Unique Among The Nations

Israel 's unique status among the family of nations may be disputed; it may even be hotly contested; even some Jewish people have suggested that they'd be grateful if God chose some other nation to occupy the 'hot seat' to give them some respite from the blame for this or that!

There are however some indisputable facts that give Israel its uniqueness. We find one of them in Deuteronomy 7:6-8 when Moses taught them:

" . . . 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 . . . "

Another facet of their uniqueness which Moses reminded them about as "he spoke to the children of Israel according to all that the LORD had given him as commandments to them" (Deuteronomy 1:5): "For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him?

"And what great nations is there that has such statutes and righteous judgements as are in all this law which I set before you this day?" (Deuteronomy 4:7-8) The Psalmist too reiterates this great truth when he says: "He declares His word to Jacob, His statutes and His judgements to Israel. He has not dealt thus with any other nations; and as for His judgements, they have not known them." (Psalm 147:19-20)

Israel is unique because its history, past, present and future is recorded in the Bible. As an example of its accuracy we remember the prophecy given by Moses that if the people were disobedient to the Lord in the Land they would be carried captive into Egypt by ship, where they would be sold as slaves.

"And the LORD will take you back to Egypt in ships, by the way of which I said to you, 'You shall never see it again.' And there you will be sold as male and female slaves . . . " (Deuteronomy 28:68)

The mass return of Jews to Egypt was fulfilled in 70CE after the Romans crushed the Jewish revolt. At that time thousands of Jewish captives were taken to Egypt in Roman galleys and were sold on the slave markets of Alexandria.

Jeremiah too prophesied that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon would bring destruction throughout the land and take Judah captive for seventy years. "'Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,' says the LORD, 'and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land . . . and this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.'" (25:9, 11)

We read of the fulfilment of this prophecy, firstly when Daniel confirmed Jeremiah's word he had been reading: " . . . I Daniel understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD, given through Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem." (9:2), and secondly by Ezra.

For when the seventy years of captivity ended we read that Cyrus, King of Persia, made a proclamation, saying, "Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah.

"Who is there among you of all His people?... Let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem." This was so "that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled." (Ezra 1:2-3, v:1)

The New Testament records prophecies concerning Jerusalem that highlight the accuracy of Bible prophecy and the uniqueness of Israel even in current world events. The Messiah foretold both the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70CE, and its later restoration to Israel, which occurred during the Six Day War of 1967.

He said: "For the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation." (Luke 19:43-44)

Luke further records the Messiah's words: "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near . . . for these are the days of vengeance, that all things that are written may be fulfilled . . . For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people.

"And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." (Luke 21:20, 22, 24)

That was the prophecy of the destruction by the Romans. Jerusalem suffered precisely as prophesied. There was "great distress in the land" ; they did "fall by the edge of the sword" ; they were "led away captive into all nations" ; and Jerusalem was "trampled by Gentiles" for nineteen centuries.

Probably with the liberation of Jerusalem from Gentile control we have reached a prophetic milestone signalling the final collapse of Gentile domination over Jerusalem. And one day the nation of Israel will fulfil its role among the nations, when following the "time of Jacob's trouble" a purged and repentant nation will emerge to be "the head and not the tail" (Deuteronomy 28:13). That will certainly make Israel unique!

One of the things that makes Israel unique among the nations today is its rebirth upon the soil of its ancient homeland after so many centuries, an event which was foretold more than two thousand five hundred years ago. And the restoration of Hebrew as a living language, the official language of the State of Israel, has no parallel.

Perhaps the most significant example of Israel's uniqueness is the fact that it is the only nation that is prophesied to be a saved nation–the entire people "saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation." (Isaiah 45:17)

Paul, writing to the people of Rome, taught this truth: "And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and he will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins." (Romans 11:26-27)

This nation is unique in that it is locked into an everlasting covenant with God, and when they repent of their national sin of their rejection of the Messiah whom He sent, then "all Israel will be saved." How more unique can a nation get than that?