I frequently hear questions like, “Wasn’t the prophesied regathering of Israel and Judah fulfilled after the Assyrian and Babylonian captivity and before the time of Jesus Christ?” Or, “How do we know that the current state of Israel is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy?”
Those are questions that have generated a multitude of books that run into the hundreds of pages each, so I probably won’t persuade the hardened skeptic to change his mind here in this blog post. But I will try to give a summary answer to anyone willing to consider the possibility that the current state of Israel is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
First, the Jews were not scattered to the ends of the earth at the time of the Assyrian and Babylonian invasions (Jeremiah 49:28-33; Ezekiel 5:1-17; 12:1-28; Matthew 23:37-39; Luke 13:31-35; 21:20-24). They were removed to Assyria and Babylon. That’s a limited and very distinct location on the map in what would today be modern Iraq and portions of Iran. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was removed from the land in 722 B.C. by Assyria (2 Kings 17:24-34). The Southern Kingdom of Judah was removed from the land in 586 B.C. by Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:1-25:21). The scattering of the Jews to the four winds came with the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple in A.D. 70 (Matthew 23:37-39; Luke 13:31-35; 21:20-24).
Second, Israel was a vassal state to Rome in the New Testament period. That’s a nation that is under the rule or oversight of another power. Notice all the Roman authorities mentioned in the Gospels—Herod, Pilate, and Caesar. The Jews had only limited self rule in religious matters, and even then they had no authority to execute religious criminals (Matthew 27:1-26; Mark 15:1-15; John 18:38-19:15).
Third, Israel has been brought back to the land in a state of unbelief. Just as the Lord through the prophet Ezekiel predicted (Ezekiel 36). The nation will not turn to Jesus Christ until at least the middle of the Great Tribulation, when the Antichrist sets up his image in the Temple in Jerusalem (Matthew 24:15-28; Mark 13:14-23; Revelation 13:11-18), and possibly not until Jesus returns at the end of the Great Tribulation (Zechariah 12:10-13:1).
Fourth, the people were brought back to sovereign national statehood from national death. Ezekiel 37 is not about revival in the Church of Jesus Christ. Although I think we can allow for some spiritual application about the need for revival. But it’s not about revival, it’s about resurrection. Those are two different things entirely. It is about the resurrection of a dead nation, and God clearly identifies that nation as Israel. Ezekiel 37:12 says, “Therefore prophesy and say unto them, ‘Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.’” This is God raising up His people and bringing them back into the land of Israel. Interestingly, the Hebrew word for “land” in that verse is ’ÂdhÎmÎh. It means the ground, dust, or loose soil of the earth. Clearly God promised to bring the Jews back into the geographical land area He has given to them. The Jews are not the occupiers of that land. They are the rightful owners because God made an unconditional everlasting covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12).
In fact, the proper name for the modern state of Israel prophesied in Ezekiel 40:2 is Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel) (additional source: http://www.knesset.gov.il/docs/eng/megilat_eng.htm). Ezekiel 40:2 says, “In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel [Eretz Israel], and set me upon a very high mountain, by which was as the frame of a city on the south” (KJV).
Fifth, God said He would never utterly reject, cast off, or be finished with the nation of Israel (Leviticus 26:1-46; Amos 9:1-10). Leviticus 36:44 says, “And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God” (KJV). And Amos 9:8 says, “Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD” (KJV). In fact, God promised to restore David’s kingdom in Amos 9:11-15. That process did not begin in actuality until May 14, 1948, when Israel declared its independence. It will not come to complete fruition until the Millennial Kingdom begins. But we see even now that Israel is a land blooming as a rose (Isaiah 35:1).
The Word of God explicitly tells us there is no chance He will utterly and forever cast off His people Israel.
Jeremiah 31:35-37 says,
35 Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for a light by day, The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, Who disturbs the sea, And its waves roar (The LORD of hosts is His name):
36 “If those ordinances depart From before Me, says the LORD, Then the seed of Israel shall also cease From being a nation before Me forever.”
37 Thus says the LORD: “If heaven above can be measured, And the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel For all that they have done, says the LORD (NKJV).
The last time I looked the sun, moon, and stars are still in place. Neither have the astronomers found the end of the universe, although they are desperately looking for it. And the geologists have not searched out the deepest parts of the earth beneath us. I’m guessing they wouldn’t like what would find, even if they could.
Sixth, every person and every nation that has tried to destroy Israel and the Jewish people has met an unpleasant end. In the Bible, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome all came and went as great empires, but Israel and the Jewish people remained. In the 20th century, Adolph Hitler and his Nazi regime literally tried to bring about “the final solution” to “the Jewish problem.” What happened was that Germany and Europe were a divided people for nearly half a century. Only about 3 years after WWII ended, the Jewish people declared their independence as a free and sovereign state. The Land of Israel is the only free democratically governed state in the Middle East. All the Muslim states that surround Israel are ruled by tyrannical governments. Ironically, the Muslims all sided with Hitler and the Nazis during WWII. And the former Soviet Union, which also persecuted the Jews (as well as Christians), crumbled from within and ceased to exist on December 26, 1991.
Although we continue to see Israel’s enemies plotting her demise, they will meet a similar fate as all the enemies that went before. My prayer is that the United States of America is never a part of such an effort. The God of Israel will not hold us guiltless.
I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land (NKJV).
2 “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem.
3 “And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it (NKJV).
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).
Thank you very much, and have a Blessed Day in the Lord Jesus Christ!
His Hebrew name is: Yeshua haMashiach or Yehoshua haMashiach