The End Times Bible Report Quarterly

Summer 2008: Number 45

Israel: 60 Years

A Nation of Miracles

“I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.” Amos 9:14-15

The rebirth of the State of Israel in 1948 was a miracle of history. (Ezekiel 37:1-14; Luke 21:29, 30) Never before has a nation been destroyed, its people dispersed to the ends of the earth, and then nearly two thousand years later, regathered to their homeland and reestablished as a nation.

Confederated Arab Armies: The Mighty Goliath

With the approval of the United Nations, Israel declared itself a nation on May 14, 1948. This outraged her sworn enemies, and the armies of seven Arab nations marched on the newborn State. Outnumbered 100 to 1, Israel not only repelled the invading Arab armies, but miraculously acquired more of her ancient land.

The Arab nations were in shock. They had known the Jews in Baghdad, Cairo and Damascus as timid souls who sought to avoid confrontation. But the Jews of the Holy Land were different—they were Zionists who had been steeled by the horrors endured in the Holocaust. These Jews would not be beaten down again, but would persevere in the field of battle.

At last, their faith was taking root in the land of their fathers. Yigael Yadin, Israel’s commander of operations in that war, had a concise explanation of Israel’s victory. “It was a miracle!” This victory was, in reality, a fulfillment of a 2,500 year old prophecy which declared of the new, regathered nation: “They that war against thee shall be as nothing and as a thing of nought... for I will help thee.” Isaiah 41:12,13

Again, in 1967, the Arabs boasted that they would destroy Israel. However, in six days Israel overran the combined forces of Syria, Jordan and Egypt—gaining the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem, the West Bank (Samaria and Judea), and the Sinai—one of the greatest military feats in history. To many Orthodox Jews worldwide, especially in the United States, this was a wake-up call from God. Thousands poured into Israel and settled in Samaria and Judea to stake Israel’s eternal claim to the so-called West Bank—the heartland of Israel.

Israel was now a nation with a strong will to exist—though amidst an Arab host committed to her extinction. Of necessity, Israel has developed into one of the most powerful military forces in the world, yet she remains non-militaristic. Her stated desire is to live in peace with those in and outside of her borders.

Growing Anti-Semitism

An ill wind of anti-Semitism is again blowing across Europe—but with a new twist—the hatred not only of Jews as a people, but of the Jewish State. But how could this attitude develop upon the ashes of the Holocaust? In 1948, when the mechanized Arab nations charged the fledgling Israeli State’s untrained army, the world cheered the heroic underdog on to victory. Then, two more legendary victories followed in 1967 and 1973 as Israel acquired and maintained rule over the West Bank and Gaza. Outnumbered, Israel has survived in the midst of a sea of twenty-two Islamic Arab nations bent on her destruction. What has changed world opinion?

Two major factors contribute to growing anti-Semitism. Guilt ridden after the Holocaust, the world powers finally, but reluctantly, fulfilled their promise of a Jewish State after reneging since the San Remo Conference of 1920. Why the delay? Arab oil was discovered and became the driving force behind Western economies. In order to appease the oil-rich Arabs, the United Nations reduced the new Israeli State to less than 20% of the size originally promised. Thus, oil has been a primary factor in changing world opinion.

The second factor in the rise of anti-Semitism is a change of perceived roles. After the tiny nation won decisive victories in ‘48, ‘67 and ‘73, Israel was viewed as the underdog, and the Arab nations were viewed as the aggressive bully. Yassir Arafat learned from this that the world loves an underdog, and so he began a campaign in the 1960s to establish a new minority-identity for the Arabs living within Israeli borders. Although, in fact, they had been part of the one all-embracing Arab Nation within the 22 Arab States, by the 1990s Arafat’s campaign had succeeded in convincing the world that they were a dispossessed political entity—Palestinians—a distinct people from other Arabs. (Time Magazine, 1/3/94) Tens of millions of Arab oil propaganda dollars later, Israel is no longer considered the underdog, but is now thought of as the occupying bully. Palestinian sympathizers now vilify Israel as an oppressive colonial power, and Palestinian terrorists are called “freedom fighters.”

World opinion is now clamoring for Palestinian statehood encompassing the West Bank and Gaza with Jerusalem as its capital. Under extreme pressure from Europe and the United States, even many Israelis have been convinced to give up the land that God had so miraculously given back to them. World pressure may seem to have an effect, but prophecy will have its miraculous fulfilment.

The Miracle of Immigration

Yes, in spite of these on-going conflicts with their Arab neighbors and growing anti-Semitism, the miracles in Israel continue. World opinion is not God’s opinion, and Israel is fulfilling His plans for His land. Isaiah prophesied that Israel would regather a second time. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people... and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” Isaiah 11:11, 12

Jews from the four points of the compass have heard the call—miracles are happening! Come home to Israel! (Isaiah 43:5, 6) While the 1948 war was raging the newcomers poured in. During the first three years of statehood, average immigration reached 18,000 a month, and in some months the figure exceeded 30,000. Between May 15, 1948, and June 30, 1953, the Jewish population of the country doubled. By the end of 1956, Israel’s population had nearly tripled, reaching 1,667,000. Imagine the economic shock of absorption—a miracle in itself!

