by John Claeys
Frederick the Great of Prussia, who had been listening to Voltaire’s agnostic ideas, asked one of his court chaplains: “If the Bible is true, it ought to be capable of very clear and succinct witness. Generally when I ask if the Bible is true, I am handed some long scholarly volume which I have neither the time nor the patience to read. If your Bible is true, give me the proof of it in one word.” The chaplain answered in this way: “Sire, Israel.”
Israel is the one-word demonstration of the veracity of Scripture because God has chosen the Jewish nation to be at the center of God’s kingdom plan. In addition, the miracle of Israel demonstrates the trustworthiness of Scripture. After all, the Bible predicted Jews would be scattered from the land—which occurred in 70 A.D.—and then would be brought back to form a nation.
Never before in the history of human-kind had a nation been dissolved and then, after many years (in Israel’s case, almost 1,900) resurrected—until it happened with Israel. Never before had a language been lost to the world and then resurrected—until it occurred with Hebrew, the language of the Jews of Israel.
Israel truly is a miracle and is one of the very greatest proofs that the Bible is true. But because Israel is at the very center of God’s prophetic plan, recent occurrences in Israel may also be strong indicators that we are nearing the return of Christ. Specifically, two occurrences indicate this: 1) the migration of Jews into the land of Israel; and 2) Israel’s recent possession of Jerusalem. We begin with the migration of Jews into the land.
For example, 7,500 Jews of the lost tribes of the northeast will migrate to Israel later this year. These Jews, which have been located in India, will go to the “Promised Land” after “their peers from South America” migrate to Israel.
Jews making aliyah (migrating to Israel) before the rapture of the Church and the beginning of the seven-year tribulation period occur are all part of the fulfillment of Ezekiel 37. In that chapter, God predicts that, following the scattering of the Jews (which occurred in 70 A.D. when the Romans besieged Israel), He would bring Jews back to the land of Israel in preparation for the salvation of Israel. Israel’s salvation will occur during the seven years prior to the return of Christ and will be fulfilled at the initiation of the kingdom of God, following the return of Christ to the earth.
At the end of the nineteenth century, God began to fulfill Ezekiel 37, which predicts that God would bring Jews into the land of Israel in order to prepare for the salvation of Israel. Israel’s spiritual salvation will take place within the seven-year tribulation period prior to the return of Christ, while Israel’s physical salvation will occur at the return of Jesus to the earth. Thus, the fulfillment of Jews immigrating into the land of Israel would indicate the nearness of the day of the Lord (the seven-year era, initiated by the beginning of the end-times treaty with Israel). So, how close is that fulfillment?
Prior to Israel becoming a state in 1948, the Jewish population grew to 600,000 in five great waves of immigration. More than 3 million more have followed, and Israel’s Jewish population now stands at 5.5 million. Of the world’s population of just over 13 million Jews, Israel’s is the biggest portion, having surpassed America’s in 2006.
In referring to the immense number of immigrants to Israel in comparison to the smaller number of citizens, Sergio DellaPergola, a prominent demographer at the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, a Jerusalem think tank, announced: “There is no place in the world where the number of immigrants is five times the number of the people who were there. It is unprecedented.”
However, since the occurrence of that great influx, the immigration into Israel has achieved a slowdown. In fact, according to DellaPergola, “Israel is nearing zero growth from immigration.” This may indicate that Israel is nearing the number of Jews God has appointed to be in the land when the day of the Lord begins. If so, the day of the Lord may be right around the corner.
Another important indicator of the nearness of the day of the Lord is Israel’s possession of Jerusalem, and this is another part of the miracle that is Israel. In June of 1967, Israel was attacked by seven Arab nations, outmanned so badly it appeared to be the end of the Jewish nation. However, miraculously, Israel not only won that war in six days, but it obtained land from three different nations, as a result.
Part of the spoil of that war for Israel was the regaining of Jerusalem. “The city of God” became Jewish for the first time since 70 A.D.!
When God put Jerusalem back into the hands of Israel in 1967, it fulfilled Jesus’ prophecy of Luke 21:24, where he announced that the Jewish capital would be under Gentile control “until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” It seems that “the times of the Gentiles” refers to God’s focus upon Gentiles for salvation; in fact, this must be the identification of “the times of the Gentiles”. How do we know?
According to Luke 21:24, “the times of the Gentiles” are connected with the possession of Jerusalem. As mentioned above, Jerusalem came under Gentile control in 70 A.D. when the armies of Rome besieged Israel. Why did that occur? It was due to Israelite hardness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a result, God’s judgment came upon Israel, part of which involved the chasing of Jews from “the city of God”.
This means that Israel’s current possession of Jerusalem signals that God has begun to turn his attention toward Israel for salvation. Since that salvation will occur during the seven years immediately preceding the return of Christ to establish God’s kingdom upon the earth, the initiation of that seven-year period cannot be far away. (Israel’s possession of Jerusalem is also necessary for the rebuilding of the temple, which will occur during the first half of that seven-year era, as per the treaty of Daniel 9:27, as well as indicated by Matthew 24:15 and 2 Thessalonians 2:4. For much more on the riveting events predicted by the Bible during this future seven-year period, see Apocalypse 2012: The Ticking of the End Time Clock—What Does the Bible Say?)
This means the return of Christ is growing close. So, keep looking up!