By Nathan Jones
Are we really living in the most significant time in human history?
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.
Significance to Us Today
Vic: Our subject matter is that of the regathering of Israel. The Bible says in Jeremiah 31:8, "Behold, I am bringing them from the north country and I will gather them from the remote parts of the earth. Among them the blind and the lame, the women with child and she who is in labor with child together, a great company they will return here." This is an incredible miracle that God has performed.
Nathan, can you talk to us about the regathering of the nation of Israel and the significance that that has for us today?
Nathan: I'd be happy to, because the prophetic regathering of the Jews back into Israel is an exciting topic. It's what most Bible prophecy teachers call the "Super Sign."
Jesus gave us many end times signs to look out for, especially in Matthew 24 and its parallels in Luke 21 and Mark 13. In Luke 21, Jesus gives us ten signs to look out for that when they happen tells that Jesus is returning soon. One of those signs, and I believe the most important, is the "Super Sign" that Israel would become a nation again. The Jewish people were scattered across the face of the planet, and not just exiled one time, but twice.
The prophecy of the first regathering of the Jews was foretold hundreds of years before the first exile occurred in 722 BC for Israel and 582 BC for Judah. Israel was then exiled a second time across the world since 70 AD when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem.
The Jewish people for centuries have since roamed the world as vagabonds basically. They've been without a homeland or nation of their own. They've been persecuted wherever they've went.
Jesus said that Israel would be a player in the end times, and so the people must be regathered again. They'd become a nation once more, and when that nation formed again, we'd knew that the end times were upon us and Jesus is coming back very soon.
Vic: Excellent point! Nathan, that you produced a Bible Prophecy Insight video about the regathering of Israel. I really love that video. You show the regathering of the nation of Israel as an end times sign, along with other end times signs.
Nathan: Nearly six to seven hundred years before Jesus came at His First Coming, God gave the prophet Ezekiel a vision. We can read about that vision in Ezekiel 37. Ezekiel was shown a valley of dry bones, the idea being that the nation of Israel was dead. This was a surprise to Ezekiel, because at that time period Judah was still a nation, though at some point during Ezekiel's life he'd see Judah destroyed as a nation.
The Romans destroyed Israel again in 70 AD. The Romans tired of the Jews rebelling against them, so they sent Titus Vespasian as the general to deal a final blow against Judea. He absolutely obliterated Jerusalem and he destroyed the Temple, just as Jesus said when he was crying at the Temple during the last week of His life here. Jesus in Matthew 24 said not one stone of the Temple would be left upon another. That's exactly as it happened. True, the Romans were so anxious to get the gold that had melted between the stones due to the fires that had broken out that they levered the stones apart. In the process, the Temple was utterly destroyed.
And so, the Jewish people were scattered to the four corners of the wind since 70 AD. For 19 hundred years, the Jews have been scattered across the nations But, in 1948 through a series of events, the Jews have regathered into a nation once more. That so many ancient prophecies concerning this have come true, it's really important that we take this seriously.
Vic: Here we see this event happening during our time, well, back in 1948. You and I are not that old, right?
Nathan: Yes, true, we weren't there in 1948. My father was though. When it comes to the word "generation" in Matthew 24:34, when you translate it from the original Greek, means the people the group that have seen Israel become a nation again. So, we may not have been alive in 1948, but we are living in that generation — that age, that people group — that has seen Israel become a nation again.
Vic: This is why we're so excited! Hopefully this good news will encourage those who understand the huge importance of this passage. We pray they'll recognize what an incredible miracle and privilege it is for us to be alive in this age right now.
Nathan: As a kid I used to think we lived in boring times, but then as I got older I realized the significant changes that have happened to the world in just the past hundred years. A hundred years ago people were mostly still riding on horses and buggies. Planes weren't available to just anybody, and they were basically just made out of wood. We hadn't gone to the moon. We didn't have cell phones and television and all the amazing technologies that we have today. For thousands of years, life was pretty much the same. There were some technological developments, but overall we've seen in the last couple of years an incredible skyrocket in technological advances by comparison. The Lord was with this super-rise in technology in part saying, "I'm making it possible for the end times to happen."
Besides Israel becoming a nation again in 1948, Jesus said that there'd be other signs that would come and increase in frequency and intensity the closer to Jesus' return. So, sure, there's always been earthquakes and storms, but they get more frequent and more intense the closer we get to Jesus' return. And so I realized, we're living in really exciting times. We could actually be living in the time when the Church will be raptured out of here and off this earth to meet Jesus in the clouds and be with the Lord forever, just as He promised in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15.
So, Pastor Vic, I agree with you. We are living in very exciting times!
Signs of Knowledge and Travel
Vic: We are seeing so many other prophesies besides the return of Israel being fulfilled right before our eyes, right, Nathan?
Nathan: Indeed. Go to Daniel 12:4, for instance, where he's told by an angel how in the end times knowledge and travel would increase exponentially. All the way up to about a hundred years ago, most people never left their town. They grew up, they lived, and they died in their own town.
But, now a days, we can hop on plane and go anywhere in the world within 24 hours. It takes 13 hours, or if the headwind is really good 11 hours, to get to the other side of the world, to Israel, to Tel Aviv. Think that Mark Twain in the 1800's took three months by boat just to get to Israel. If he could take a Concord jet over there, he'd be zipping across the pond so to speak in just a few hours.
Technology has just skyrocketed incredibly in the last few decades. It's all leading up to a point when the Antichrist, this one world ruler who's coming to the world, will control the world through commerce. He'll have this mark which he'll put on the people's forehead or right hand, and they can't buy or sell without it. It'll need a lot of technology to make the Beast commerce system happen.
Look at the number of events that will happen which the whole world will witness. For example, there will be these Two Witnesses who'll be in Jerusalem and for 3.5 years. They'll witness on God's behalf. Then the Antichrist will come and finally kill them off. Their bodies will sit in the streets for 3.5 days, but they'll be resurrected. Revelation 11 says the whole world watches their death and resurrection. Now how can the whole world watch the Two Witnesses being resurrected out of Jerusalem unless we have the technology like cellphones and TV's and satellites and the Internet and all in order to be able to see that happen?
There are certainly other technologies which Bible foretells, but an increase in knowledge and travel are just two of the many signs that say we're living in the end times. The "Super Sign" that's most important though is Israel becoming a nation again.
In the fifth part of this discussion with Pastor Vic on the Jews regathering back into Israel, we'll look at why this is called the "Super Sign."