If the Old Testament prophecies and the New Testament confirmation concerning Israel in the end-time are to be accepted at face value, we should expect a return of God’s ancient people to Palestine. The question, then, is unavoidable: Are the establishment of the modern state of Israel and the recent events there related to these prophecies?
Jacob and his family left the Holy Land voluntarily to go to Egypt. Deliverance from Egypt was later granted under the leadership of Moses, and under Joshua the Israelites gained possession of the land of promise. The prediction of the removal and the return is found in Genesis 15. Evidently this occupation of Palestine was morally based on the iniquity of the Amorite, which in Abraham’s time was not yet full. The promise of the return was literally fulfilled (Num. 1).
Two dispersions from the land followed within a little over a century from each other. The ten northern tribes—Israel—were taken to the north and east by Shalmaneser of Assyria (2 Kings 17:1–18), and Israel was repopulated by people from other lands (2 Kings 17:24 ff.). The southern kingdom—Judah—was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar, who carried many of the people away captive to his own nation (2 Kings 24:1–6, 10–17; 25:1–30). Jeremiah predicted their return (29:10), and the promise of the return was literally fulfilled (Ezra 2).
That there was to be another dispersion seems definitely implied in the prophetic words of Christ recorded in Luke 21:20–24. The destruction and captivity under Titus (A.D. 70) and Hadrian (A.D. 135) fulfilled this prophecy. But there are also predictions in the Old Testament of a return of Israel utterly beyond the two returns mentioned above. Isaiah foresaw a return from the four corners of the earth ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more