By J. R. Hall
A Day that Changed the Modern World
Preamble on a long forgotten shelf, alone... stood a clock. The clock was not forgotten because of lack of greatness....for the clock was a marvellously crafted clock....but for many, many years the clock lay silent. In years before it ran and chimed, and ticked and tocked, but for many, many years it lay dormant.... Frozen in time the clock sat quietly until it happened..... On may 14, 1948 God's prophetic clock started ticking again....LOUDLY.
The Dawn of Israel By Romesh Ratnesar "What I am trying to do is make the whole world safe for Jews," Harry Truman wrote as he wrestled over the decision to recognize a Jewish state in Palestine. Deeply affected by the Holocaust, Truman sympathized with Jewish aspirations for a homeland. In November 1947 he lobbied for the U.N. resolution that divided Palestine into Jewish and Arab states. Britain announced it would hand authority over Palestine to the U.N. by May 14, 1948. Secretary of State George Marshall advised against recognition, warning Truman that Arab countries would cut off oil and unite to destroy the Jews. On the eve of British withdrawal—to be followed by an immediate Jewish declaration of independence—he told Truman "the great office of the President" was at stake. But Truman's mind was made up. At 4 p.m., David Ben-Gurion read a 979-word declaration of independence in front of a small audience at the Tel Aviv Art Museum. He finished, "The state of Israel is established! The meeting is ended." At midnight, British rule over Palestine lapsed; 11 minutes later White House spokesman Charlie Ross announced U.S. recognition. "God put you in your mother's womb," the Chief Rabbi of Israel later told Truman, "so you would be the instrument to bring the rebirth of Israel." With Truman's decision, the hopes of the Jewish people were realized, but so too were Marshall's fears. Arab opponents of the new nation immediately declared war, prompting a bloody struggle over Israel's existence that would rage into the next century. -- Time Magazines 80 days that changed the world.
So why is the fact that Israel was reborn as a nation in 1948 an important event to the study of biblical prophecy?
Simply because they are mentioned so many times in future events:
Antichrist will make (or reaffirm) a 7 year covenant with Israel (Daniel 9:27)
Antichrist will invade Israel and desecrate the temple (Daniel 11:40-41; Matthew 24:15-20)
Gog and his allies will invade Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:1-9; 14:1-2)
The People of Israel will flee into the wilderness to escape the wrath of Satan (Revelation 12:13-17)
"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." -- Gen 12:3
For almost 2500 years - starting with Jewish captivity under Babylon, then Persia, then Greece, then Rome; and, almost 2000 years since the birth and rejection of the Messiah the Jews were dispersed. (That in itself was a prophetic event due to Israel's 'falling away' so-to-speak.) The Jews were a people without a nation.
Why is that important?
Because God said that he would one day re-gather the children of Israel into the Land promised them through his covenant with Abraham. This prophetic re-gathering, which we have seen take place within this century, is to serve as a sign to the world that the 'Day of the Lord' draws Near.
THE VALLEY OF DRY BONES
1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,
2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.
4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.
5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. 8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
In the passage above we see God giving the Prophet Ezekiel a vision of what was to come of Israel. As we read on in Ezekiel 37 we see more description, including that which describes the millennial reign of Christ amongst them. But we’ll get more into that later.
In 70AD the Jews were driven out of the land and dispersed after rejecting Christ. It is important to note that they stayed dispersed, but yet they retained their nationality. Weather Canadian, American or French, the Jews have kept their identity among the new nations they call home.
As an aside, lets have a look at an example of how amazing this regathering of Israel to the promised land is. Tel Aviv was (is) the first all-Jewish city in modern times. Originally named Ahuzat Bayit, it was founded by 60 families in 1909 as a Jewish neighborhood near Jaffa. In 1910, the name was changed to Tel Aviv, meaning "hill of spring".
Tel Aviv 1909
And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded: And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. -- Ezekiel 36:10-11
Now look at Tel Aviv today....
It would seem the pictures speak for themselves. Since Israel's come to being in 1948, it has become a vibrant, modern, and well populated country.
I would like to pause for a moment and talk about an idea commonly called Replacement Theology. I do this because it deals with Israel, and I believe it is a dangerous idea to get oneself believing in.
