Your E-mails- May 2021

Your E-mails- May 2021

In your magazine you speak of Israelites and Jews as one and the same. They’re not! Jews are Israelites but not all Israelites are Jews. THAT’S CORRECT. ‘Jew’ actually means ‘man of Judah’, and Judah was just one of the 12 tribes of Israel. So why do we use the name ‘Jews’ to refer to all people of Israel? The kingdom of Israel began around 1000 bc. Its history is recorded in the Bible books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. In time the kingdom split in two—ten tribes formed the northern kingdom which is known as Israel, and two tribes formed the southern kingdom. Judah was the dominant of these tribes and so the southern kingdom was known as Judah. The northern kingdom was destroyed by the Assyrians around 700 bc and the ten tribes were scattered. The southern kingdom was destroyed by the Babylonians around 600 bc, but its

Zephaniah

Zephaniah

ZEPHANIAH WAS a prophet of God during the reign of King Josiah over Judah, about 630 bc. Through him God warned that He would punish Israel’s neighbours for their false religion, violence and fraud (1:2–3). Judah too would be punished! Impending Judgements First, God would send the Scythians. They would attack the Philistines, Moabites, Ethiopians and Assyrians (2:4–15). Later, God would send the Babylonians against Assyria. Nineveh, its capital, would be overthrown. This was fulfilled in 612 bc. These events involving surrounding nations were to be a warning to Judah. Jerusalem itself would likewise be overthrown by the Babylonians. Some 25 years later the Babylonian attacks on Judah began. Jerusalem was finally overthrown by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 bc and many Jews were taken into captivity. Nevertheless, even in such troubled times, God promised ultimate salvation for the faithful. The Jews were to be punished by God for their rebellion against

The Governor’s Memoir

The Governor’s Memoir

Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor who sentenced Jesus Christ to death. This is an imaginary memoir, but it is based on the facts as we know them from the Bible and archaeology. The Bible verses are given for reference. You can catch up with Part 1 here, and Part 2 here. Part 3 THERE WAS NOTHING I could do. I had given them the choice, they had decided, I hated the situation but I could not go back. I gave the order for the release of Barabbas, turned my back on the mob and stalked back into the Praetorium. The prisoner was dragged after me (Matthew 27:27–29). I sat weakly on my seat. This was a part of the proceedings which I often enjoyed, but today I had no stomach for it. The hall was filling with soldiers, word had got round and anyone who was off duty was

The Glory of Israel

The Glory of Israel

ALTHOUGH HIS PEOPLE were so frequently disobedient and unfaithful, God was supremely patient with them. As the prophet Isaiah reminded them: “I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, according to their own thoughts” (Isaiah 65:2). Some suggest that because of Israel’s unfaithfulness, which culminated in them rejecting and killing God’s own Son, He has disowned the nation of Israel. This is not what the Bible says. For example this is what the angel Gabriel told Mary: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. And he

God’s Hand at Work

God’s Hand at Work

THE BOOK OF ESTHER is the account of an orphaned Jewish girl who rose to become the Queen of Persia, during the Jewish exile around 500 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Esther lived with her uncle Mordecai in the Persian capital Shushan. The first two chapters relate how, due to her striking beauty and her charm, she won the heart of King Ahasuerus. At the end of chapter 2 Mordecai overheard a plot to assassinate the King. With Esther’s help he foiled it, but he received no recognition. Plot to Destroy the Jews Chapter 3 sees a man called Haman appointed as chief of the King’s nobles. All the King’s officials were obliged to bow in homage to Haman, but Mordecai refused. Furious, Haman determined to get revenge not just on Mordecai but on all his people. (Neither Haman nor Ahasuerus knew that Esther was Mordecai’s niece.) Haman

Father of the Faithful

Father of the Faithful

WE KNOW VERY LITTLE about his early life, but much about his later life. He is revered by Jews, Muslims and Christians. The Jews trace their ancestry back to Abraham and regard him as their father. We first meet him in Genesis 11:28 as Abram (before his name was changed). He was a rich man living in Ur, a city in modern Iraq. Archaeologists inform us that the inhabitants of Ur were advanced and sophisticated. Abram would be schooled in mathematics and astronomy, and he would have lived in a comfortable brickbuilt house. If he was a merchant he would have possessed his own private army to protect his business interests. His family worshipped the gods of Ur, but Abram and his wife Sarai appear to have been different, worshipping the true God. The Promises In Genesis 12:1 we see God’s call to Abram to leave his life in Ur

God’s Witnesses

God’s Witnesses

WHAT DO YOU THINK of the Jews? Whatever you think, you have to admit that they are unique. Throughout their long and turbulent history they have defied repeated attempts to destroy them. They have retained their identity despite huge pressures to assimilate into other cultures. They are a tiny minority of the world’s population, and yet their impact on history, science and culture has been huge. They seem able to attract hatred like no other group of people: there’s a special word for it, ‘anti-Semitism’. The Jews are an enigma. History They were crushed and exiled by the Babylonians in the 6th Century bc, and again by the Romans in the 1st Century ad. During the last 2000 years they have wandered all over the world, enduring persecution almost wherever they went. At various times they have been expelled from many different countries including Cyprus, Egypt, Germany, France, Spain, Italy