Stafford Christadelphians

The Christadelphian ecclesia (church) in Stafford, England

The Bible

What Christadelphians believe
Lesson 3
God's Purpose in Action – Curses

As we read through the books of the Bible, particularly the book of Deuteronomy, God warns the children of Israel the descendants of Abraham, the consequences of disobeying Him:

“But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you...”

Deuteronomy 28:15

God then lists out many terrible curses that He will bring on them and gave them the freewill to CHOOSE. In all God’s dealings with men and women He grants them this freedom to choose. He does not simply seek their obedience but their love for Him in reciprocation of the love that He Himself has for His creatures. But His anger is poured out on those who reject Him.

People these days do not like to think about God doing anything other than blessing people. But the fact is He does remove peoples out of his sight and they have no further future. In particular, the curse on the Jews was going to have such terrible results, that we can hardly bring ourselves to even read of the results according to God’s determined will:

And you shall eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your sons and daughters, whom the LORD your God has given you, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemies shall distress you.

Deuteronomy 28:53

The prospect of God’s curses is held out before the people. God is saying that in His mind, He can forsee that if they do not obey Him, a curse would be poured out on them, which would result in them losing the land promised and being scattered in the world:

And the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other ...

Deuteronomy 28:64

The People to be scattered

God had said that He would give them a land, as promised to Abraham, which had to an extent been fulfilled and indeed they were living in that very land; but because they had shown their constant disobedience and the breaking on their side, of the covenant they had made with God, there was no remedy. He would scatter them away from that land, which had been covenanted to them and agreed by them. This terrible curse and promise of scattering was said in about BC 1400.

We consider the past three and a half thousand years and learn that as God is from everlasting to everlasting, He is infinite, and we realise that His prophecies encompass vast periods of time. The question we have to ask is: “Did this take place?” “Is this showing the active foreknowledge of God? Was He right in what He said that He would scatter the Jews throughout the whole world?”

What happened?

Were the people scattered? If we turn to our history books this is the sort of pattern we find. We are not referring to the Bible at all in this quest; we are just looking at what history records as having happened. We have seen what the Bible says would happen; and we are testing that against history.

What happened? In Old Testament times the nation of Israel did go into captivity by the Assyrians and then the Babylonians – they were scattered. Then in the New Testament, around AD33, Jesus adds his words to the prophecy in Deuteronomy when he says:

... For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Luke 21:23-24

This would be the fulfilment of the curse placed on the Jewish people by Moses. Jesus predicts it in anticipation of these events. The people themselves had to choose whether they would serve God or not. God’s foreknowledge meant that He knew what they would choose, although He did not make them do it. He was able to see what would take place as if it had already happened. And Jerusalem, the capital city, was destroyed.

So, 1470 years after the curse was pronounced, the events came to pass. In AD 70 the Roman armies came into Jerusalem and sacked it. Up to a million Jews were killed in the siege and the remainder scattered into all nations. The Historian Josephus says:

In the city people were dying and enduring unspeakable sufferings. In every house the merest hint of food sparked violence and close relatives fell to blows, snatching at the pitiful supports of life.

We had read of the curse in the Bible. But the actual events have happened in recorded history. After the days of Jesus on earth, the Jews were subject to expulsions repeatedly all over Europe, and they were ‘hounded’ from place to place.

 Go back to the lessons index