There are so many prophecies and promises in the Bible concerning Israel that have come true, especially in the last 200 years, that no one could possibly have predicted or imagined. It shows that God can see the future, foretold it in his word, and has been utterly faithful in keeping his promises.
More than 300 years ago, King Louis XIV, the ruler of France, asked the famous philosopher and mathematician, Blaise Pascal, to prove the existence of God. Pascal replied: “Well, Your Majesty, the Jews! The Jews!” Their remarkable story of survival and their journey through history till today reveals that time after time, God’s word is true.
Persecution – Deuteronomy 28
Exactly as Moses predicted in Deuteronomy 28, the Jewish people have suffered greatly, and been persecuted wherever they have gone. They have been repeatedly conquered by various empires and regimes, and while in exile they have suffered numerous violent persecutions. Thousands were slaughtered in the Crusades and millions in the Holocaust. They suffered the evils of the Inquisition and the repeated trauma of being forcibly expelled from country after country. The persecution of the Jewish people has been relentless and really quite extraordinary. If you are not sure about this statement, just do a Google search, and you’ll see what I mean. Yet somehow, they are still alive to tell the tale.
A divinely preserved people – Jeremiah 31
History books show that when people groups are dispersed from their homeland, they gradually lose their ethnic identity and are eventually assimilated or lost after a maximum of five generations. But somehow, the people of Israel have maintained their Jewish identity for thousands of years in exile. This, too, is extraordinary. But not surprising, if we believe the Bible. Why? Because God promised in Jeremiah 31:35-36 that as long as the sun and moon are still in place, Israel will never cease to be a nation before him. Last time I checked, all three were carrying on just fine. Because God’s word is faithful and true, even though we are not.
A regathered and restored nation – Isaiah 49, Jeremiah 16 and 31, Ezekiel 36, Amos 9, Zechariah 12, and many, many more!
Against all odds, Israel was declared a state once again in the land of Israel, on May 14th, 1948. Immediately following the re-establishment of the State of Israel, five armies gathered against the brand new country to destroy it, and remarkably (miraculously), despite very little in the way of soldiers, training, or weapons, all of which had been forbidden under the British Mandate, Israel somehow won. This miracle was repeated again in the wars of 1967 and 1973. Each time it seemed almost inevitable that Israel would be finished, but to everyone’s surprise, the exact opposite happened: Israel survived and thrived. Since then, the Jews have continued to return to their homeland from all over the world – at the founding of the state, only 6% of all the world’s Jewish population lived in Israel; today it is almost 50%, and steadily growing. This is a testimony to the truth of God’s word – he promised over and over that he would bring his people back to the land, and he has done it, just as he promised. The Jewish people are back in Israel despite their unfaithfulness, because God has promised, and he remains faithful even when we are not.
A resurrected language – Zephaniah 3:9, Jeremiah 31:23
Just as God promised, the Hebrew language was brought back to life after being a dead language for thousands of years. It is the only time in history that this has ever happened. Back in the 1950s, Israel’s streets were full of many languages as people were coming from all corners of the earth, with many languages and dialects, but today, the vast majority of Israel’s population grew up speaking Hebrew as their mother tongue.
The remarkable story of the restoration of the Hebrew language started in 1877, with a young man called Eliezar ben Yehuda, who said, “I heard an inner voice calling to me: ‘Revive Israel and its language in the land of the fathers’”.
His story is not an easy one by any means, but God used this young man to bring his word to pass. Today in Israel, for the first time since the early church, thousands of Messianic Jews read the Scriptures in the original language – in their mother tongue: Hebrew! Now, with the help and insight of the Holy Spirit, believing Israelis are uncovering wonderful insights in the text that are not visible to those who cannot read Hebrew. This too is a mighty work of our faithful God.
The land of Israel responds to the people of Israel – Isaiah 27:6, 35
He also promised to send rain to sustain his people, and remarkably, meteorological data shows that every time there was a wave of aliyah – Jewish people returning to Israel – there was a corresponding increase in rainfall to keep up with them! The land of Israel has flourished and blossomed, and filled supplies the world with fruit. Just as God said it would. Shops all over the world carry fruit, vegetables and other produce from Israel, much of which was grown in the desert! Israel’s technological developments have enabled them to find creative ways of making even the most barren places fertile and productive. The cherry tomato was invented in an area close to the Dead Sea, and desalination systems and the revolutionary drip-irrigation method have been developed in Israel, which has changed farming in hot climates for many around the world. On top of all that, there have been many great breakthroughs in science and medicine as the people have been living and thriving back in their own land again.
A land given by God – Genesis 12-13
About 4,000 years ago God commanded Abraham to leave his country and assured him:
“Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonours you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3); “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northwards and southwards and eastwards and westwards, for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.” (Genesis 13:14-15).
Some today are unsure if this promise still stands, but ask yourself – when has God ever broken his word? It is no accident that the people of God are back in the land God promised to their forefathers – their restoration, though fraught with challenges and sorrows for many people, is a fulfilment of God’s word. Because God is faithful and true, even though we are not.
Here is what Charles Spurgeon had to say on the matter:
“I think we do not attach sufficient importance to the restoration of the Jews.
We do not think enough about it. But certainly, if there is anything promised in the Bible it is this.
I imagine that you cannot read the Bible without seeing clearly that there is to be an actual restoration of the Children of Israel.”
God promised he would do it, and he has done it. Not because Israel is in any way better than any other nation – in fact, God says the opposite! “It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers.” (Deuteronomy 7:7)
From Father Abraham to the streets of Israel today, the story of the people of Israel at every corner proves that while we fail God over and over, he is faithful and his word is true. As we celebrate the promised re-establishement of Israel, let’s recognise the epic story of God’s faithfulness as demonstrated not only in the pages of the Bible, but in the same piece of real estate that he promised to the forefathers thousands of years ago. He is the same God, yesterday, today and forever. The God of Israel keeps his promises! If he has done all this for Israel, you can count on his faithfulness to you too.
 Levi Soshuk and Azriel Louis Eisenberg, Momentous Century: Personal and Eyewitness Accounts of the Rise of the Jewish Homeland and State, 1875-1978, Associated University Presses, 1984, p.51