Truth That Matters

"What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" - Jesus Christ

Biblical Prophecies fulfilled by Israel

Israel is among the smallest countries in the world, but also the most controversial. There are countries in the world today that will not let you in if they see an Israeli stamp on your passport. Who are these people? What’s so different about them? A glance through the Bible shows that Israel is special in God’s scheme of things. More than 200 times, God refers to Himself as the God of Israel. God also declares:
You are my witnesses, that I am the [one true] God” – Isaiah 43:12
Israel is proof that the God of the Bible is true?! This is strange for a nation whose population is largely atheistic. Even those of them who claim to believe in God refer to Him as G-d, or Ha Shem (Hebrew for “the name”). How can they be witnesses for the God of the Bible?

Answer: Through fulfilled prophecy! The Bible is full of prophecies (predictions) about Israel. The purpose of this article is to show you that history is a record of fulfilled prophecy related to Israel. This constitutes evidence that the Bible is truly what it claims to be – God’s Word, and that it holds the truth that is a key to our eternal welfare. While the fulfillment of some of these prophecies is recorded only in the Bible itself and took place too long ago to have authentication outside the Bible, other prophecies have been and are being fulfilled in front of our eyes. How did it all start?!

The call of Abraham

The Bible says that around 1922 BC, God spoke to Abraham, the ancestor of all Jews, who lived in Ur, Chaldea (modern Iraq). God asked him to move out of his own country and move to Canaan (modern day Israel). Abraham complied. The image (taken from Online Bible Maps) shows his journey.

The Bible records a covenant that God made with Abraham. The main elements were (see Genesis 12:2-3):
  • Prophecy # 1: I will make of you a great nation
  • Prophecy # 2: I will bless you and make your name great
  • Prophecy # 3: I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.
  • Prophecy # 4: You shall be a blessing; through you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed
See how much of world history is the fulfillment of these prophecies

Abraham reaches Canaan

When Abraham reached Canaan, God further promised the land between the Nile and the Euphrates for his descendants. Abraham spent most of his time in Hebron, shown in the image. It is ironic that Israel is under pressure to hand over Hebron to Arabs today.

Prophecy # 5: “On that day Jehovah made a covenant with Abram, saying: To your seed I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates” – Genesis 15:18

In the same meeting with Abraham, God also had some bad news.

Prophecy # 6: They [Abraham's descendants] will be strangers in another country for four hundred years. They will be oppressed there, but God will rescue them, punish the nation that oppressed them, and take them out of that country. – Genesis 15:12-15

See the fulfillment of prophecies 5 and 6

Abraham's children

Abraham had a son named Isaac in 1896 BC, who became his heir. Isaac had two sons, Esau, the older one, and Jacob the younger, in 1837 BC. Their age difference was a matter of seconds as they were twins. Before they were born, God declared to their mother:
Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.” – Genesis 25:23
These words were written in about 1500 BC or earlier. Eventually, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. Esau became the ancestors of the Edomites (Idumeans). In about 1000 BC, Israel dominated the Edomites (see 2 Samuel 8:14). The Edomites lost their identity shortly after the time of Christ. Some of the Arabs in Saudi Arabia and Jordan may be descendants of Edom, while the Jews are the most influential ethnic group in the world.

Due to a famine in Canaan, Jacob and his family went to Egypt in 1706 BC and settled there.

Departure from Egypt

In Egypt, their population multiplied, and the Egyptians, seeing a threat to their security, enslaved them. Just as God had promised Abraham, He raised up Moses who led the people of Israel out of Egypt in 1491 BC. God instituted the Passover to commemorate this event. Israelis still observe it.

The people of Israel had a 40 year period of sojourn in the deserts between Egypt and Canaan (Israel). They were to worship Him, and Him alone. He would bless them, and make them great and prosperous. If they forsook Him and worshiped other gods, He would punish them with misfortune. The Israelites promised to comply. However, shortly before Moses’ death, God predicted to Moses that the nation of Israel would be unfaithful to Him:

Prophecy # 7: “Jehovah said to Moses: Behold, you shall rest with your fathers; and this people will rise up and commit adultery with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they are going in to be among them, and they will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them” – Deuteronomy 31:16

Just before he died (~1450 BC), Moses delivered several speeches to the people of Israel. These speeches, which can be interpreted as God speaking through Moses, also contain some very interesting conditional prophecies about Israel (the image shows Mt Nebo, the venue of these speeches).

Prophecy # 8: "If you do not listen to me and obey my commandments [which happened],..., I will bring a fierce nation against you...they will eat your produce, destroy your possessions and besiege your cities; you will eat your own children in the ordeal with which your enemies will distress you" – Deuteronomy 28: 49-53

Prophecy # 9: "If you do not listen to me and obey my commandments [which happened],...., you will be plucked off from your one of the land. And Jehovah shall scatter you among all people, from one end of the earth even unto the other; and there you will serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known, even wood and stone." – Deuteronomy 28: 63, 64

Click here for the fulfillment of prophecies 7, 8 and 9.

