"Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that Iam he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 11I,even I,am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour." Isaiah 43:10-11
Impartial witnesses can be a crucial source of evidence for situations, like serious accidents, where it is important to establish what actually happened. Nonetheless it is not always easy to get witnesses to come forward, and so it can be difficult to corroborate the claims made by people involved in an incident.
Only One God
The Bible makes very bold claims about God and contains some striking assertions about what He is like.
"I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, that they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other" (Isaiah 45:5–6).
Claims are one thing, of course, and proof is another. As no one has ever seen God (John 1:18), many people believe that there is no evidence for His existence.
Such people do not believe in any God, let alone in the unique God who is revealed in the Bible.
Evidence for God
However, the God of the Bible has provided evidence to support His claims and He has witnesses who testify to both His existence and His purpose. This is what God says to them when He summons them:
"Do not fear, nor be afraid; have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one. Those who make an image, all of them are useless, and their precious things shall not profit; they are their own witnesses; they neither see nor know, that they may be ashamed" (Isaiah 44:8–9).
This argument is repeated in more detail in Isaiah 43:9-13. God’s witnesses are the Jews, and God was saying, through His prophet, that their history makes them witnesses to His claims about Himself. For God has both made and kept promises to them and has foretold what is to happen to them in careful detail. Moreover, He stated that no other god has such witnesses and, referring to those who worship idols instead, that such things are not real gods at all.
The Jewish people are very powerful witnesses indeed because they have not volunteered to fill this role and may not even realise that they are carrying it out. Their witness is not directly under their control or their wishes. They are, therefore, most certainly impartial.
There are many prophecies about the Jews, but here we shall concentrate on two. In Deuteronomy chapter 28 God set out His promises to the nation of Israel.
Ø If they obeyed His commandments then He would care for them and protect them in the land to which He took them from Egypt.
Ø On the other hand if they disobeyed then disasters would follow. They would be taken into captivity out of their land and eventually would be scattered throughout the world.
The Jews of Old Testament times were captive for some time in Babylon, but did return to the land, but not permanently. The words of Deuteronomy were to come painfully true after A.D.70 when the Jewish people were scattered throughout the world, culminating in the holocaust in the twentieth century. These prophetic words are chilling in their accuracy:
"... And among those nations you shall find no rest, nor shall the sole 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. In the morning you shall say, ‘Oh, that it were evening!’ And at evening you shall say, ‘Oh, that it were morning!’ because of the fear which terrifies your heart, and because of the sight which your eyes see." (Deuteronomy 28:65–67).
The second important prophecy is that despite this scattering the Jews would keep their national identity – they would always be identifiable as Jews.
This was against all the odds and certainly unlike most of the other nations that were important when Isaiah and Jeremiah were prophesying. Where are the Assyrians, the Babylonians or the Philistines? But the Jews have survived as a separate and distinct people, as part of the Jews’ witness to God. As the prophet Jeremiah said:
"Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, who disturbs the sea, and its waves roar (The Lord of hosts is His name): “If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the Lord, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever” (Jeremiah 31:35–36).
God was saying that if we want to destroy the Jewish nation then that will be as difficult (or as impossible) as interfering with the systems of nature which are also under His control. Consequently the very existence of the Jews and now of the Jewish nation is powerful evidence that God is indeed the One and only true God.
Before Our Very Eyes
Prior to 1948 there were few Jews in Israel. Now there are millions of Jews back in their land, just as God promised.
The nation of Israel is constantly in our news. Despite what they may think or believe, the whole of Jewish history is a witness that the God of the Bible exists, that He is in control, and that He is the only God.
So every time you hear about Israel, remember that it is evidence for belief in God and that His gracious purpose is now quickly nearing its conclusion.