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Prophecy

23rd March 2008, gah

 

2) God’s witness of the truth: Prophecies regarding Israel

God challenges the people of the earth to bring witnesses to prove what is right and explain why the earth is. As evidence of God’s claim that He has created the earth, and caused events to come to pass on earth, He puts forward His own evidence – the witness of Israel (Isaiah 43:1-12).

From the time of Abraham God has shown evidence that He has power through His miracles. The ten plagues in Egypt are just one example of this to the people of Israel, who would have seen the events unfolding. While these miracles are most remarkable, this section will not concentrate on them, as the sceptic will claim that that they are no more than a legend and cannot be proved. Subsequently the focus will be on events that have occurred since Christ, a time from which the secular (non-Christian) Bible scholars agree that the Bible writings must have been in existence.

In addition to the Old Testament prophets, Jesus Christ makes some remarkable prophecies concerning Israel in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. The table below summarises the Bible prophecy and its fulfilment. The terms “latter days” and “last days” refer to the time just before the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Deuteronomy 28:37, 64-66 If Israel served other gods they would be scattered throughout the world and have no peace in the countries and would be in constant fear of their lives. They would be scorned and persecuted

The Jews were persecuted all throughout the Middle East, Africa and Europe, often having to move and lacking civil rights. Even today there is no culture that engenders more “controversy” than Israel.

Matthew 24:15 The temple would be invaded in Jerusalem and the daily sacrifice taken away. (Jesus is referring to Daniel 9:27)

The Romans took away the worship from the Temple by destroying it in the siege in AD70.

Luke 21:20 Jerusalem compassed about by armies

Rome besieged the walls of Jerusalem, starving the population out.

Luke 21:24,27 Jerusalem controlled by Gentiles until the Jews return, just prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ to earth.

Jerusalem was controlled by the Romans, Caliphs, Ottomans and the British until 1967

Amos 9:9 Israel would be sifted among all nations, like corn sifted in a sieve

After AD70 the Jews fled to all parts of the earth. Israel is now the most multi-cultural country on earth due to the places that the Jews have returned from.

Leviticus 26:33-34 While the Jews were scattered the land would lie waste

When the Jews starting returning in the late 1800’s the country was barren and desert.

Hosea 3:4-5 Israel would be for a long time without a King and the Temple and after this they would return

They have no king, instead being a democracy. There has been no temple worship and sacrifice since AD70.

Zechariah 10:9 Israel would remember God in the far countries where they were scattered.

The Jews maintained their separateness and worshipped at synagogues.

Jeremiah 30:7,10, 24; Ezekiel 11:17 & 37:11-28 God would regather the Jews from all over the world and place them in the land of Israel in the “latter days”

The dispersion of the Jews was to be for a long time, and they would return to the land of Israel from all over the world just before the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Zechariah 10:10 Israel would return to the land of Gilead and Lebanon and completely fill it.

Israel now occupies the land of Gilead and southern Lebanon.

Amos 9:14 Israel would return and waste cities and plant vines and gardens.

Israel is famous fro advanced agricultural practice, specfically for wine, and has transformed the arid land into an agricultural land

Jeremiah 16:16 Israel would be regathered first by fishers and then by hunters

Fishers included Herzl’s Zionist movement, the Balfour Declaration and hunters included Hitler who forced them to flee or lose their lives in Europe

Ezek 36:20 The Gentiles would say that Israel was scattered from the land because of their unbelief.

Gentles since before the Crusades have sought to control the land and have derided the Jews for being responsible for the death of Jesus Christ.

Ezek 36:22 Israel would return in unbelief of God.

Statics from Israel show that approximately 5% are Orthodox and 12% are religious. The remainder have some belief but do not adhere to the Law or are secular or atheist.

Ezekiel 37:11-28 Israel would return as one nation, not as two kingdoms.

In 1947 Israel was granted the land of Palestine by a UN mandate. (Britain, who controlled Palestine at the time, abstained from the UN vote.) Israel is one nation.

Zechariah 12:3 Israel, specifically Jerusalem, is to be a burdensome stone to the world

Israel accounts for more UN resolutions that any other country (over 80% of UN resolutions)

Isaiah 34:8 speaks of the controversy of Zion (Jerusalem).

Israel, specifcally Jerusalem, is the cause of controversy to peace in the Middle East despite its insignificance in size and resources.

Ezekiel 38:8, 14 In the “latter days” when Israel has returned, they will be dwelling safely, and at this time will be invaded (still future – battle of Armageddon which will bring the return of Jesus. Joel 3:1-2, Zechariah 14:1-4)

Israel now dwells in relative safety, although with strong security.

Sceptics have claimed that the resettlement of Palestine by the Jews is their deliberate choice to resettle there as a result of their own belief in the Old Testament prophets that they are to return prior to the coming of the Messiah in the latter days. However history has shown that this alone would not have been enough to found the nation of Israel. Reasons for this include:

1. The second Aliyah (1904-1914), a reaction of the Zionist movement, saw 40,000 Jews return to Israel. The third Aliyah (1919-1923) saw another 40,000 return and a fourth Aliyah (1924-1929) another 82,000. Belief in Zionism could stir less than 200,000 Jews back to Palestine. It was not until the rise of Nazism in Germany that the Fifth Aliyah (1929-1939) saw 250,000 return to Palestine. The presence of a “Hunter” had been required to stir the Jews from Europe.

2. Britain held a Mandate over Palestine at the time of World War II. By their White Paper of 1939 they limited Jewish immigration to 75,000 per year and restricted purchase of land by the Jews. Jews attempting to flee from Europe by ship were turned back in 1947 (eg Struma and Exodus).

3. Following the UN 1948 Partition Mandate, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon declared war on Israel. Despite being out numbered and with inadequate military supplies the Jews successfully defended their position. Since 1948 Israel has successfully defended itself in the 1967 Six Day War, against the Egyptian and Syrian invasion forces in 1973 and Lebanon in 1982. The Arabs have vowed since 1948 to run the Jews into the Sea and despite being overwhelming the greater force have not succeeded. Interestingly the animosity of the Arab countries resulted in the expulsion of over 850,000 Jews from the Arab countries and Iran. Many of these returned to Israel.

4. Over 6 million Jews were killed in Europe, leaving a world wide population of approximately 11 million. By the end of WWII there were approximately 600,000 in Israel, a small percentage of the total number of Jews worldwide. Today the Jewish population in Israel numbers over 5 million. The majority of these have no religious reason to return, as under 20% are Orthodox or considered to be “religious”. Many, such as those from East Europe and Russia have returned for economic reasons.

5. The State of Israel was declared by a UN Partition Mandate in 1948. The UN Partition needed a majority vote of two thirds to be passed. 33 countries voted for Partition, 13 against and 6 abstained (including Britain). The State of Israel was decided by a majority international vote, not by any internal means, political or religious desire or war.

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