First of all, some background information is needed before the prophecy is explained. Prior to Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, there was a man named Abram. He lived in 2100 b.c.
God told Abram, "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you. I will make your name great and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you. Everyone on the earth will be blessed through you." Genesis 12:2-3
God brought Abram outside and said, "Look now toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to number them." Then God said to him, "So shall your descendants be." Abram believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Genesis 15:5-6
The Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river Euphrates." Genesis 15:18
God said to Abram, "As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram but your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful. I will make nations of you and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for generations to come. I will be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you and I will be their God." Genesis 17:3-8
Abraham said to God, "If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!" Then God said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. As for Ishmael, I have heard you. I will surely bless him and I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers and I will make him into a great nation but I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year." Genesis 17:18-21
God established an everlasting covenant between himself and the descendants of Abraham and gave the land of Canaan to them. Abraham had two sons: Ishmael and Isaac. He wanted God's covenant with him to go through his first son, Ishmael, but God made it abundantly clear his everlasting covenant with Abraham would go through the descendents of his second son, Isaac.
God said to Jacob, "I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth. You will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. Everyone on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." Genesis 28:10-15
Isaac then had two sons: Jacob and Esau. This passage foreshadows what took place over thousands of years.
He (Jacob) had a dream in which he saw a ladder resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the Lord and he said: "I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it." He was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God. This is the gate of heaven!" Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz. Genesis 28:12-19
Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz, which is Bethel, in the land of Canaan. There he built an altar and he called the place El Bethel because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother. Genesis 35:6-7
This is where Jacob's Ladder came from. In Jacob's dream, God told him what would happen to his descendants and gave him the land where he was lying. The land was named Bethel and it was located in Canaan which later became known as Palestine. Other cities in the Promised Land are Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth and Hebron.
The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered. Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob but Israel because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome."
After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, God appeared to him again and blessed him. God said to him, "Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob. Your name will be Israel." So he named him Israel. Genesis 35:9-10
Jacob's name changed to Israel which means he struggles with God and his descendents became the Jews. The Anointed One was a Jew and all people who have placed their faith in him are sanctified with an everlasting blessing just as God promised, everyone on the earth will be blessed through your offspring.
The angel of the Lord also said to her: "You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael because the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild man. His hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand will be against him and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers."
Genesis 16:11-12 written 1400 b.c.
This is a prophecy that can be seen on the news everyday. Remember Abraham had two sons: Ishmael and Isaac. The majority of people in the Middle East today are self-proclaimed descendants of Ishmael. God's Word says Ishmael will be a wild man and he will live in constant struggle and hostility toward all of his neighbors.
With cunning, they conspire against your people. They plot against those you cherish. "Come," they say, "let us destroy them as a nation so that the name of Israel will be remembered no more." With one mind, they plot together. They form an alliance against you -- the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites of Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal, Ammon and Amalek, Philistia, with the people of Tyre. Even Assyria has joined them to lend strength to the descendants of Lot. Do to them as you did to Midian, as you did to Sisera and Jabin at the river Kishon, who perished at Endor and became like refuse on the ground. Let them be confounded and troubled forever. Let them be put to shame and perish so that men may know that you, whose name alone is Jehovah, are the Most High over all the earth. Psalm 83:3-10,17-18 written 1000 b.c.
These are the ancient names of present day Palestine (Philistia, Edom and Jabin), Lebanon (Gebal and Tyre), Jordan (Moab and Ammon), Iraq (Assyria), Arabia (Midian) and Egypt (Sisera). When Israel reclaimed independence in 1948, they invaded and tried to destroy the tiny nation. After 3,000 years, their main goal has not changed. They want to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.
God said to Moses, "You are going to rest with your fathers and these people will soon prostitute themselves to the foreign gods of the land they are entering. They will forsake me and break the covenant I made with them. On that day, I will become angry with them and forsake them. I will hide my face from them and they will be destroyed. Many disasters and difficulties will come upon them and on that day they will ask, 'Have not these disasters come upon us because our God is not with us?'" Deuteronomy 31:16-17 written 1400 b.c.
There were several different occasions when the people of ancient Israel turned away from God and worshiped the false gods of pagan Gentiles. This prophecy of persecution has been fulfilled many times. During the last two thousands years in Europe, Jews were often heavily taxed, robbed of their possessions, stripped of their civil rights, forced into ghettos, tortured and slaughtered. Government and church leaders at times banished the Jews from even living in Spain, England, France, Belgium and Italy. During the Crusades, Jewish villages were often destroyed and men, women and children were burned alive. Centuries of persecutions culminated with the Holocaust during World War II when the Nazis killed an estimated 6 million Jews simply because they were Jews.
