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  • Writer's pictureMichael Filipek

Is the Modern State of Israel Prophetically Significant? (Part 3)

Updated: Jan 27


So far in "Part 1" and "Part 2" of this article series, we have already demonstrated from scripture that Israel’s first worldwide regathering in unbelief must be the modern regathering in the current State of Israel. We have witnessed this return over the past century or so. But in order to recognize even more fully just how much modern Israel really is a part of God’s plan, we will now focus our attention on several Biblical characteristics of this regathering. Doing so will enable us to appreciate this with precise detail. So, we will shift our focus back to the first regathering that we have witnessed in recent times involving the modern Jewish State.


#1 - Israel's First Worldwide Regathering Will be Through Persecution and For Judgment


A key prophetic aspect that we need to be aware of regarding the current State of Israel and their present-day regathering has to do with the way in which this regathering has occurred. The Bible even gives us the specifics on the stimulus for this regathering. It tells us that they will be regathered through the means of being “fished” and “hunted” – or in other words, through persecution. This is outlined for us in Jeremiah 16:15-16.


But, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers. Behold, I will send for many fishers [or fishermen], saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. -Jeremiah 16:15-16

Here, Jeremiah predicts a worldwide regathering of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel through the means of persecution. In Verse 16, this means of persecution is metaphorically described as involving “fishermen” and “hunters” whose actions will essentially chase the Jewish people back to their land. These pursuers, said to be sent by God, have been used to force the Jewish people to return back to their land in preparation for the events of judgment that will result in their final restoration.


In an article entitled “Is the Modern State of Israel Prophetically Significant?” author and scholar Randall Price concludes:


The modern history of Israel reveals that persecution has been the leading cause of the Jewish return to the Land. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries czarist pogroms and Polish economic discrimination in Eastern Europe motivated the creation of the Zionist Movement. During the Second World War, the attempted genocide of Jews during the Nazi holocaust encouraged international sympathy for the Jewish plight and led to the creation of the State of Israel. The Arab-Israel war of 1948-49 then forced Jews from Arab lands and later Soviet repression forced over a million Jews to immigrate to Israel. Over fifty years Israel has had to fight five major wars with its Arab neighbors for its survival and wage an on-going war of attrition with the Palestinians that during last decade Jews has resulted in a growing hostility in the international community toward Israel and provoked a renewed anti-Semitism in Europe. These "fishermen" and "hunters" continue to drive otherwise complacent Jews from the Diaspora to find safe haven in the Jewish State. If this modern history of events has occurred as these prophetic texts have predicted, how can we not say that the modern State of Israel is prophetically significant? [1]

#2 - Israel Will Be Regathered to the Land in Stages


Those who deny the prophetic significance of the modern return of the Jewish people often point out that the return has been only partial (meaning it has included only part of the Jewish people returning to only part of the land). In addition, some also object by saying the return is secular, and not spiritual in nature. However, we should understand that these objections are invalidated by scripture (as we've already shown in the previous two articles of this series).


It is a misconception and a non-scriptural idea to expect that all of the Jewish people would return to the land immediately, all at once, when the process of national regathering began. It’s also a misconception that the regathering would be only spiritual in nature. To the contrary, as we’ve seen in the first two articles, the Bible prophetically reveals that the regathering would take place in two stages – a regathering before the Tribulation and a regathering before the Millennium.


Furthermore, this is also clearly depicted in Ezekiel’s well-known vision of Israel’s restoration. Recorded in Ezekiel Chapter 37, this vision uses the imagery of a valley of dry bones (referring to Israel’s state of physical and spiritual deadness) that slowly and through several stages begin to experience restoration to life. It portrays a progressive physical restoration that ultimately ends in spiritual restoration. Professor Michael Rydelnik writes:


The bones come to life in stages: first sinews on the bones, then flesh, then skin, and finally, breath of life (Ezekiel 37:6-10). Then God told Ezekiel that "these bones are the whole house of Israel" (Verse 11) and their restoration is a picture of the way God will bring them "back to the Land of Israel" (Verse 12). [2]

Through this vision, we can recognize a prophetic pattern that reveals sequential stages of restoration: first a progressive physical regathering to the land, followed by a spiritual regathering to the Lord. Since this first regathering takes place in spiritual unbelief, then of course we should expect it to be a regathering characterized by secular and political means. That is exactly what we observe with the modern re-establishment of the secular Jewish State. So, this is not a reason to deny the prophetic significance of the modern regathering. Clearly, the opposite is true. Scripture requires it to be this way.


Additionally, we would totally expect that a regathering of this nature (secular and political) would only result in a partial physical regathering. Total restoration cannot take place without a spiritual movement. Further, since this regathering is partial, it leaves the remainder of the Jewish population still living outside of the land. This is a necessity since the Bible teaches two regatherings. If the initial regathering was total, then how could there be a second one? There would be no Jews remaining to be regathered. So, again, this idea of a partial regathering is not unscriptural. Rather, it is a Biblical requirement.


