The state of Israel has only existed since 1948, but God foretold its end-time reformation as a Jewish nation thousands of years ago. The modern history of Israel’s creation is nothing short of miraculous, and it is the most controversial country on earth today. The incredible truth is that there is an unseen force behind its establishment as well as its continued survival. Today, it stands as a milepost of prophecy that proves we are closer to the return of Jesus Christ.
The prophesied return of Jews to Israel
About 2,500 years ago, God spoke to the prophet Zechariah about the events that would lead up to the coming of the Messiah’s Kingdom. The prophecies contained in Zechariah 12 through 14 make specific predictions about the conditions of Jerusalem just before Jesus’ return:
“Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah” (Zechariah 12:2 Zechariah 12:2Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
American King James Version×, emphasis added throughout).
One must understand that Jerusalem has been sieged and conquered many times throughout its history; but this time, specifically, “the siege of Jerusalem will be against Judah.” It may seem obvious that this prophecy would not be possible if the Jews were not living there, but that was the case not long ago.
In fact, very few people at all lived in Jerusalem after the Romans destroyed it in the first century A.D., reportedly killing between 600,000 and 1 million Jews. From that time until the mid 1800s, the city remained sparsely inhabited, reaching a population as low as 8,000 by the year 1806 and covering an area less than 1 square mile. How could a city of such meager size and with no political significance play any prominent role in prophecy?
It is no coincidence that Jerusalem today is a large, sprawling city with a population over 800,000, of which roughly 500,000 are Jewish, because Zechariah revealed that “ Jerusalem shall again be inhabited ” (Zechariah 12:6 Zechariah 12:6In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.
American King James Version×). Over 5 million Jews today live within the borders of Israel, and that is shocking! What has happened in Israel in the last 150 years is unique in all of history: No other ethnic or religious group, being dispersed all over the world for 1,800 years, has ever returned in such numbers to their ancestral homeland.
A rise to prominence
The unprecedented return of the Jewish people is not the end of Zechariah’s predictions. He went on to say that “Judah [will be] like a blazing pot in the midst of wood, like a flaming torch among sheaves. And they shall devour to the right and to the left all the surrounding peoples ” (Zechariah 12:6 Zechariah 12:6In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.
American King James Version×). How has the modern state of Israel dealt with the “surrounding peoples” since its creation in 1948?
The fledgling nation managed to fight off opposition from the Arab nations around it, resulting in an armistice in 1949. At this crucial point in history, any number of outcomes would have been more likely than what happened next: Not only did Israel survive in the presence of openly hostile neighbors, it thrived.
During the Six Day War of 1967, Israel tripled its land area in a simultaneous battle with Egypt, Jordan, and Syria—an unheard of victory. Today, despite continual opposition from Arab nations whose combined populations are over 350 million, the modern state of Israel, with just 8 million people, is the premier military power in the Middle East.
Declaring the end from the beginning
Zechariah’s words are happening today. But these are mere side observations—the meat of Zechariah’s prophecy is the real message that is for the entire world . That message is the same one that Jesus Christ brought with Him: “The time is fulfilled, the Kingdom is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel!” (Mark 1:14 Mark 1:14Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
American King James Version×). It is vital that you believe that God will do what He has said He will do. Prophecies like this—which have been fulfilled against staggering odds—are proof that God can and will accomplish what He desires.
“For I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done” (Isaiah 46:9-10 Isaiah 46:9-10 9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
American King James Version×).