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     Many of the faithful exiles were persecuted.  Some were killed because they refused to honor festivals instead of the Sabbath.  God brought His followers face to face with kings and other rulers so they could witness for Him.  Over and over, the great rulers were led to admit the supreme power of the God of the Hebrew captives.

     The Israelites who finally were allowed to return to their land, eventually became convinced that their only hope for prosperity was to obey the law of God.  But with most, this was not an obedience of love.  Their motives were selfish, only to keep their nation strong. 

     Instead of becoming the light of the world, they shut themselves away from other nations to avoid temptation.  They considered Jerusalem their heaven, the last thing they wanted was God’s favor on any other nation.

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