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Is Modern History Fulfilling Old Testament Prophecies?

by ervte

There is something very special about the survival of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. If you look at the last 3000 years of human history, the fact that the Jewish people still exist is nothing short of a miracle. So if you’re looking for a modern-day gift that points to the truth of Old Testament prophecies about God’s people, there’s no getting around this.

All the nations in the Levant region contemporaries of the Jews no longer exist. The Hittites, the Amorites, the Amalekites, the Philistines, the Edomites, the Jebusites, and many other nations have disappeared from history. Only the Jews have remained, and they have remained so despite deportation and scattering around the world where they endured terrible pogroms and the Nazi holocaust. They have returned to Palestine and survived despite the recent wars against them aimed at exterminating them.Things I am asked: Does modern history fulfil Old Testament prophecies? - Eternity News

This alone should send a shiver down your spine. It indicates that something special is going on. It seems that God’s hand remains on his people. Let me say that this does not mean that the Jewish people are particularly godly. They haven’t been, and they certainly aren’t perfect today. God has had to constantly chastise His people throughout history for their immoral and unfaithful behavior. But it makes you think.

Significantly, Jesus insisted that even the smallest detail of Scriptural prophecy would not be fulfilled (Matthew 5:17-19). The poignant part of this statement is that some of these prophecies, especially regarding the return of Jesus, seem to have only recently been fulfilled.

One of these prophecies concerns the return of the Jews from around the world (Isaiah 11:10-12, 15-16; 43:5-7; 60:8-9). Listen to the words of the Old Testament prophet Amos:

I will plant Israel in their land, that they may never again be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the Lord your God. (Amos 9:11-15)

The Old Testament prophet Isaiah says:

Who are these who fly like clouds, like doves to their nest? The islands are certainly looking at me; in front are the ships of Tarshish, which bring your children from afar, with their silver and gold, to the glory of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.

Foreigners will rebuild your walls, and their kings will serve you.

Though I struck you in anger, I will favor you (Isaiah 60:8-10).

Is it too imaginative to believe that the allusion to those who “fly with you like clouds” could reference planes returning Jews to their homeland? (See also the reference to God carrying his people on “eagle’s wings” in Exodus 19:4.) Could the “ships of Tarshish” similarly refer to the ships that brought Jewish immigrants home in the twentieth century? Note: The exact location of Tarshish is unknown. The name is linked to Carthage, Spain, and Great Britain.

Intriguingly, Isaiah speaks of the land of the Jews arising in one day.

Who ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen such a thing? Can a country be born in a day or a nation in a moment? But as soon as Zion is in labor, she gives birth to her children (Isaiah 66:8).

This must have seemed a highly improbable prophecy, yet modern Israel was born in one day. The mandate for British rule over Palestine ended midnight on May 14, 1948. The next day Israel became independent.

Operation “Magic Carpet” was launched almost immediately. This was the nickname given to “Operation on Eagles’ Wings,” a program designed to bring 49,000 Yemeni Jews to the new state of Israel between June 1949 and September 1950. This initiative began the return of Jews to Israel from all over the world. British and American planes brought them over. The desire to one day return to Jerusalem had been kept alive for centuries – exemplified by the phrase “Next year, in Jerusalem,” said by all Jews at the end of the annual Passover meal.

If you visit the city of Jerusalem, you will see that the eastern gate (the “Golden Gate”) is sealed with masonry. Intriguingly, the Old Testament prophet, Ezekiel, prophesied that this gate would be closed and not opened until the Messiah (Jesus) returned. This is what he said:

Then the man led me back to the sanctuary’s outer gate, which faced east and was closed. The LORD said to me, “This gate must remain closed. It must not be opened; no one may pass through it. It must remain closed because the LORD, the God of Israel, has passed through it. The prince himself is the only one who enters the gate and may sit and eat in the presence of the LORD, and he must enter through the porch of the gate aand go out.” (Ezekiel 44:1-3)

Ezekiel’s prophecy about the sealing of the eastern gate was given about 575 BC. He could not have imagined then what a history that entrance would have. The Byzantine emperor, Justinian 1, built the current gate around AD 520. It was closed by the Muslims in 810, reopened in 1102 by the Crusaders, and walled again by the Muslim leader Saladin after he recaptured Jerusalem in 1187. The Ottoman sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, rebuilt the gate and city walls in 1541 – but he also sealed the gate.

It has remained sealed until today.

It is always difficult to say how literally to take Old Testament prophecy or to state with certainty what they refer to. However, we are privileged to know enough to greatly respect Bible prophecy and recognize its relevance to us today.

Dr. Nick Hawkes is a scientist, preacher, apologist, writer, and broadcaster. He also describes himself as an absent-minded, slightly obsessive man, pathetically weak from cancer and chemo, who has experienced and must experience the grace of God every day.

Nick has written a book, Soar Above the Storm, in which he draws on his experience with cancer to encourage anyone going through a storm to find peace and hope in God. It offers a 40-day retreat to be refreshed and strengthened and to find deep peace in God. Order it from Koorong.

He blogs and records podcasts at nickhawkes.net.

Nick told Eternity his life story here: Deadly Storms, Heroin Addicts, Cancer, and My Faith.

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