Although we often think of the Jewish diaspora beginning with destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in 70 C.E., it actually began about 800 years earlier when the Assyrians destroyed the kingdom of Israel and exiled many of its inhabitants. A century and a half later, the kingdom of Judah was destroyed by the Babylonians, beginning the famous period of the Babylonian exile of the Jews. A well-developed diasporan culture had already developed in the Roman Empire by the time of Jesus and the later defeat of the major Jewish revolts in 70 and 132 C.E.
Divine Principle teaches that if the Jewish nation had accepted Jesus as the Messiah, the religion of Jesus—not Christianity but a form of Judaism—would have become the dominant world religion. If so, the character of the Jewish diaspora would have been very different from what it became. Instead of being an outcast ethnic and religious group, the Jews scattered throughout the world would have become a highly honored class. According to Zechariah 8:23: "In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, 'Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.'"
Despite the suffering of the majority of diasporan Jews during the last 2000 years, the Jews were able to make large contributions to world culture in the fields of law, literature, science, economics, art and religion. The nation of Israel, meanwhile, became a testimony to the cultural achievements of Jewish civilization, becoming a highly prosperous and influential nation since its establishment in 1948 as a collection of mostly impoverished refugees from the Holocaust.
In a larger sense, we are all people of the "diaspora," living away from our original home of the Garden of Eden
. The longing for the Ideal exists in the heart of every human being, making us a world of refugees. Today, according to the Reverend Sun Myung Moon
, the way back to our "original homeland" is again open, and God is calling us all to enter.