The rebirth of Israel as an independent nation in 1948 is one of the most significant events in world history. Never before has an entire race of people been without a homeland for so long without assimilating into surrounding populations. However, no other conquered race had the promise of God to “give all this land of Canaan to you and to your offspring forever.” Genesis 17:8 (NLT)
The scriptures prophesied that Israel would be dispersed among the nations then brought out from among them in a gradual process that would culminate in the establishment of Israel as a nation in a single day. And that’s exactly what happened. The Bible also foretold the exact year in which this would happen. Those who study the Word of God recognize the restoration of Israel as the primary sign of the end of the age. Jesus promised the generation that witnessed this event would also witness His return. Matthew 24:34 (NLT)
Long ago the Bible predicted these events would transpire in the last days:
1) The gathering of the Jews into their homeland
2) The rebirth of Israel in a single day
3) The rebirth of Israel in the year 1948
4) Israel’s possession of Jerusalem
5) The nations of the earth aligned against Israel
6) The war of Gog / Magog
7) The rebuilding of the Jewish Temple
Five of these seven prophetic events have already been fulfilled, and the final two are certain to follow.
The Gathering of the Jews
Numerous biblical prophecies foretold of the re-gathering of Israel as a nation. Approximately 2,700 years ago, God revealed to the prophet Ezekiel a “Valley of Dry Bones” (Ezekiel Chapter 37). God spoke of these bones (the Jews) gathered together and covered with flesh and muscles (re-gathered from the nations) with life being breathed into them (a dead nation brought to life once again).
“Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones represent the people of Israel. They are saying, ‘We have become old, dry bones – all hope is gone.’ Now give them this message from the Sovereign Lord: O my people, I will open your graves of exile and cause you to rise again. Then I will bring you back to the land of Israel. When this happens, O my people, you will know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 37:11-13 (NLT)
Beginning in the late 19th Century, the birth of the Zionist movement culminated in the gradual emigration of Jews from all over the world to resettle the land of Israel. Each decade the number of returning Jews increased, until finally the nation of Israel came to life once again in 1948.
Israel Becomes a Nation in a Single Day
God foretold long ago that after He brought His scattered people out from among the nations, He would declare them to be a nation in a single day:
“‘Who has ever seen or heard of anything as strange as this? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But by the time Jerusalem’s birth pains begin, the baby will be born; the nation will come forth. Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth and then not deliver it?’ asks the Lord. ‘No! I would never keep this nation from being born,’ says your God.” Isaiah 66:8-9 (NLT)
This is exactly what happened on May 14, 1948. Having been brought to the brink of extinction by the horrors of the Holocaust, facing persecution around the world, and surrounded by their enemies, the Jewish people gathered together in Israel and declared themselves a nation in a single day. The United States recognized Israel as a nation on that same day, and Israel’s victories in the wars since have solidified their place among the nations of the world.
Israel an Object of Scorn in the Last Days
The prophet Zechariah noted the following would be true of Israel in the last days:
“I will make Jerusalem and Judah like an intoxicating drink to all the nearby nations that send their armies to besiege Jerusalem. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone, a burden for the world. None of the nations who try to lift it will escape unscathed.” Zechariah 12:2-3 (NLT)
The rebirth of Israel in 1948 has been accompanied by constant war and conflict with surrounding Muslim nations. The main focus of world attention today concerns Israel’s relationship with its neighbors. Just as God foretold, Israel has become a “burdensome stone” for the world’s political leaders. The majority of the Islamic countries surrounding Israel have made it clear their primary goal is the destruction of Israel. However, God has made it clear that Israel is here to stay.
The War of Gog/Magog
In the last days, Russia and a coalition of Muslim nations led by Iran will gather a horde of armies together in an effort to wipe Israel off the map. Israel will appear defenseless in the face of this massive invasion force with none of its worldly allies willing to come to its defense. However, God is Israel’s greatest ally, and He vows to make his presence known to the entire world by supernaturally destroying the armies arrayed against Israel:
“Therefore, son of man, prophesy against Gog. Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord: When my people are living in peace in their land, then you will rouse yourself. You will come from your homeland in the distant north with your vast cavalry and your mighty army, and you will cover the land like a cloud. This will happen in the distant future. I will bring you against my land as everyone watches, and my holiness will be displayed by what happens to you. Then all the nations will know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 38:14-16 (NLT)
The Third Temple
In the last days, the Jewish Temple will be rebuilt. The Temple will then be desecrated in an act known as the “abomination of desolation”. Both the prophet Daniel and Jesus refer to this act as a clear signal of the beginning of the Great Tribulation and the identity of the Antichrist.
“The time will come when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about: the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place.” Matthew 24:15 (NLT)
This event, which will occur three and a half years into the Tribulation, will trigger the Great Tribulation, a time of unimaginable horror for the human race. Following this time period, Jesus will return triumphantly to establish His Millennial Kingdom.
Why All This is Important
Jesus told his disciples the primary sign of His soon return would be the restoration of Israel:
“Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its buds become tender and its leaves begin to sprout, you know without being told that summer is near. Just so, when you see the events I’ve described beginning to happen, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. I assure you, this generation will not pass from the scene before all these things take place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will remain forever.” Matthew 24:32-35 (NLT)
The fig tree Jesus refers to is Israel. It’s been six decades since Israel was once again declared a nation against all worldly odds. Jesus promised that the generation which witnessed fulfillment of this prophecy would not die off until all the things of which he spoke came to pass. Given the past credibility of the Bible and God’s Son Jesus Christ, we should fully expect these events to come to pass. What this means is that Jesus is going to return soon, within this generation. A wise person will prepare accordingly.