Then the Lord will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods, gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing and a despairing heart. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life. In the morning, you will say, "If only it were evening!" and in the evening, "If only it were morning!" because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see. Deuteronomy 28:64-67 written 1400 b.c.
This prophecy has certainly been fulfilled. By 70 A.D., Jewish communities existed in Babylonia, Syria, Egypt, Cyrene, Asia Minor, Greece, Europe, Persia and even as far east as China. In modern times, Jews have migrated to North and South America, South Africa, and Australia. The Jewish population of Central and Eastern Europe, until World War II, was the largest in the world. Despite the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, the vast majority of the Jewish people remain in other parts of the world. The Book of Deuteronomy was recorded by Moses about 3,400 years ago. At that time, the Jews were conquering the land of Canaan and establishing Israel. The Jews were enjoying a string of military victories. It probably seemed odd to Jews living 3,400 years ago to hear they would one day be scattered throughout the world and persecuted. However, the global Jewish exile and the atrocities committed against them are well known. The Nazi plan, called the Final Solution, was to kill every Jew on the face of the earth. Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of England during the Holocaust era, said this was probably the greatest, most horrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world.
The Lord will drive you and the king you set over you to a nation unknown to you or your fathers. There you will worship other gods, gods of wood and stone. You will become a thing of horror and an object of scorn and ridicule to all the nations where the Lord will drive you. Deuteronomy 28:36-37 written 1400 b.c.
The Jews have been expelled from their homeland by the Assyrians, Babylonians and Romans. The Jews have been subject to hatred, scorn and persecution throughout the world probably more than any other group in history. How many people do you know who have a genuine like for the Jews?
As you have been an object of cursing among the nations, O Judah and Israel, so will I save you and you will be a blessing. Do not be afraid but let your hands be strong. Zechariah 8:13 written 530 b.c.
The Jews have been subject to hatred in all of the countries in which they have lived throughout the world. However, God is more powerful than the persecutors and the political leaders who have tried to destroy the Jewish people. God has indeed saved and blessed the Jews.
"I am with you and will save you," declares the Lord. "Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice. I will not let you go entirely unpunished." Jeremiah 30:11 written 600 b.c.
History has many examples of how nations have tried to destroy Israel and the Jews. In 721 b.c., Assyria destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel. They tortured, killed and exiled many Jews. In 586 b.c., Babylon destroyed the southern kingdom of Judah. They also killed and exiled many Jews. In 70 a.d., the Romans killed an estimated 1 million Jews and destroyed Jerusalem and the temple. In 135 a.d., the Romans again killed another 600,000 Jews and exiled many others. During World War II, the Nazis killed 6 million Jews. Hitler said the Nazi regime would reign for 1,000 years. Today, Israel again is a vibrant, independent country but the empires of the Assyrians, Babylonians, Romans and Nazis have vanished. We can judge with our own eyes as to whether God was correct when he said 2,600 years ago that the enemies of the Jews would be destroyed but they would be preserved.
The Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. He will bring you to the land that belonged to your fathers and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. Deuteronomy 30:3-5 written 1400 b.c.
This prophecy began to be fulfilled in the 1900's when many Jews returned to Israel. They came from as far away as China, the United States, Russia and South Africa. Israel declared independence in 1948. Today, Israel is among the world's most prosperous countries.
This is what the Lord Almighty says, "I will save my people from the countries of the east and the west. I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem. They will be my people and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God." Zechariah 8:7-8 written 530 b.c.
This prophecy has been fulfilled on two separate occasions. In 586 b.c., Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and took many Jews as captives to Babylon but many Jews later returned to Jerusalem from Babylon. The Jews rebuilt Jerusalem but the city was destroyed again in 70 a.d. by the Romans. The Romans killed more than 1 million Jews and forced many more into exile. The Jews did not have control of Jerusalem again until 1967 when the Jews recaptured the city during the Six Day War.
"Do not be afraid for I am with you. I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back!' Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth." Isaiah 43:5-6 written 700 b.c.
The Jews have been scattered to virtually every country in the world but millions of Jews have returned to Israel from the east, west, north and south. From the east, many Jews living in the Middle East moved to Israel. From the west, hundreds of thousands of Jews living in Europe and the United States began moving to Israel. From the north, Russia refused to allow its Jewish residents to move to Israel but, after years of pressure from other countries, Russia finally began to allow Jews to return to Israel during the 1980's. Hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews have moved to Israel. From the south, Ethiopia also refused to allow its Jews to return to Israel but in 1985, Israel struck a deal with Ethiopia's communist government to allow the Jews of Ethiopia to move to Israel. This promise was also correct in saying the north (Russia) and the south (Ethiopia) would have to be persuaded to give up their Jews. Many countries pressured Russia for years before it began to allow its Jews to leave, and Ethiopia had to be paid a ransom to allow its Jews to leave. This promise was also correct in saying the Jews would return from the ends of the earth. During the past 100 years, Jews living as far east as China, as far west as the United States, as far north as Scandinavia and as far south as South Africa have moved to Israel.
