By Nathan Jones
How did the Jews begin returning to the land of Israel as prophesied?
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.
Vic: Nathan, talk to us a little bit about the migration that's happening of the Jewish people back to their land. This is not by coincidence, right?
Nathan: Coincidence? No, no, no. Back in the late 1800's in France, they experienced a similar happening to what we're seeing today with Anti-Semitism. Turn on the news and you can see large Muslim populations rioting against the Jews. They're holding protests and boycotts. They want Israel destroyed and all the Jews massacred.
A similar reaction was happening in the late 1800's. There was a young Jewish police officer named Dreyfus. Dreyfus was falsely accused of a crime. Not only France, but all of Europe, immediately erupted into such Anti-Semitic hatred of the Jews.
That's when a young Austrian, also a Jew, was sent to France as a reporter on this story. His name was Theodore Herzl. Herzl was there and saw the hatred for the Jewish people. He realized there's no way that the Jews will ever be able to integrate into any society. He believed his people needed their own country again. Only then would they be safe.
That's why Herzl in the late 1800's started the First Zionist Congress where they'd talk about getting the Jews back into their own land. Over the years he got lots of people excited about moving back to the Holy Land, and that's what they did. The Jews began moving back.
It's a huge lie that the Jews took what was then called Palestine by force. They didn't take the land as the Islamic lie goes today. No, they bought the land. The land had been decimated by the Romans and for some two-thousand years left empty. Nobody was really living in it. The trees could be counted because the Ottomans taxed what people were there based on how many trees they owned. So, there were very few trees in the land. It was utterly a wasteland.
The people who were living in Palestine when the Jews began buying the land happened to be Syrians, not Palestinians. There's no such thing historically as a Palestinian. The Syrians alone were there.
When the Jews began buying the land, the Syrians were laughing their heads off. They were like, "Look at those crazy Jews. They're coming here and buying up desert and swamps."
The Jews are very ingenious people. After they came back to Palestine, they figured out ways to drain the swamps. They brought the deserts in the country back to life again. I've been there three times and I'm always amazed at what a bounty it is there with all the flowers and the fruits and the vegetables. The Jews took what was like going out into the Mojave dessert and by the breaking of their backs turned the land into New Jersey, the Garden State. That's what they did with the barren land.
Over the years since settling Palestine, the Jews were able to buy up a lot of the land, but there still wasn't a lot of Jews there. Then the Holocaust happened and six million Jews were killed throughout Europe by Hitler during World War II. After that atrocity, the United Nations agreed that the Jews needed a land for their people, so in 1947 the UN made a resolution about allowing the Jews to return to their homeland. Unfortunately, the UN cut out a lot of the land they'd originally promised the Jews. All of Israel encompassed what now is Jordan. The UN cut it back to less than half of what Israel is today. On May 16, 1948, Israel declared itself a nation, and instantly every Islamic country around them started attacking them.
Hatred of the Jews
Vic: We see this Anti-Semitic hatred permeating the world today. We see this spirit of the Antichrist suddenly growing again, right? There is great hatred being spread against God's people — both Christians and the Jews.
Nathan: That's how you can tell that Satan is in the world, because there's so much hatred of the Jewish people. It rages against unlike any other people group in the world. It's crazy!
For instance, the conflict Israel just had with Gaza, it revealed who Hamas really is. They take their own people and use them as human shields, and put them in buildings they know are going to be blown up. Even when Israel isn't attacking them in self-defense, Hamas still persecutes their own people. The world will instantly condemn Israel for defending itself against all the rockets Hamas has shot at them and side with Hamas. There's something supernatural there with the world's hatred of the Jewish people. I think it's because Satan knows that through the Jewish people God brought us the Bible, God brought us the Messiah, and God will bring us Jesus' Second Coming. If Satan can destroy the Jews, he thinks he can waylay God's plan. But, nobody can waylay God's plans!
Vic: That's right. And also, because of the Jewish people, we Gentiles have also come to know this incredible relationship that with Jesus.
Nathan: It's so sad what we take for granted when it comes to the Jewish people. God picked them out of all people to show His grace. Talk to any Jewish person and they'll tell you, God picked the most stiff-necked, stubborn group of people. They're always breaking covenants with God, He'd still show them love, but they'd just spit in His face in return. In return, they were exiled, but God brought them back. Still, they turned on Him again, and so they got exiled again, but God's still bringing them back a second time.
Jewish history is like God's giant object lesson. Our hearts are just like Israel. We're constantly rejecting God. We always want to do it our way, even though our way usually hurts ourselves. If we were to do things God's way, accepting His love and sacrifice, we can have eternal life. And so, God gave us the Jewish people as a giant object lesson.
Another part of the object lesson teaches us that only a remnant of the Jewish people will accept Jesus as Savior. We know that during the Tribulation there is a terrible "time of Jacob's trouble" when two-thirds of the Jews will be killed. There's about 9 million of them today throughout the world. If that was in today's numbers, and only a third of them turn to Jesus during the Tribulation, that's be about three million.
We see people today whom we give the Gospel — the good news of Jesus Christ — to, and we're telling someone "Jesus loves you and He died for you." But, they'll reply, "So what?" Or, "I don't care." Or, as admit as far as, "I hate Him." You have to wonder, "What?!?" But, it's typical of most people's responses. Very few — a remnant — accepts Jesus as Savior. We too as Gentiles are offered salvation through the work that Jesus did on the cross through the Jews, and like the Jews, only a remnant of us accept Jesus as Savior.
Vic: Yes, and that's a very good point. Our prayer is that the Holy Spirit will continue to open up the eyes of more individuals to recognize what Jesus means to us. This is why we're so excited about His soon return, and also about this incredible miracle of the regathering of the nation of Israel.
In the third part of this discussion with Pastor Vic on the Jews regathering back into Israel, we'll look at what will finally cause all the Jews in the world to return to their own land again.