Deuteronomy 29 makes some unlikely predictions about the nations of the world and their future beliefs regarding the Jewish people. Deuteronomy 29 states:
21. And a later generation, your descendants, who will rise after you, along with the foreigner who comes from a distant land, will say, upon seeing the plagues of that land and the diseases with which the Lord struck it:
22. Sulfur and salt have burned up its entire land! It cannot be sown, nor can it grow [anything], not [even] any grass will sprout upon it. It is like the overturning of Sodom, Gemorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord overturned in His fury and in His rage.
23. And all the nations will say, Why did the Lord do so to this land? What [is the reason] for this great rage of fury?
24. And then they will say, It is because they abandoned the covenant of the Lord, God of their fathers, [the covenant] which He made with them when He took them out of the land of Egypt,
25. For they went and served other deities, prostrating themselves to them deities which they had not known, and which He had not apportioned to them.
26. And the Lord’s fury raged against that land, bringing upon it the entire curse written in this book.
27. And the Lord uprooted them from upon their land, with fury, anger and great wrath, and He cast them to another land, as it is this day.
Notice what the above verses are telling us. The nations of the world are asking these questions about the Jewish people and the land of Israel. And these same nations are providing the answers to their own questions. It’s clear from the text that the Jewish people are not the ones answering seeing as how verses 24-27 refer to the Jewish people in the third person.
By analyzing the content of these questions and answers, we can derive some very important biblical prophecies. The bible was predicting here that at some point during the Jewish exile the nations of the world would hold the following beliefs:
- Belief in the God of the bible (“Why did the Lord do so”)
- Belief that God took the Israelites out of Egypt (“when He took them out of the land of Egypt”)
- Belief that God made a covenant with the Israelites (“the covenant of the Lord”)
- Belief that the Israelites subsequently broke that covenant (“they abandoned the covenant”)
- Belief that God therefore brought on the Israelites and the land all the curses written in the bible (“the Lord uprooted them from upon their land, with fury, anger and great wrath”)
Yet the nations who hold these beliefs are not Jews.
These words are prophetic. During ancient Israelite history, there was no record of entire nations who believed that the bible was from God. The Romans, Greeks, Persians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, and any other nation that came in contact with the ancient Israelites never held that the bible was the book of the one true God.
However, after the Jews were exiled from their land by the Romans, two major world religions developed that based themselves on the teachings and ideas of the bible, namely Christianity and Islam. These two religions proselytized to nations from across the globe, and in doing so gained a few billion followers. And amazingly, Christianity and Islam both taught the idea that God, who took the Jews out of Egypt, exiled the Jews from their land, and punished them for breaking His covenant. All these prophecies came about just as the bible foretold.
Who would have ever foreseen that the religious texts of the small Jewish people would go on to become the best selling book in history that provided the moral foundation of western civilization? Who would have thought that while Judaism itself was destined to remain a smaller religion, it would nonetheless spawn major world religions that over half the population on earth would adhere to? This is one of the truly divine aspects of the bible. It has accurately predicted, and continues to accurately predict the future events of mankind.
Photo of Makhtesh Ramon by Rhododendrites
Bible translation from Chabad.org.