Updated: Nov 26, 2020
Years ago, I came across an amazing statistic on Wikipedia.
“As of 2017, Nobel Prizes have been awarded to 902 individuals, of whom 203, or 22.5% were Jews, although the total Jewish population comprises less than 0.2% of the world’s population. This means the percentage of Jewish Nobel laureates is 112.5 times, or 11,250% above average.”
That is a statistical anomaly that cannot be ignored! In spite of the fact that the Jewish people did not have their own country from roughly 70 AD to 1948, and were some of the most persecuted people on earth for 2,000 years, how is it they have managed to dominate almost every field from science to business?
I have an idea. God made this promise to Abraham, the father of all Jewish people.
“I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed” Genesis 26:4
We Christians have generally interpreted that passage to be about Jesus – that Jesus, who is a descendent of Abraham, would be a “blessing to all nations.” And it’s quite possible that is exactly what God had in mind. But I believe it’s also a straightforward prophecy that if the Jewish people obeyed his laws, God would make the them so gifted that their contribution to medicine, literature, mathematics, science, etc. would be a blessing to all the nations.
How else do you explain why Jews appear to be the most influential people group on earth for their size 11,250% more! I have several theories why:
God’s laws have kept Jewish people united When God gave Moses the law at Mount Sinai essentially he gave them the “constitution” for a new nation – his chosen people. He promised them, if they lived by his laws they would prosper. Even when the Israelites were in captivity in Babylon there was always a remnant who obeyed God’s laws (think Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, etc.) and in doing so, God gave them wisdom and favor with kings and rulers.When Jews were expelled from Jerusalem in 70-71 AD, they were scattered to many nations. But they retained their religion; their culture, their language and their obedience to the law, which kept both this community and individual families united and strong for almost 2,000 years, even without their own country. Amazing! I cannot think of any other people group in history who has kept their corporate identity without their own country.
Jews value literacy In the book “The Chosen Few,” the author makes this statement, “In a world, until roughly 1500 AD, of almost universal illiteracy, except clergy, rabbis required every Jewish person, child and adult, rich or poor to read the Torah.”But the benefits of literacy went way beyond religious instruction. It made many Jewish people indispensable as advisors to kings and leaders in governments, bankers, merchants, engineers and international traders. If a Jew can learn to read one language, it made learning other languages needed for commerce and government, so much easier.
Jewish people have had to depend on one another Because “the Jews killed Jesus” they became the most persecuted people group in every Christian country where they lived. Every 50-100 years the citizens of various countries would declare death to the Jesus killers, called Pogroms – the mass slaughter of tens of thousands of Jews. So Jews often lived in very close communities for protection, which kept them united. As a result of both God’s prohibition and the Christian church’s laws against marrying a Jew, they rarely married outside their religion, so they did not assimilate into the culture as easily as other people groups.
Christians were not allowed to charge interest on loans. Jews could and did. Jews were prohibited from charging interest on loans to other Jews, but in many countries Jewish bankers had a monopoly on banking to Christians. This not only made them rich, but their wealth also increased their danger. One sure fire way to take care of your financial debts, was for kings and rulers to declare a Pogrom. No banker – no debt. So the very success of Jewish bankers increased the danger of death. So what could be done?One reason Jews got into the diamond business is that diamonds were small, valuable and portable. If and when a pogrom was declared, Jews could leave a city or country, and take much of their wealth with them quickly in the form of diamonds because gold was too heavy to carry. Unlike most refugees in history who arrive in a safe country, many Jewish people arrived with the capital to begin again quickly.
One of Chuck Colson’s favorite non-Christian authors, and mine is William Manchester, a Jew. Much of what I’ve described comes from his wonderful book about the middle ages, A World Lit Only By Fire.
“As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” Romans 11:28, 29
I believe this passage and others, show that in spite of their unbelief, God is keeping his covenant with Abraham in ways we can’t always understand. His chosen people are a blessing to all nations. We Christians should thank God for God-fearing, Jehovah loving Jewish people and pray for them to come to full faith in their Messiah, Jesus.
How following Jesus works in real life.
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