One of the most amazing miracles in modern times has been the re-gathering of the Jews to their ancient homeland. But that is only the first of many prophecies being fulfilled in Israel today. Here are three others that impress me:
1. The Jewish state will be re-established. According to the prophets, when the Jews returned to Palestine, they would become an independent nation again. That happened on May 14, 1948 when their first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, announced their independence and that the name they had chosen for their new nation was Israel. That was a fulfillment of Ezekiel 37:12 which predicted that when the Jews returned to their homeland, it would be the “land of Israel” to which they’d return. And when they chose an emblem for the center of their flag, they chose the star of David fulfilling of Isaiah 11:10, “In that day “the Root of Jesse (David’s father) will stand as a banner for the peoples.
2. The Jews will redeem the Promised Land. One of God’s judgments on the people of Israel was the devastation of their land by their enemies. But in fulfillment of Ezekiel 36:34, that too is being reversed: “The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it.” For example, through drip irrigation, a creative technique developed in Israel, the desert has become one of the most productive citrus growing regions on earth. The malaria infested swamps have been drained by importing eucalyptus trees from Australia. Why eucalyptus trees? They act as giant sponges soaking up the water in the soil! And though there were only 15,000 trees in Israel 100 years ago, the Jews have planted 300 million trees since they became a nation.
3. The Hebrew tongue will be revived. Eliezer Ben Yehuda is celebrated as one of the great men of modern Israel. Born in Russia in 1858, he immigrated to Israel in 1881. Quoting passages like Zephaniah 3:9, “Then I will restore to the people a pure language,” he insisted there could not be a Jewish nation without the Hebrew language to unite them. So he set out singlehandedly to make that happen. Imagine the challenge he faced! Hebrew was a dead language that no one had spoken in 1800 years. The only time it was heard was when it was read in the synagogue on the Sabbath. Ben Yehuda was also a purist who refused to borrow words from other languages to make new words like radio or telephone. He believed it was imperative to go back and make new words using the ancient Hebrew roots. In fact, he was so devoted to his task that before he married his wife, he made her promise she would never speak any language in their home but Hebrew, a language she’d never spoken in her life. He also boasted that their son was the first truly modern Hebrew child because he’d never spoken anything but Hebrew. Ben Yehuda was a fanatic! But God used him. Today Hebrew is the official language of Israel without which no one can vote or hold a job.
Next time we’ll look at two more ancient prophecies fulfilled in Israel today. But don’t forget why it’s important to recognize these miracles. It’s to strengthen our faith in God’s promises and realize that the same miracle-working God we read about in our Bibles is still great and powerful and at work in our lives today!