By Nathan Jones
Did Moses actually prophesy the exile and regathering of the Jews?
I was recently interviewed by Vic Batista, senior pastor of the Miami-based Calvary Chapel Aventura on his radio program "The Truth Will Set You Free" via TWave Radio. "Pastor Vic" (as he likes to be called) was born in the Dominican Republic and is as active in planting churches and helping orphans there as he is in southern Florida, reaching out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to both the English and Spanish speaking audiences.
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" episode, we'll marvel at how Israel being a nation again fulfills one of the most prolific prophecies in all the Old Testament. The first half of the discussion is in English, while the second half is translated into Spanish.
Israel Versus Hamas
Vic: The subject matter today is that of the prophetic fulfillment of the return of the Jews to Israel.
Nathan: I'm excited to get to talk about this Bible prophecy. It's so amazing and provides even more proof that the Bible is God's Word. Therefore, we can be sure of our understanding of God when we read the Bible so as to put our faith and trust in Him.
Vic: Amen! Bible prophecy is always exciting to talk about. Nathan, you have an incredible website full of resources about Bible prophecy. I always love to ask that you give us that information for the resources that Lamb & Lion Ministries provides. There are wonderful resources that people can take advantage of on your website. Could you give us the address to your website?
Nathan: Come and visit our website at www.lamblion.com. Our website is filled with articles on Bible prophecy. We have a television show called "Christ in Prophecy." You can also join our Facebook Group and discuss Bible prophecy with others. If you need a daily dose of God's prophetic Word, you can go to our blog about Bible prophecy at lamblion.us. I would like to invite folks to come and check us out.
Vic: Nathan, before we get started, let me ask you, how is your week going?
Nathan: My week has been good, but not so for Israel. There's been a lot of talk about Bible prophecy lately because of all that's been going on between Israel and Gaza with Operation Protective Edge. Israel over the last few weeks has been trying to get rid of the terrorist group in Gaza called Hamas. They've been firing thousands of missiles into Israel's country day after day.
The whole world is really divided over this issue between Israel and Hamas. Some are saying that Israel is the bad guy, while some say that Hamas in Gaza is the bad guy. And, people wonder, where's this all heading? What's this all leading up to? This has been a very sad and very dangerous time for Israel. There have been so many deaths on both sides lately, but it's also a very exciting time because we are seeing the Lord's prophetic word being fulfilled this very day.
Vic: It is exciting seeing God's word being fulfilled! That's why we air "The Truth Will Set You Free" to show our listeners how close we are to the soon return of Jesus Christ.
Most Important Prophetic Development
Vic: Nathan, what would you say has been one of the most important prophetic developments of the 20th Century?
Nathan: Well, clearly the 20th Century was a time of moving and shaking, of great technological strides, and great political strides. But, if you read Deuteronomy 30, which is Moses' last message to the Jews, you will realize that the greatest prophetic fulfillment in all of human history has been the regathering of the Jews back to Israel. The reason this is so because the regathering points to bigger events that are prophesied to be coming soon after.
Vic: I whole heartedly agree with you. We have seen some incredible things happen, but the regathering of the nation of Israel has been one of the most incredible events of all times. The 20th Century was full of momentous events that no one could have foreseen for 1,900 years, but Nathan, there have also been a number of other things that have transpired, right?
Nathan: Oh, certainly. In the 20th Century we made it to outer space when Buzz Armstrong and others landed on the moon. There was the terrible decades of Communism, though it fell in Russia. We made huge advancements with cars and technology and medicine. Wonderful things have happened, but terrible things as well.
But when it comes to the overall plan of God, from beginning to end, God has a plan for human history and it's not just happening randomly. The fact that Israel became a nation again back in May of 1948 points to the fulfillment of many prophecies. The Bible said that when Israel becomes a nation once more, the end times would be here. Therefore, we need to prepare for Jesus' soon return.
Vic: There are a lot of relevant prophecies in the Bible to discuss, but the one we'll address now is the regathering of the Jews in unbelief. Nathan, would you explain to us what that means?
Nathan: Sure. Let's go back to what I said about Moses' last message to the Jewish people in Deuteronomy 30. The Hebrews had been wandering the desert for 40 years in the Exodus. They were about to go into the Holy Land. There they'd have plenty and wouldn't have to worry about their enemies because it would be a time of peace and blessing.
