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Israel’s Scattering

By Lionel Leslie, July 19, 1997 Printer Friendly Version

And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you.
Deuteronomy 4, verse 27 predicts a future scattering of Israel among the nations. The LORD warns us of His likely retribution should we, Israel in this instance, disobey His commandment. This warning repeats earlier ones such as this one recorded in Leviticus chapter 26 and verse 33: I will scatter you among the nations. Again and again the scattering of the Hebrew nation was predicted and threatened, consequent upon their apostasy from GOD.  In Deuteronomy 28, verses 64 to 66, Moses says: Then the LORD will scatter you among all peoples from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods which neither you, nor your fathers, have known, wood and stone.  And among those nations you shall find no rest, nor shall the soul of your foot have a resting place; but there the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and anguish of soul.  Your life shall hang in doubt before you; you shall fear day and night and have no assurance of life.

The scattering of Israel, predictably, by GOD, through His prophets was, and is fulfilled in history.  The Bible tells us that in the 9th year of Hosea, the king of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel away to Assyria, and placed them in Halah and by the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes, (2nd Kings, Chapter 17, verse 6).  And the LORD rejected all the descendants of Israel, afflicted them and delivered them into the hands of the plunderers, until He cast them from His sight.  As He said by all His servants, the prophets, so Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is today. (Verses 20 and 23).

This calamity happened to the northern kingdom of Israel in those days, for they served idols of which the LORD had said to them, You shall not do this thing.  Yet the LORD testified against Israel and Judah, the southern kingdom, by all of His prophets, namely every seer, saying, Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments and My statutes according to all the Law which I commanded your fathers, and which I said to you by My servants, the prophets.  Nevertheless they would not hear, but stiffened their necks, like the necks of their fathers, who did not believe in the LORD their GOD.  (2nd Kings, 12 to 14).

The tragedy which has befallen the children of Israel from the early times in the history of mankind, even to this day, is prefaced, once again, in the Book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 29, from verse 24, that: All nations would say, ‘Why has the LORD done so to this land?  What does the heat of this great anger mean?’   Then men would say, ‘Because they have forsaken the Covenant of the LORD GOD of their fathers which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt; for they went and served other gods and worshipped them; gods that they did not know, and that He had not given them.  Then the anger of the LORD was aroused against this land to bring on it every curse that is written in this Book.  And the LORD uprooted them from their land in anger, and wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land as it is today’.

And Moses concluded his 29th Chapter of Deuteronomy with these wonderful words of encouragement: The secret things belong to the LORD our GOD, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this Law.  The scattering of the southern kingdom and tribes is recorded in 2nd Kings 24:20 and 25: 21, and this came about primarily because of the particular sins of the kings of Judah, Manasseh and Jehoiakim, who shed innocent blood and did evil in the sight of the LORD.  But Manasseh seduced them, the people, to do more evil than the nations whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel. (2nd Kings, 21, verse 9).

Listen to the LORD speaking through His prophets in verses 11 and 12:  Because Manasseh, the king, has done these abominations, he acted more wickedly than all the Amorites who were before him, and has also made Judah sin with his idols.  Therefore, thus sayeth the LORD, the GOD of Israel, ‘Behold! I am bringing such calamity upon Jerusalem and Judah that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle’.

The Gentile nations then, and throughout the ancient period, had looked upon what was occuring to the children of Israel with trepidation; not because their strength in themselves might have been greater than their own, for even in their ignorance they recognized that they not only faced the armies of the Israelites, but that their GOD, the GOD of Israel, is He Who gives strength and power to His people; (Psalm 68, verse 35).  They had great fear of the vengeance of the GOD of Israel, and we know from Biblical accounts, that He used the nations in many ways in order to chastise Israel for their disobedience of the Law and Statutes.

Nevertheless, GOD’s ultimate plan is to restore Israel to its original rightful place and position.  But not without suffering much persecution among the nations.  GOD in His mercy, however, has given a dire warning to anyone, nation or person, that touches His people, that they will inevitably come up against the LORD GOD of Israel, Who will avenge them.  There are numerous Biblical facts of events to this end, and much prophecy that has already happened, and some yet to be fulfilled.  But time does not permit me to quote much more in this broadcast.

Even though the children of Israel were scattered throughout the world, the LORD was still with them, especially during the seventy years of the Babylonian exile, when many prospered materially, as well as spiritually;  when the door was opened for them to return to Judah and Jerusalem, they began to rebuild and settle down in their country once again.  These events are well recorded in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, yet most stayed in the diaspora because they became used to an easy life in their adopted lands. Even today, we have more of our people in the diaspora, many times more than in Israel, the land GOD promised to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

In the famous vision shown the Prophet, Zechariah, of the horns and the measuring line, we can grasp the mercy of our LORD towards His people, even in the height of their affliction.  Zechariah, Chapter 1, verse 18 to Chapter 2, verse 5: Then I raised my eyes and looked – and there were four horns! And I said to the angel who talked with me, ‘What are these?’  So he answered me, ‘These are the horns that have scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem.’  Then the LORD showed me four craftsmen, and I said, ‘What are these coming to do?’  So He said, ‘These are the horns that scattered Judah, so that no one could lift up his head, but the craftsmen are coming to terrify them, to cast out the horns of the nations that lifted up their horn against the land of Judah to scatter it.’  Then I raised my eyes and looked – and behold, a man with a measuring line in his hand!  So I said, ‘Where are you going?’  And he said to me, ‘To measure Jerusalem to see what its width and what is its length.’  And there was the angel who talked with me going out, and another angel was coming out to meet him, who said to him, ‘Run, speak to this young man saying, ’Jerusalem shall be inhabited as towns without walls because of the multitude of men and livestock in it.  For I’, says the LORD, ‘will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.’ Thus we end this discussion about Israel's scattering with God's promise that He will regather his people. But we will deal with that regathering in another article. I pray the LORD will encourage us to understand Israel more so, according to His Word.  Shalom!

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