Sermon: The Doctrine of Israel (Part Five): A Remnant of Judah
Exile, Return, and Disobedience
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Given 08-Feb-20; 75 minutes
Mesopotamian empires characteristically subjected conquered peoples to enforced resettlement. History (usually written by the victors) speaks glowingly of the practice. The fall of Judah involved at least four enforced resettlements under the Assyrians and Babylonians. The Persians, under Cyrus, reversed this resettlement policy, permitting remnants of captive peoples to return to their homes. The resettlement of Judah (involving slavery) resulted from her dogged rejection of God, eventually causing her to sin on a greater scale than even Sodom and Gomorrah and the Kingdom of Israel. Despite her former relationship with God, absolutely no nation could ever out-sin Judah, even though God had given her multiple warnings to repent. After a 70-year exile, God inspired Cyrus to permit a sizeable remnant to return to Jerusalem. But even as the task of rebuilding the Temple and the city commenced, the people of Judah began to fall back into their erstwhile habits (Haggai 1 and 2, Zechariah 1: 1-7), profaning the Sabbath, marrying pagan spouses, assimilating into pagan religions and robbing God of His tithes. In time, they came to revel in a false and hypocritical piety that waxed increasingly more degenerate up to the advent of the Messiah. As part of His ministry, Christ confirmed the condemnation of these Jews, whose decadent civilization God again destroyed with the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
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