger and Rabbi Asher Resnick
Imagine an alien landing on this planet. On his first day here, he witnesses two events: the parting of the Red Sea and the birth of a baby. Which would he say is the greater miracle?
Most aliens would say that the birth of a child seems a greater miracle than the parting of the waters. However, if we asked you whether the birth of a child is a miracle, you might not agree. Why is that?
Because childbirth happens all the time, about every seven seconds or so in this country. When something happens all the time, we take it for granted and think it's natural. But when we look at it, as an alien, we can see what an incredible miracle it is.
Now let's look at Jewish history from a similar perspective, putting aside any prior knowledge we have. Do the events of our nation throughout the past 3000 years seem like ordinary events, or is something unique and perhaps miraculous going on here?
As a matter of fact, let's pretend we've never even heard of the Jewish people. And let's decide: Are these events coincidental or providential?
King Louis XIV once had an interesting discussion with the famous 17th century Roman Catholic philosopher and mathematician, Blaise Pascal. The king asked Pascal to show him evidence of the supernatural, and Pascal responded. "The Jews, Your Majesty, the Jews!"
Everyone who studies Jewish history perceives that there's something unique about it. What many people don't know, however, is that the unusual and illogical course of Jewish history was predicted in detail in our Torah. Let's examine seven phenomena unique to Jewish history and seven prophecies precisely forecasting these phenomena. Then it'll be up to you to evaluate whether these events could have occurred through the natural channels of human history or whether, perhaps, someone's been pulling the strings, behind the scenes.
WONDER #1: THE JEWISH PEOPLE ARE ETERNAL
In Bereishis 17:7, God promises Abraham that the Jewish people will be eternal. God says:
"And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you, throughout the generations, an eternal covenant to be your God, and the God of your descendants after you."
Now we all know that treaties are only as good as the two sides who keep up their part of the bargain. If one party bails out, the treaty is void. What will happen if the Jews don't keep their covenant with God?
Take a look at this prophecy:
"Yet even so, even while they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject or spurn them, lest I break My covenant with them by destroying them, for I am their God. I will remember them because of the covenant I made with their forefathers, whom I brought out of the Land of Egypt under the eyes of the nations, so that I might be their God." (Vayikra 26:44-45)
In other words, even when things go sour, even when the Jewish people stop following the Torah, the covenant will not be breached. God promises that this relationship will exist forever.
Now if you're at all familiar with world history, you'll notice right away that this is a very strange prediction. After all, nations rise and fall. They don't exist forever. Do you know any Edomites personally? Anyone have a good friend who's a Moabite? History has seen the rise of many powerful civilizations: the Persians, the Babylonians, the Moabites, the Edomites, the Romans. But they've long since disappeared.
Why would the Torah predict eternal survival for the Jewish people? Even more strange, how is it that the Jews, a civilization way older than the Persians or the Babylonians, are, indeed, still around?
Many people have noticed this strange phenomenon. One of the most famous is Mark Twain who wrote an essay called "Concerning the Jews" (The Complete Essays of Mark Twain, p. 249):
"The Egyptian, the Babylonian, the Persian, rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dreamstuff and passed away. The Greek and the Roman followed, made a vast noise and they are gone. Other peoples have sprung up, held their torch high for a time, but it burned out and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weaking of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal, but the Jew. All other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?"
Leo Tolstoy, a believing Christian, also wonders about this. He writes (Jewish World, London, 1908:
"The Jew is the emblem of eternity. He whom neither slaughter, nor torture of thousands of years could destroy, he whom neither fire, nor sword, nor inquisition was able to wipe off the face of the earth; he who was the first to produce the oracle of God, he who has been for so long the guardian of prophecy and who transmitted it to the rest of the world. Such a nation cannot be destroyed. The Jew is as everlasting as eternity itself."
Have you heard of a book called: "The Protocols of the Elder of Zion"?
The Protocols is a book that claims to be the minutes of secret meetings held every hundred years by Jewish rabbis around the world, for the purpose of plotting the course of world history for the next hundred years.
The Protocols, by the way, has sold more copies than any other book in history, except the Bible. Why do people swallow it? People have hated blacks, people have hated Orientals, but you don't find books called "The Protocols of the Elders of Motown." Somehow, "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" makes sense in people's minds. People read the book and think, "Yes! Those Jews get together every hundred years and plan out world history!"
Somehow, in their collective consciousness, the world has noticed that we Jews are always around.
Paul Johnson, a non-Jewish historian, wrote a bestseller called A History of the Jews. At the end of the book, he gives us a thesis as to why the Jews have survived so long: "The Jews believed that they were a special people, with such unanimity and passion, over so long a span of time, that they became one." In other words, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Two problems immediately emerge. First of all, does anyone here think Jews can believe anything with unanimity? You've heard the expression, "Two Jews, three opinions"?
(As a matter of fact, we were once in Phoenix, Arizona, and a teacher said, "You know how it is - two Jews, three opinions...," when a gentleman raises his hand and, in all seriousness, says, "Rabbi, I heard it was three Jews, four opinions." The teacher looked at him and said, "Thank you, Sir. You've just proved my point!")
Second - does it make sense that only the Jews willed themselves into becoming an eternal nation?! And all the other nations thought, "Nah, that's okay. We've gone on long enough. Suppose it's about time to get conquered and become extinct..."
Finally, even if the Jews did believe they were an eternal people, does simply believing something make it so?
If I just keep believing I'm a doctor, will I eventually become one?
Obviously things don't work that way. Nations don't will themselves into destruction. Neither do they will themselves into becoming an eternal nation.
Blogger's note: To be continued... (The Second Wonder)