Jews kept pouring into Israel over the decades. In 1984 -1985 and again in 1991 harrowing airlifts brought Ethiopian Jews from utter despair to a land of hope. Finally, the long-expected prophetic fulfillment of Jews from Russia began in 1991. By the year 2000, over a million Jews returned from the former Soviet Republics (CIS) and they are still coming. Israel’s population increased from 650,000 in 1948 to over 7,000,000 in 2008. The miracle of re-population continues.

Rebuilding Israel with Bible in Hand

Today, trees, fruits and vegetables grow over what was once sandy wastes or malaria swamps. New industries fringe historic cities. Highways and pipelines stretch across an energetic nation that had slept for centuries.

David Ben Gurion, Israel’s dynamic first Prime Minister, was an ardent student of the Bible and saw it as an accurate history of Israel and its land. He dispatched engineers, horticulturists, botanists, etc., with the Bible in one hand and research tools in the other. Miracles flourished! Following Bible clues, copper and iron mines were established. One mining engineer, Abraham Dor, observed that, at the richest veins of copper, “We come upon the slag and furnaces of ancient Israel. We often get the feeling that someone has just left.” Deuteronomy 8:7-9 has often been framed on the walls of mining offices: “For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land... a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills thou mayest dig copper.”

Barren land transformed to the fertility of ancient Israel is a miracle predicted in Scripture. (Amos 9:14-15; Ezekiel 36:34-35) It was long assumed that most of Palestine was wasteland, irreclaimable for agriculture. But archaeologists discovered the presence of more than 70 ancient settlement sites in one 65-mile stretch of the Jordan Valley alone—each with its own well for water. Over 3,000 years ago, Abraham’s nephew Lot was not exaggerating when he “lifted up his eyes, and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere,... even as the garden of the Lord.” Genesis 13:10

New agricultural settlements—from Dan to Beersheba—have risen on ancient sites identified by Biblical archaeologists. Concrete pumping stations were set over ancient springs or wells. A well from Abraham’s day now supplies water for residents on the outskirts of Beersheba.

One of the basic necessities in that arid country was reforestation. Since 1900, Jews have planted over a billion trees. They used the Bible to decide what kind of trees to plant and where to plant them. Debating whether a certain barren hillside would be a suitable location for Israel’s immense “Forest of Martyrs,” Israelis found the answer in Joshua, which revealed that a forest had existed there. “Knowing that trees grow more easily where trees have flourished before,” explained Professor Zohary of the Hebrew University, “we rely on the Good Book.”

“The first tree Abraham planted in Beersheba was a tamarisk,” said Israel’s outstanding authority on reforestation, Dr. Joseph Weitz. “Following his lead, we put out two million in the same area. Abraham was right. The tamarisk is one of the few trees we have found that thrives in the south where yearly rainfall is less than six inches.” The Bible, as a resource, made Israel the agricultural giant it is today, exporting its products worldwide.

It took another miracle to make this possible. In Bible times there were two copious rainy seasons in Israel—the “early and the latter rain.” But for the past centuries the “early rain” has been minimal while the “latter rain” and dew have disappeared completely. Since 1878, the “latter rain” is falling again. The precipitation of both has spiraled over the decades just as predicted in Joel 2:23, 24.

Israel an Economic and Technological Marvel

Israel at 60 is fast becoming the Silicon Valley of the world. Ezekiel 38:12, 13 predicts that Israel will become the economic envy of the nations. Because of persecution, some of the most intelligent and innovative minds in the world have made aliyah (immigration) to Israel. Creative Israeli research teams are pushing back the frontiers of electronics, physics, chemistry, and pharmaceuticals, and the entire world is benefiting—especially the underdeveloped nations. Former Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “The failure of Soviet communism to capitalize on the outstanding research and development skill of Russian Jews was a stroke of good fortune for Israel. We now have the highest per capita of scientists in the world. This has put Israel on the cutting edge of technology.”

The New York Stock Exchange lists more hi-tech companies from Israel than from any other nation. Israel’s economy grew more than 5% in 2007—faster than the U.S., Europe, UK and Japan. While the Bank of Israel expects the country’s growth rate to decline slightly next year, growth is still excelling in 2008—first quarter growth was 5.4%! In contrast, the United States is only expected to grow by less than 1%, the EU by 1.2%, Japan by 1%, and the UK by 1.6% in 2008.

Will the Miracles Continue?

Although Israel is witnessing the fulfillment of prophecy in her land, she has also been facing many serious challenges as a nation because of compromising the land which God promised His people. Lack of faith on the part of some in political power may cause Israel to suffer temporary set backs, but miracles will continue so long as there is a remnant with faith. God has repeatedly stated that He will honor His promises to the faithful of Israel. Zechariah 8:3, 21-23

The Apostle Paul describes God’s benevolent plan for blessing all of Israel: “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes . . . these also now believed not, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.” (Romans 11:25-32) This statement of Paul indicates that Israel as a whole will be blessed and granted an opportunity for salvation once the number prescribed of the Gentiles—the Gospel Age Church—has been gathered to Christ. Yes, as God promised Abraham, Israel will not only be blessed themselves, but will soon be an instrument of God’s blessing to “all the nations of the earth.” Genesis 22:17; Isaiah 2:2, 3

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