Time in Canaan and captivity

The Israelites settled in Canaan in 1451 BC. Their time there was characterized by spiritual and economic ups and downs. There were times of fervor for Jehovah, the God of the Bible, and more times of apostasy, in which they worshiped the forces-of-nature based gods of the surrounding peoples, complete with human sacrifices, idolatry and sexual immorality. In around 975 BC, the Israelites split themselves into two kingdoms, the northern kingdom made of ten tribes, and the southern kingdom made of two tribes, Judah and Benjamin. [Judah was a dominant tribe, and the term "Jew" owes its origin to the word "Judah"]. The northern kingdom was less stable and more prone to apostasy than its southern counterpart. Just as God had warned earlier, he sent judgment in the form of foreign invasion. In 722 BC, Assyrian emperors Shalmaneser V and Sargon II conquered the northern kingdom of Israel, and deported 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel to Assyria (Northern Iraq). In 612 BC, the Babylonians (from southern Iraq) replaced the Assyrians as the dominant Middle Eastern power. In 587 BC, Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon captured Jerusalem and deported the remaining two tribes of Israel to Babylon. This was the beginning of the Jewish Diaspora.

Daniel was one of the Jewish exiles in Babylon. He worked as an official under the kings of Babylon, and later Media and Persia. In about 538 BC, God gave prophecies through an angel to Daniel. This is what the angel told Daniel:

Prophecy # 10: “Seventy weeks are decreed regarding your people, and regarding your holy city, to finish the transgression...and to anoint the Holy of Holies. From the grant of permission to rebuild Jerusalem to Messiah, the Prince, shall be sixty nine weeks.” – Daniel 9:24-25

Prophecy # 11: “Immediately, Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself” – Daniel 9:26a

Prophecy # 12: "The people of a coming ruler will destroy the city and the sanctuary, and there shall be war and desolation till the end” – Daniel 9:26b

These prophecies (10-12), delivered in around 537 BC seem quite cryptic at first sight, but so startling is their fulfillment, that they alone are sufficient evidence that the Bible is indeed written by God! See the details here.

Antisemitism and the return of the Diaspora

Prophecy # 13: (from Moses’ speeches to the Israelites in 1451 BC): "If you do not listen to me and obey my commandments [which happened],...., I will make you a proverb, and a byword among all the nations where I drive you to" – Deuteronomy 28:37

That is, not only would the Jews be scattered all over the world, but they would become a hated and despised race. This hatred would not be confined feelings. Listen to the prophet Jeremiah (~650-580 BC):

Prophecy # 14: “Behold, I will send for many fishermen, says Jehovah, and they will fish [for] them. And afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity hidden from My eyes” – Jeremiah 16: 16, 17

Because of their horrible sins, God punishes the people of Israel by allowing those who hate them to ill treat them and ferret them out from their hiding places. See the fulfillment of Prophecies 13 and 14 in history here.

Prophecy # 15: "Fear not, O Jacob my servant, says Jehovah, for I am with you; for I will make a full end of all the nations where I have driven you: but I will not make a full end of you, but correct you in measure; yet will I not leave you wholly unpunished."  – Jeremiah 46:28

In other words, although the Jews will suffer terrible persecution, they will not lose their identity. UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali has said that the Jews should forfeit their land and get assimilated among other peoples. God is saying that He will not let that happen.

Prophecy # 16: "The days come, says Jehovah, that it shall no more be said, Jehovah lives, who brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt [an event that occurred around 1500 BC] but, Jehovah lives, who brought up the children of Israel from the lands of the north, and from all the lands where he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers" – Jeremiah 16: 14 and 15
 
That is, not only will the Jews retain their identity, but they will return to their ancient homeland! See the fulfillment of prophecies 15 and 16 in history here.

Prophecies pertaining to the present/future

Prophecy # 17: "Jerusalem will be trampled upon by the Gentiles [people other than Jews]." – Jesus, speaking in Luke 21:24, ~30 AD

Prophecy # 18: "The nations will divide the land" – Joel 3:2, ~700 BC

Prophecy # 19: "Jerusalem will be a burdensome stone to all the nations." – Zechariah 12:3, ~500 BC

Prophecy # 20: "Jerusalem will be a cup of trembling to those around her" – Zechariah 12:2, ~500 BC

Prophecy # 21: "God will gather the nations against Israel [to punish them for harassing the Jews and dividing the land of Israel]" – Joel 3:2, ~700 BC

Prophecy # 22: "[When the nations of the world are gathered to fight against Israel], I, Jehovah, will make the the governors of Judah like fire that devours wood and hay – so will they be towards their enemies around them" – Zechariah 12:5, ~ 500 BC

See the fulfillment of prophecies 17 to 22 here.

Conclusion

"The universal dispersion of the Jews throughout the world, their unexampled sufferings, and their wondrous preservation, would be sufficient to establish the truth of the scriptures if all other testimony were sunk to the bottom of the sea." – Lord Chancellor Erskine
 
If you are intellectually honest, you may need time to investigate things more closely or verify the facts that I have presented here, but there will be only one outcome: you will be convinced about the divine origin of the Bible, and Jehovah, the God behind it. Israel is undeniable proof that God exists, He wrote the Bible, He cares about history and justice, He came down as Jesus Christ, and He will judge everyone, both nationally and individually. In the meantime, access to Him is freely available.