But, Moses said if Children of Israel disobeyed God and chased after other gods, then God would send a number of punishments upon them in the hopes of chastising them, including exile, and then having to bring them back to their land again. Moses prophesied that the Jews would be exiled because they would turn their hearts away from the Lord. Moses knew that when the Hebrews went into the Land that eventually their descendants would give up on God. Because of their rebellion, they'd be exiled to the four corners of the earth. Moses relayed that the Lord promised that He would bring the exiled Hebrews back one day.
Moses said, "The Lord will make you abound in all the works of your hands and the fruit of your body and increase of your livestock and the produce for the land for good. Rejoice in the Lord for good, for He will rejoice over your father's. He said he will put curses on their enemies and that the Lord will bring you back into the land from where you were scattered." So, Moses knew ahead of time that the Jews would be scattered to the four corners of the earth because they gave up on God, but one day they would be regathered as a nation again.
Israel was dispersed not just once, but twice. This will blow your mind, Pastor Vic. First the Jews were exiled by Assyria and Babylon back in the 580s, then until about 500 BC, they were regarthered back into Israel. They lasted back in their land until the Romans came to conquer and the Jews rebelled against them in 70 AD. The Jews were then exiled a second time by Titus Vespasian, the Roman general who destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. Then there was the Bar Kokhba Revolt in 135 AD, but that was it — no more Israel.
When a nation is destroyed, that's it. It doesn't come back, at least not the same, ever again. But, the Bible said that God would bring the Jews back into the land not just once, but a second time, and that's why this prophecy is so significant. Not only did Isaiah 11:10-12 prophesy one exile, but it prophesied a second exile as well.
Vic: Amazing, Nathan! I do agree with you that this is incredible. I hope that everyone is just as amazed as we are at the accuracy of the Word of God prophetically. Please continue on, Nathan, because this is very exciting.
Nathan: Let's read from Isaiah 11. By this time in Israel's history the nation had pretty much degraded morally. They weren't following God, so the prophets were coming out and saying something like, "Alright, the Assyrians and the Babylonians are going to come and exile you and you are going to live in another land. You'll yearn to come back to Israel again. Then you'll finally give your heart to the Lord, but since you won't give it to God sincerely for very long, you will be exiled a second time."
Reading from Isaiah 11:10-12, it says, "On that day there shall be a root of Jessie who shall stand as a banner to the people. For the Gentiles shall seek Him and His resting place shall be glorious," That's talking about Jesus. "And it shall come to pass on that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left from Assyria, and Egypt, and Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamatha and the island of the seas." The "island of the seas" means all the nations of the world. "And He will set up a banner for the nations and will assemble the outcast of Israel and will gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."
Due to the first exile, the Jews were scattered to Babylon. They were sent up into the Babylonian area, which is today Iraq. When the exiled Jews returned from Babylon, they all returned from one nation, from what would became present-day Iraq. But, the second exile scattered the Jews to the four corners of the earth. A second regathering would bring the exiles back from the four corners of the earth. That second regathering started in the late 1890's and continues up to this day — just as the Bible prophesied.
Vic: Amazing! The four corners of the earth means everywhere, right?
Nathan: Exactly. The Bible says, "the island of the sea", which means all the nations out there beyond what Israel knew about at that time. The names of the nations the passage gives are the old names of the nations, but when we look at the names today, we see they literally mean the whole world.
You live in Aventura, Pastor Vic, and so I'm sure you are surrounded by many Jews. I used to live in Philadelphia, and it had a heavy Jewish population there. There are Jews from all over the world who have been homeless for nearly 2,000 years, that is until 1948 when the United Nations decided to give the land back to the Jews. In May of 1948, Israel became a nation again, just like the Bible prophesied.
Think back to other nations. Have we seen the Hittites become a nation again, or the Mayans, or the Aztecs? No. But Israel — God's choses people of the Bible — have become a nation once more.
Some people say that this resurrection of a nation is not important and that God has no purpose for modern Israel, but they are wrong. Just read Matthew 24 where Jesus talks about a fig tree. Jesus was really referring to Israel when He said that when the fig tree rebuds, the nation of Israel would become a country once more. That means the end times are here.
We are living in the end times because we are seeing Israel fighting for its life again. We know from prophecy that Jesus will one day set up His kingdom in Israel. Nothing is going to change that, not the United Nations or the Islamic forces or the United States. No one can force Israel to give up their land or cease to be a nation, because God has ordained it to now last forever. So, if anyone is betting against Israel in all these Middle East conflicts, they're betting on the wrong side.
Vic: Yes, when it comes to betting against Israel, those people are going to lose. They might as well play the lottery.
In the second part of this discussion with Pastor Vic on the Jews regathering back into Israel, we'll marvel at what a miracle this really is.