Why Jews have suffered
Reader, if you are wondering why we would say that Jews have suffered terribly for the last 2500+ years -- then please take a few minutes to read the historic record. Starting with Nebuchadnezzar's sacking of Jerusalem in 587 B.C., then the siege of Jerusalem in 69-73 A.D., the Diaspora, and then a constant war of attrition by both "Christian" and Muslim governments, punctuated by brief periods of terror and slaughter, Jewish history has been startling in the scope and horror of its suffering.
And then there was the Jewish suffering in the years before and during World War II -- an experience so grim and horrific that new words had to be coined to describe it. Genocide (the selection and murder of a family of man); Final Solution (the ironic phrase coined by the Nazis to describe their quest for total destruction of everything Jewish); Holocaust (a term borrowed from the Hebrew Bible to describe the burnt offering sacrifice, consumed on the fire until only ashes and smoke remained.)
No one can be blamed for concluding, after events such as these, that there is no God in heaven, and no redeemable humanity upon this earth.
It is hard to find any compelling reason for the random sufferings of the Africans, the Kurds, the Aztecs or Seminoles. But because of the Jewish calling as People of the Land, we can identify some Biblical reasons for the terrible suffering which has come their way...
- Hosea 3:4-5 - Israel experienced the loss of their legitimate things like kings, other rulers, and sacrifices. And they also experienced the loss of the illegitimate things of their past: idols, images, etc. Why? God says, "I will punish them for their ways, and reward them for their doings." Hosea 4:9. Part of what Israel experienced was the loving hand of God's correction, a proportionate payback for the idolatry and disobedience of the nation in ancient times. But it is clear that these are corrective, instructive judgments by God, and that a great blessing is to follow the end of the suffereing. For example, Hosea 3:5 states, "Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days." The national punishment is designed by God to prepare the Jews for a national blessing.
- Isaiah 47:6-14 states that when God was angry with his People, the Jews,
he put them under the care of Babylon. But Babylon "did not show them
This passage appears to have literally been fulfilled on a small scale with the capture of Israel by ancient Babylon. However, the Revelation 17, 18, and 19 accounts demonstrate that there is another, more complete fulfillment of prophecies about "Babylon" -- a world government that oppressed both Jewish people and authentic Christians.
See our full message to Christians about the separate destiny of the Jewish people, including why Jews were disciplined but why "Christians" will be punished for their cruelty.
*Other people-groups have similar claims to great suffering: most notably, the black nations of Africa, who were relentlessly hunted and murdered and sold into slavery by ... white "Christians". Estimates of 50 to 100 million deaths in the Middle Passage alone are offered by historians who have studied the institution of African slavery. For the Bible's view on the Church's responsibility for these woes, read Revelation 18.
Other people-groups that have suffered at the hands of fellow-humans in great numbers are the indigenous Americans of North and South America, who were decimated by diseases and wars brought by "Christian" conquerors; and more recently, the Armenians and Kurds.
Regardless of who "wins" the pain comparison, we can be sure of one thing, if we believe the Bible: those groups that have suffered most will one day soon be competing to see who can claim the greatest joy. All the families of the earth will be blessed, starting with the Jews. Every unjust lash of the whip, every unpaid debt of oppression and arrogance and murder will be corrected by the complete restoration of all people to life on earth, with full accountability, repentance, and forgiveness being experienced by all the parties involved.