But even with the initial regathering being only partial, it still remains in perfect harmony with the prophesied pattern of a worldwide regathering. Geographically, we can see that Jews have returned from “the four corners of the earth,” just as Scripture anticipated. Randall Price concludes:


The second regathering, then, which would follow a time of worldwide Jewish persecution in the Tribulation will result not only in Israel’s seeking deliverance physically but also spiritually in a time of national repentance (Luke 21:25-28). Therefore, just as the Jewish dispersion occurred in successive stages over time (722 B.C., 586 B.C., A.D. 70, A.D. 115, et. al), so the Jewish regathering can be seen to occur in stages modern and future (before the Tribulation, e.g. 1897, 1948, 1967, and at the end of the Tribulation). If the regathering is in stages, and the first regathering of the Jewish people to their Land is the historic modern regathering, how can we not say that the modern State of Israel is prophetically significant? [3]

#3 - Modern Israel Parallels the Israel Expected to Exist During the End-Times


In his article, Price observes that historically, Christians embracing a futurist and a consistent literal view of eschatology fully expected that at some point in history, the following would occur:


  • the Jewish people would have to return to their ancient homeland, “the land of Israel”

  • they would have to regain their national status as “the people of Israel”

  • they would again be in an adversarial position with the Gentile nations


Interestingly, all of these expectations have currently been fulfilled! Why did futurists and literalists always expect these conditions to come about? The simple answer is that they are all required by clear scriptural prophecies describing Israel in the end-times. Anyone who reads these prophecies from a literal perspective (and does not try to allegorize or spiritualize them away) could recognize the requirement of their future literal fulfillment. The prophecy of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel Chapters 38-39 is a good example. Price notes:


Set in an eschatological context (Ezekiel 33-48), the text specifically states that its fulfillment "will come about in the last days" (38:16). At this time "the people of Israel" are described as living in "the cities of Israel" in "the Land of Israel" (38:14, 18-19; 39:9). According to Ezekiel 37:25 this Land is "the land that I (God) gave to Jacob (Israel) My servant, in which your fathers lived." Ezekiel 38:8 also states that the Jewish People who had retuned to the Land had been "gathered from many nations" (a worldwide regathering). The regathering of Jews from exile in 538 B.C. had only been from one nation (Babylon). Only in our modern period have we witnessed a regathering of Jews to Israel from "many nations" in accord with this prophecy.
Ezekiel’s Gog and Magog prophecy also speaks of "the mountains of Israel" (39:2, 4, 17). This mountainous region that extends the length of the country did not become a part of the modern State until after the Six Day War of 1967. Only then could this region again be properly called "the mountains of Israel." Before this date it was under a succession of foreign rulers until wrested from Jordan (who last controlled it from 1948-1967). This is in harmony with Ezekiel 38:8, 12 which states that this mountainous land, before being restored to Israel, had been under "the sword" (foreign dominion). The text further states that the Land had been "a continual waste." History affirms that under foreign domination, and especially under the 400 years of Ottoman Turkish domination, the once fertile mountain region (particularly in the north) had been denuded and had eroded into a wasteland. [4]

As Price notes, some have attempted to claim that the restoration being spoken of was the one that occurred in the 530s BC as the captive Jews were allowed to return to Israel after seventy years of Babylonian exile. However, a careful reading of this prophecy eliminates that return as being the fulfillment spoken of, as it was only a migration from one nation (Babylon). The prophecy requires the return to be worldwide, from “many nations.” Only in modern times have we witnessed a regathering of this kind. The many points of similarity between the conditions required by Ezekiel 38 and those of the modern regathering make it clear that this is the one intended. Price concludes:


Therefore, Ezekiel 38-39 demonstrates that an Israel with the conditions presently experienced by the modern State was predicted to exist before final prophetic fulfillment would be possible. Other texts also reveal that the Israel of the end time will have conditions that parallel those existing in the modern Jewish State. Daniel 9:27 depicts Israel in the Land, in possession of the Land, and in the city of Jerusalem when the seventieth week of Daniel starts. It also speaks of a "covenant" being made between the Jewish leadership ("the many") and a foreign leader ("the prince that shall come," verse 26). In order for any covenant to be legally binding and enforceable, both parties must be recognized entities that have the authority and power to fulfill the terms of the agreement. Since this verse implies that the covenant has something to do with the restoration of the Temple and the sacrificial system, it is understood that the Jewish leaders have a control in the city that qualifies them as partners in the contract. Matthew 24:16 likewise implies that Jewish law (the Sabbath) is being observed in the Land, another factor that indicates Jewish control of the city or at least freedom from foreign rule that would restrict the free exercise of the Jewish religion. Today, the modern Jewish State fulfills all of these conditions, including having sovereignty (whether fully exercised or not) over the Temple Mount. If the modern State of Israel parallels the Israel of the end times, how can we not say that the modern State of Israel is prophetically significant? [5]

After examining all of this evidence, our overall conclusion is simple: the creation of the modern Jewish State in 1948 has the prophetic significance of beginning the process of the regathering of Israel from the nations (the first regathering in unbelief in preparation for end-times judgment), which will be followed by a further regathering (the second regathering in faith) after the Tribulation, in preparation for the time of Israel’s full physical and spiritual restoration in the Millennial Kingdom. This is the result of a plain, literal reading of scripture, and it aligns perfectly with what we can observe in real time as we've watched the nation of Israel emerge back onto the world scene.


So then in conclusion, if modern Israel is prophetically significant, and we know that God’s plan is to ultimately use this process to bring them to national salvation, then it should be clear what the attitude of the Bible-believing Christian should be towards Israel as well as the Jewish people. Our viewpoint towards them should mirror the mind of God – He still loves them, has plans for their future, and ultimately will get them back! Our attitudes as Christians should be in line with this.


 

[1] Randall Price, “Is the Modern State of Israel Prophetically Significant?” Pre-Trib.org. (https://www.pre-trib.org/articles/dr-randall-price/message/is-the-modern-state-of-israel-prophetically-significant/read - Retrieved 11/10/20)

[2] Michael Rydelnik, Understanding the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Chicago: Moody Press, 2004, p. 119.

[3] Price.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.


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