You see, there are some who say that God’s promises to Israel were cancelled; That God revoked them when they denied the messiah and therefore denied God for the last time. They say now that the church has replaced Israel in God’s eyes.
Although the church is very important, if we continue to study the scriptures, especially those areas involved with the end times… it becomes very clear that God is not finished with Israel yet… and that the idea that the church has replaced Israel is unscriptural.
Israel is mentioned 2566 times in the Bible. This is second to God himself. With that much attention in the scriptures, it would seem apparent that God takes great concern with Israel.
They are the apple of his eye… he has engraved them in the palm of his hand and his prophetic plans involve them. (See: Isaiah 11:12, Isaiah 66:8, Ezekiel 37:21, Jer 31:10-11, Eze 34:28)
Also, thou son of man, prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD...But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come… For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. -- Ezekiel 36:1,8,24
Before 1948 there was no Israel. Not one of Israel’s prophecies could ever come to pass without a nation. It was during this time that the idea of replacement theology came about. No Israel? – God must have meant them symbolically… So you can imagine why the study of prophecy was all a buzz in 1948… all of a sudden… ISRAEL!
So what of this nation of Israel in the future?
Well, God also said he would make Jerusalem a trouble spot. A prophetic warning sign to the world if you will....
1 The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.
2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
Now that you’ve read that passage, read it again and think of the news headlines. I think you’ll agree that there are some definite similarities.
Ask yourself these questions.
How many Cities in the world are larger than Jerusalem?
How Frequently do these other cities make world news?
Do these other cities 'tremble' and incite as much anger as Jerusalem?
How can one city, invoke such controversy in our large world?
It does because God willed it, and is making it happen.
Another interesting side note is the ominous warning Christ gave to this generation that witnesses the re-gathering of Israel in the Land.
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. -- Matthew 24:32-33 (see also Luke 21:29-33 and Mark 13:28-30)
There are two different ideas about this parable. The first is that in several places in the bible the 'fig tree' is a symbol of the Jewish Nation. As such this passage indicates that with the sprouting of leaves (rebirth), we know that summer is nigh.
The same thought could be used for the verse in Matthew 21 when Jesus curses a fig tree when he is nearing his crucifixion.
Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered. -- Matthew 21:19
Could this be symbolism of Israel denouncing the messiah and the result of such denial.... can't say... but if it isn't meant to be such, it's still an interesting thought.
This ‘fig-tree parallelism’ can be carried over to recent history: “It's branch become tender and put forth leaves.“ Miraculously, this tiny nation of Israel is quite prosperous today and they are recorded to have the 3rd largest military in the world. And despite their enemies’ best efforts; they don't appear to be 'wilting' any time soon.
I want to pause here for a moment. Like a lot of things with the study of prophecy, we should make sure to look at all possibilities within a passage. As such, allow me to present the following:
The other idea about Matthew 24:32-33 is simply that this passage states that when 'all these things' - meaning all of these signs (that we haven't gotten to yet in this study, including the rebirth of Israel) - signify the beginning of the end.
The main reason for this belief is that the Luke passage mentions the fig tree and all trees.
The other reason here is that Christ describes many things, some of which we know from the book of Revelation occur in the Tribulation. With this in mind, it may indeed be that Christ was talking about THAT generation within the Tribulation. I’ll let you make up you own mind on this issue, but regardless with all we have been studying, it is an exciting prospect in either case.
Before we move on, let’s take a moment to look at the word generation within those passages.
In the words from Matthew...." Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. "
The one that sees these signs.
Isn't that Generation Alive today?
Yes, I believe it is.
How long is a Generation?
Is it 50 years? 100 years? Can we define it? Not sure... But I will offer the following obscure Psalm 90 written by Moses. In which Moses writes:
"The days of our years are threescore years and ten (70); and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years (80), yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath." -- Psalms 90:10-11
Now how is that for curious? for interest? for consideration?
The question now to ask is when did this prophetic countdown begin?
With the birth of the Nation in 1948?...or the regaining of Jerusalem in 1967? Or is it some other sign Christ mentions prior to his announcement of the final Generation in these passages?
That question I cannot answer, and perhaps we are not supposed to know. All we do know is that we are warned to 'Watch'.
Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. – Matthew 24:42
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