There is a story concerning Frederick the Great who, in frustration, demanded from his cabinet that somebody provide him with proof of the existence of God. There was a monetary silence before one of his counselors spoke up: “Have you considered the Jew, your Majesty?” He asked. The continuing existence of the Jew is one of the many evidences of God’s existence.
The Jews are the physical evidence of God on earth. You can dispute and scientifically explain away the Hebraic- Christian concept, and every human evidence of God’s existence, but you cannot explain away the Jew. John Adams, America’s second president said,
The Jews have done more to the civilization of mankind than any other Nation. They are the most glorious Nation that ever inhabited the earth. The Romans and their Empire were but a bauble in comparison to the Jews. They have given religion to three-quarters of the globe and have influenced the affairs of mankind more, and more happily than any other Nation, ancient or modern.
In the epilogue of his work A History of the Jews, historian Paul Johnson writes,
In his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus describes Abraham as a man of great sagacity; (exceptional or extraordinary discernment) or who had “higher notions of virtue than others of his time.” He therefore determined to change completely the views which all then had about God.” One way of summing up 4,000 years of Jewish history is to ask ourselves what would have happened to the human race if Abraham had not been a man of great sagacity, or if he had stayed in Ur and kept his higher notions to himself, and no specific Jewish people had come into being. Certainly, the world without the Jews would have been a radically different place. Humanity might have eventually stumbled upon all the Jewish insights. But we cannot be sure. All the great conceptual discoveries of the human intellect seem obvious and inescapable once they had been revealed, but it requires a special genius to formulate them for the first time. The Jews had this gift. To them we owe the idea of equality before the law, both divine and human; of the sanctity of life and the dignity of human person; of the individual conscience and so a personal redemption; of collective conscience and so of social responsibility; of peace as an abstract ideal and love as the foundation of justice, and many other items which constitute the basic moral furniture of the human mind. Without Jews it might have been a much emptier place.
But where did these values and principles of the modern world that Johnson is talking about come from? In his well written and researched book, World Perfect: The Jewish Impact on Civilization Rabbi Ken Spiro notes that while developing an idea for a lecture program, he conducted a series of surveys over a period of two years, asking people to list the fundamental values and principles which they felt we needed to uphold in order to make our world as perfect as is humanly possible.
In total, some fifteen hundred individuals were questioned. Overwhelmingly, his respondents—predominantly Westerners, from the United States, Canada, South America, England, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Italy, etc–came up with remarkably similar answers, which could be grouped into these six categories:
- Respect for Human Life. In a perfect world, all people would be guaranteed certain basic human rights, paramount among which must be the right to life. They should be able to live that life without constant fear of its loss and with certain basic dignity.
- Peace and Harmony. On all levels—whether communal or global—people and nations should co-exist in peace and harmony with respect for each other.
- Justice and Equality. All people, regales of race, sex, or social status should be treated equally and fairly in the eyes of the law.
- Education. Everyone should receive a basic education that would guarantee functional literacy within society.
- Family. A strong, stable family structure needs to exist to serve as the moral foundation for society and as the most important institution for socializing/educating children.
- Social Responsibility. On an individual, community, national and global level, people must take responsibility for the world. This should include an organized social network to address basic concerns such as disease, poverty, famine, crime, drug-related problems, as well as environmental and animal protection issues.
Yes it is true as Ken Spiro states that our moral values do not originate from one of the great civilizations, but have been bequeathed to us by a small, otherwise insignificant nation inhabiting a tiny piece of real estate in the Middle East. The Jews were the chosen people chosen by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob people to disseminate them to the world. They were chosen indeed as the Lord Himself said:
For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 7:6-8 NKJV)
This was the story they told from the time they appeared on the world scene around 1300 BCE, hundreds of years before the ascent of the Greek civilization. Back then, they were still a newly emerging nation that functioned more like a large extended family, all family members tracing their ancestry to a man named Abraham who had lived somewhere around 1,800 BCE. They were a strange people with an even stranger religion:
- They believed in only one God — all-powerful, infinite, and invisible — who had created everything known to man, a notion totally foreign to every ancient people that preceded them.
- They claimed that all of them — some 600,000 men and untold number of women and children — had miraculously escaped from slavery in Egypt, then the mightiest empire on earth, through the miraculous intervention of their God.
- They claimed that after their great escape, they reached a mountain in the wilderness, Mt. Sinai, where they all had an encounter with God; during that encounter, and through the person of their leader Moses, they supposedly received a code of behavior — compiled in a holy book known as the “Torah” — which they scrupulously followed.
Yeshua is the Greatest Blessing
The Scriptures through the Holy Spirit make us to understand that God chose the Jews (His own people) to be the people through whom the rest of mankind could find salvation through His Jewish Son Jesus Christ. About four thousand years ago God chose a man called Abram later renaming him Abraham. In Genesis 12:2-3 the Bible tells us:
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you with abundant increase of favors and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing (dispensing good to others). And I will bless those who bless you who confer prosperity or happiness upon you and curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed and by you they will bless themselves.
The Lord Jesus Christ, all the twelve apostles, and the original Christian church were all Jews, as were the Old Testament patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, along with his twelve sons. Moses was also Jewish, as were the prophets Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel, Amos, Micah and the kings of Israel, like David, Solomon, and Hezekiah.
No one had been on David’s throne for 600 years until Jesus who would be the rightful King. The gospel according to Matthew sees Jesus as the King of Jews, the one who fulfills the promises of the prophets. Without the Jews, there would be no Bible, no gospel, and no salvation presented to the entire world. In fact, without the Jewish Jesus, there would be no Christianity.
Jesus Christ is the greatest blessing the world has ever possessed. And all the true blessedness the world is now or ever shall be possessed of is owing to Abraham and his posterity. The Jews are the stock on which the Christian church is grafted. (See Romans 11:13-22) Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah of the Jewish people. For that reason our spiritual lineage extends all the way back to Abraham.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) who wrote one of his best-known books Ethics emphasized that:
Western history is, by God’s will, indissolubly linked with the people of Israel. Jesus Christ is the sign of the free mercy-choice and of repudiating the wrath of God. Paul reminds us of this, “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off” (Romans 11:22). That is why an expulsion of the true Jews from the West must bring with it the expulsion of Christ, for Jesus Christ is first and foremost a Jew.