"I will bring back my exiled people Israel. They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine. They will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them," says the Lord your God.
Amos 9:14-15 written 750 b.c.
Israel was not an independent nation again until several thousand years later on May 14, 1948. Within hours of declaring independence, the surrounding countries, whose sizes and populations dwarf Israel, declared war and attacked them. Despite the staggering odds, Israel was not only able to defeat them all, but they actually expanded the borders of their country by a good margin. This promise from God also makes it clear Israel will never again lose control of their country. Israel's enemies could save themselves much agony if they would only read the Bible.
This is what the Sovereign Lord says, "I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms." Ezekiel 37:21-22 written 580 b.c.
God would one day bring the Jews back to Israel as a united nation. Israel had been split into two kingdoms in 926 b.c. The southern kingdom was called Judah and the northern kingdom was called Israel. When the Jews reclaimed sovereignty in 1948, they did so as a united people by creating one nation, Israel.
I will make rivers flow on barren heights and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into springs. I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive. I will set pines in the wasteland, the fir and the cypress together, so that people may see and know, they may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it. Isaiah 41:18-20 written 700 b.c.
The prophecy of a future restoration of Israel coincides with the construction of a vast irrigation system to improve farming. The lack of available water, including rainfall, is one reason why Israel had been a desolate, unproductive land during for the past 2,000 years, but during the 1900's, when many Jews returned to their ancient homeland, they built a network of irrigation systems. Also during the past century, more than 200 million trees have been planted in Israel.
The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins. He will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Isaiah 51:3 written 700 b.c.
This foreshadows what is currently happening in Israel. The Jews have been irrigating, cultivating and reconditioning the land during much of the 1900's. Many of the country's swamps have been converted into farmland and water from the Sea of Galilee has been channeled through the deserts, allowing the deserts to bloom. Although it was described as a wasteland in the late 1800's, Israel is now a food source for many countries.
Before she goes into labor, she gives birth. Before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet, no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.
Isaiah 66:7-8 written 700 b.c.
This accurately describes what happened on May 14, 1948, when the Jews declared independence for Israel as a united and sovereign nation for the first time in 2,900 years. No other nation in the history of the world has ever lost their country and been able to recover it. What makes it even more amazing is this was not a short time period where they could regroup and reclaim their territory. This was almost 3,000 years later. When a United Nations mandate expired, ending British control of the land, Israel claimed independence. During a span of one day, foreign control of the land of Israel had formally ceased and Israel declared its independence. Modern Israel was literally born in a single day. This passage says the birth would take place before the birth pains began and that is precisely what happened. Within hours of the peaceful declaration of independence in 1948, Israel was attacked by the surrounding countries of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Israel prevailed in that war and expanded the size of their country by fifty percent. The birth was peaceful and without struggle, but the aftermath has been painful.
In days to come, Jacob will take root. Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit.
Isaiah 27:6 written 700 b.c.
Israel, which had been barren wasteland for many centuries, is now a leading producer of agricultural products and exports food to many countries in the world.
Egypt will be the lowliest of kingdoms and will never again exalt itself above the other nations. I will make it so weak that it will never again rule over the nations. Ezekiel 29:15 written 580 b.c.
Egypt had been a world power for centuries. They dominated many nations, including Israel, but for the last 2,500 years, Egypt has been controlled by foreign powers like the Romans, Ottomans and Europeans. Since this prophecy was made several thousand years ago, Egypt has never again ruled over another country.
The land of Judah will bring terror to the Egyptians. Everyone to whom Judah is mentioned will be terrified because of what the Lord Almighty is planning against them. Isaiah 19:17 written 700 b.c.
It is interesting how Egypt, which is 50 times larger than Israel, has 10 times as many people and once made the Jews their slaves for 400 years, is the only country in the Middle East to have signed a peace agreement with Israel. In 1948, 1967 and 1973, Egypt tried to invade and conquer Israel but was unsuccessful each time. U.S. President Jimmy Carter helped facilitate this peace agreement which became known as the Camp David Accords. The official agreement was signed on March 26, 1979, in Washington, D.C., by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. Carter also signed as a witness. Sadat was later assassinated by his own countrymen because he agreed to peace with Israel.
In summation, only God can make the desert bloom with fruit and trees. Only God can cause a nation to be reborn peacefully in one day after a several thousand year worldwide exile. Only God can make a tiny country prevail over all of its enemies. God did all of these things so that people may see and know, they may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this and that the Holy One of Israel has created it.