Tuesday, October 19, 2010
The Miracle of the Nation of Israel
The prophets of the Bible stated over 3000 times, in various ways, that they were giving or writing God's own word to man: the Scriptures. The Apostle Peter stated it this way: "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:20-21).
The single major evidence which God gave to demonstrate that the Bible was from God Himself, is the fact that it fairly specifically predicts events in human history, which are then accurately fulfilled. God lays out a very tough challenge to any prophet-pretenders in Isaiah 44:7, when he says, "Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare ...what is yet to come-- yes, let him foretell what will come!" God repeats this challenge when he says, "I am God and there is none like me. I make known from ancient times ...what is still to come" (Isa. 44:9-10). These are only several of many we find in scriptures.
It is fascinating to see the accuracy of The Bible in the fulfillment of its many prophecies. One particular topic regards Israel. These people, called God’s chosen, have survived what would have –what should have destroyed any other people. It is staggering to think of what the Jewish people have endured and yet today, they thrive. It is a miracle that is so-often overlooked.
In approximately 626 BC, God used the prophet Jeremiah (in Jer. 25:8-14; 29:10-11; 30:3,11) to foretell the captivity of Israel to the Babylonians for 70 years, and indeed, this was fulfilled when Nebucchadnezzar captured Israel in 606 BC, and they were finally released 70 years later, in 536 BC.
We do read in Ezekiel chapters 36, 37, 38 and 39 of a different dispersion of Israel which is among basically all the nations of the world, and this dispersion comes to an end as Israel returns to their land "in the latter years" (Ezek. 38:8). Let’s remember that Israel was captive in Egypt, freed by God through Moses and was allowed to wander in the desert for 40 years. During this time, scripture tells us that God provided their food, their light and even their clothing did not wear out. It is incredible to think of this!
Deuteronomy 8:2-6, “ And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. 3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger , and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know ; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live . 4 Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell , these forty years. 5 Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee. 6 Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.”
This not only documents what God did for His people, but reminds them as well as us to REMEMBER! We tend to have a short memory and God wants us to know that He provides all of our needs, each and every one of them.
In Ezekiel 36,37, 38 and 39, we see that the "latter years" (or "latter days") will be a time when God says he will specially "put My Spirit within" the returning Israelis, and other believers (Ezek. 36:27; 37:14 & 39:29), and the prophet Joel says quite similarly, that there will come special days when God says he'll "pour out My Spirit," and in those days, God will "restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem" (Joel 2:29; 3:1).
We know that this "latter years" outpouring of God's Spirit relates to more recent centuries, because in Acts Chapter 2, the Apostle Peter specifically states that the coming of the Holy Spirit on that "Day of Pentecost" was precisely what was spoken of through the prophet Joel, when Joel said, "in the last days, God says, I will pour forth of My Spirit" (see Acts 2:16,17). This also refers to a future event.
Since Acts 2 in about the year 33 AD, we have been in the "latter days," and it is part of the latter days (or years) that God declared through the prophet Ezekiel that he would "gather" the dispersed people of Israel back to their land, and restore their fortunes there.
Israel has survived many “dispersions” which have been referenced throughout Holy Scripture. The dispersion of Israel during the "latter days" actually started in 70 AD, when the General Titus of Rome came with his military and destroyed Jerusalem, and burned and tore down the Jewish Temple, and this dispersed the people of Israel out into basically all the nations of the earth, in fulfillment of prophecy (Ezek. 36:3,19). In fact, Jesus also said that "this people" (Israel) would be "led captive into all the nations," and Jerusalem trampled underfoot (Luke 21:23,24). --And the Jews were dispersed, and remained this way until the fulfillment of yet another prophecy made it possible for Israel to become a sovereign nation. In their absence however, others took over the land of Israel, and called it their own. Over time the land became desolate (Ezek. 36:2-5).
Bible scholars such as James Grant of England, who in 1866 said, "The personal coming of Christ, to establish His millennial reign on earth, will not take place until the Jews are restored in their own land, and the enemies of Christ and the Jews have gathered together their armies from all parts of the world, and have commenced the siege of Jerusalem..." In 1864, Dr. John Cumming spoke of Israel's re-gathering: "How comes it to pass that as a nation they have been dispersed over every land, yet insulated, separated, and alone amid the nations?
The predictions of their restoration are in words as definite only not yet fulfilled. As a nation they were cut off and dispersed, and it is as a nation that they shall be gathered and restored." Many Bible scholars have noted these events
It is yet another miracle indeed in the events that took place which allowed Israel to become a nation. On May 14th, 1948, after the horrors of World War II when six million Jews were murdered, the nation of Israel was formally recognized as a sovereign nation; once again back in their God-given land, where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived, and where all the kings of the Old Testament ruled: Israel. On May 14, 1948 (Midnight, Iyar 6, 'Pentecost' on the 360-Day Calendar, the anniversary of the Covenant on Mount Sinai), Israel became a sovereign nation and fulfilled Isaiah 66:8 “Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? [or] shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” May 14, 1948, the National Council declared statehood and named the new nation, Israel. As stated above, this was all done within a 24 hour period, the declaration being signed at approximately midnight, thus fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy. Read the Declaration Here One can also read more about the Balfour Declaration of 1917 which recognized Israel’s historic connection to the region now known as “Palestine.” Balfour Declaration
The Romans had changed the name of the Land of Israel to Palestine. From A.D. 640 until the 1960’s, Arabs referred to this same Land as Southern Syria, only calling the Land Palestine in the 1960’s. When the League of Nations in 1922 gave Great Britain the mandate to prepare Palestine as a national home for the Jewish people, the official name of the Land became Palestine—and remained so until the rebirth of the Israeli State in 1948. During this very period, the leaders of the Arabs in the Land, however, called themselves Southern Syrians, clamoring that the Land become a part of a Greater Syria, including Syria, Lebanon, Iraq.
We can see from past events and from fulfilled prophecy that Israel is indeed a miracle. Yet many are to come and there are too many to address here that have happened, such as in the War of 1967 when supernatural events took place that allowed Israel to persevere. As country after country lines up against the Nation of Israel today, and as Christians also stand against her, we see yet another prophecy being fulfilled.
Zechariah 12:3 “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”
Many prophecy experts today know that there are yet events which will restore Israel, reinstate the earth as God made it and establish the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lord.
All things point to the soon Rapture of the Church and God will once again turn toward His chosen people, Israel. It is amazing to contemplate the miracles that will take place in that time. Pray for Israel and continue to LOOK UP!
Sources: James Grant, The End of Things, Darton & Co, London, 1866
John Cumming, D.D., The Destiny of Nations, Hurst & Blackette, London, 1864