by HFH Reuvers


In the sixth century before Christ, the Jews were carried to Babylon and surrounding countries. The bible book Esther tells how the Jewish people escaped extermination. The Persians threatened them because they didn't adore the king. To remember the escape, the Jews keep celebrating the yearly feast of Purim.
It wasn't the last time the Jews were scattered and part of them returned to Israel. After the Romans destroyed Jerusalem anno Domini 70, the great diaspora started. This diaspora partially stopped when the state of Israel was founded in the twentieth century, but perhaps it will extend again in the future. Anyway, once again, the Jews survived a holocaust.
However, the earthly Israel is far from perfect. Many Moslems in the neighbour countries would like to sweep it off the map. To protect itself, Israel has to take draconic measures.

We may admire that the Jews have always been preserving their own character and traditions, in spite of the hatred and persecution they had to undergo. This has to do with the Messianic expectation they entertain: that God did elect Israel and will restore it.
The Jews did give us many beautiful things, like, for instance, the psalms. They always play a prominent role in the arts and the sciences. It's true they sometimes got an ill fame in some regions, but that's because they lived in isolation from the other people.
However, it's a pity the Jews don't see that Jesus is the promised Messiah. Israel is just a model for all mankind. Here on earth, man is living in a kind of Babylonian captivity, hindered by a Babylonian confusion of tongues. The glad tidings about our Saviour Jesus make we can expect the coming of a 'new Israel': that is the kingdom of heaven.