Is the Modern State of Israel Really Part of Biblical Prophecy?

Johannes Pflaum

We’re often asked reproachfully, what gives us the right to relate the prophecy of the gathering of Israel to the present? There have always been return migrations to Israel, even if they were on a smaller scale (e.g. from the Babylonian captivity). An explanation

The prophet Isaiah announced, “And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (Isaiah 11:12). There’s only one single chapter of world history where we can speak of a worldwide return to Israel from all four directions. If the Jews returned to their land before the time of Christ, this always happened from one direction (Babylon) and to a comparatively small extent. But at the end of the 19th century, as a result of the sudden emergence of Zionism, the worldwide return of the Jews began, just as the Bible had predicted. At first, this stream was still relatively small, but after the terrible events of National Socialism, it swelled rapidly.

It was January 5, 1895, on the parade grounds of the Military Academy in Paris. A French officer was publicly stripped of his army rank. His badge was torn from his uniform and his sword was broken with a drastic gesture. Additionally, the enraged crowd that had gathered shouted, “Death to the Jew!”

What was going on? Highly explosive confidential documents from French counterintelligence had been delivered to the Germans from somewhere within the General Staff. Colonel Sandherr, head of the French counterintelligence unit, was a staunch anti-Semite. When he came across the Jewish name Dreyfus while looking through the agency’s list of names, it was clear to him: “Only Jews could have committed such a tremendous betrayal!”

Alfred Dreyfus was convicted in a scandal-ridden trial without real evidence and banished to Devil’s Island, where he suffered from the tropical climate and poor prison conditions. Picquart, the new head of French counterintelligence, later uncovered the real culprit. Although he proved Dreyfus’ innocence, no one was interested in hearing it. The Jew had to stay on Devil’s Island. Picquart didn’t let up. In 1906, he finally succeeded: In place of his degradation, Dreyfus was rehabilitated and appointed a Knight of the Legion of Honor.

A correspondent from a Viennese newspaper was among the observers of Dreyfus’ mock trial. This man was a Jew himself. The scandal surrounding the sentencing raised many questions for him. He began to think about his people scattered all over the world. No homeland, no state to defend or advocate for the interests of its citizens. And so the Viennese correspondent, Theodor Herzl, wrote The Jewish State, the pamphlet which made him the founder of Zionism and, from a human perspective, the spiritual father of Israel’s national rebirth.

After Titus destroyed Jerusalem, Israel’s structure had apparently gone up in smoke. Since then, under foreign occupation, there was also no longer a Jewish state. But now the predictions of Ezekiel 37 seemed to emerge with Theodor Herzl. The dried bones were stirring. According to prophetic testimony, God used Herzl to begin the event which would usher in the coming of the Messiah: the gathering of Israel!

Theodor Herzl’s Zionism heralded the spiritual birth of a Jewish national homeland. But it said nothing about the location of this homeland. So, it was brought to the Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland. Fritz Grünzweig gives the report of a visitor: Jews from all over Europe came together for this Congress (merchants, bankers, etc.). They discussed various possibilities for a Jewish home, such as Madagascar or Africa. In the midst of the discussion, an old rabbi called out the words of the Psalm: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning” (137:5). Then these astute men rose, fell weeping into each other’s arms and said, “Come, let’s go to the land of the fathers.” So, rather than founding a Jewish national homeland, the State of Israel was resurrected in its original land.

In 1895, the czarist secret police in Paris also fabricated the so-called Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The fake writings recorded the purported plans of the Jews for conspiracy and takeover of world government. These supposedly secret protocols served as an excuse for pogroms against Eastern European Jews. They are an anti-Semitic “standard work” that would also play an important role in the Third Reich. To this day, the Protocols are still read in Arab countries. They also mention alleged Enlightenment books on Freemasonry as supporting “evidence.”

In 1905, the Jews were blamed for Russia’s defeat in the Russo-Japanese War, and later also became the scapegoat for the outbreak of the Revolution. Between 1917 and 1920, at least 75,000 Jews were slaughtered in Ukraine alone. During this time, the territory of Israel received a wave of Jewish immigration from Russia and Europe. Tel Aviv was built, and the first kibbutzim were founded. In addition, the First World War broke out. The Ottoman Empire (what was left of it) went under. For 400 years, the land of Israel had been under Ottoman rule; now it became a sort of no-man’s-land under the League of Nations. England received the Mandate for Palestine in 1920. This was the first prerequisite for the founding of Israel.

The Jews had been given the right to a national homeland in the area designated “Palestine” under the Balfour Declaration of 1917. As a consequence, a new wave of immigration began between 1919 and 1932. With the increasing return of Jews to their homeland, the Jewish-Arab conflict developed. In the short span of time between the two World Wars, the English divided the territory of Palestine for political reasons. Transjordan emerged from the larger of the two parts in 1922.

Then the Nazi regime in Germany plunged the world into a catastrophe that far exceeded the cruelty and casualties of the First World War. Anti-Judaism reached its peak during this time. Hitler’s terrible Holocaust aimed to completely annihilate the Jews. He had six million Jews gruesomely murdered in concentration camps, including one million children. Theophil Wurm, bishop of the regional Protestant church in Württemberg, was one of the few who took a clear stand against the Nazi regime. When the terrible carpet bombing of German cities began, he said, “Why is this fire coming from heaven? It’s the punishment for what we’re doing to the Jews.”

The result of the Second World War was exactly the opposite of what Hitler wanted. Instead of the total annihilation of the Jews, the state of Israel experienced its national resurrection three years later. Ezekiel 37 became a reality: Out of the field of dead bones (Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen, etc.) came the nearly-dead survivors. It was like the opening of the graves (vv. 11-12). Six hundred thousand Jews founded the State of Israel—the tenth part of the Jewish victims murdered under the Hitler regime.

The founding of the State of Israel shows us how the living God, in His sovereignty, used the very things directed against Him in order to achieve His purpose. The man who wanted the total annihilation of Judaism was an inadvertent contributor to Israel’s resurrection. And when the neighboring Arab peoples attacked the still-young Jewish state in the 1948 War of Independence, the First Israeli air force fighter planes were modified Messerschmitt 109s of Czech production. Thus, the standard fighter plane of Hitler’s air force had a significant share in the defense of Israel’s existence. As Psalm 2 states, “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision” (vv. 1-4).

We see an impressive sign of the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy in the resurrection of the State and people of Israel. The first phase of Ezekiel 37 has become a reality. The bones of the dead have come together, and flesh and skin have grown on them. With this, we wait for the fulfillment of the second phase: Israel’s salvation and the consequent conversion and spiritual renewal by the coming Lord. Our Lord will also redeem His Word here—and this could happen very soon.

“And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves. And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD” (Ezek 37:13-14).

News From Israel - 04/2019

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