When I was a young Christian, I had no idea of the significance of Israel or the Jewish people. I was new to the faith and newly married. One day, when my wife and I were casually browsing a Christian bookstore, I saw a poster on the wall. It bore one simple word, Israel, along with a picture of a menorah.
I didn’t really know what it meant, but couldn’t take my eyes off that poster. After staring at it for a few minutes, I approached the bookstore owner at the front counter. “What does that poster mean?” I asked him. He proceeded to tell me about the nation of Israel and the Jewish people from the Bible’s perspective.
The part of his explanation that meant the most to me was when he mentioned that Jesus was—and is—Jewish. I felt something shift in my heart. Despite my lack of knowledge, I believe God used this moment in a supernatural way, causing me to fall deeply in love with Israel and the Jewish people. My love for Israel has only grown through the years.
I am too young to have been alive when Israel became a nation in May 1948, but I believe God masterfully orchestrated the nations and powers of the world for this to become a reality. Israel’s existence today is a pure miracle.
For almost 2,000 years, the Hebrew people were scattered all over the world. Then, in 1948, their nation was reborn as a physical and geographical reality.
God’s regathering of them to their homeland was an answer to Bible prophecy and still has enormous implications today. For some, that may be a confusing statement, because Israel is a small nation. It has only around 9 million people, and geographically is about the size of New Jersey.
How then is it so consequential? The Bible demonstrates this fact on almost every page. Through Israel, God showed His love for the human race and brought salvation to the entire human race. At the same time, Israel will be the epicenter for the events of the end times.
I write about this at length in my new book, Tipping Point, but consider these facts:
- The Bible repeatedly affirms that Israel is the only nation ever created by God. He chose Israel and proclaims the Jewish people His “treasured possession” (Deuteronomy 7:6).
- God established a special, everlasting covenant with His people, and that covenant remains active today (Genesis 17:7-8).
- God promised to bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel (Genesis 12:3). He has fulfilled that promise. No world power has ever persecuted the Jews and remained great.
- The Jewish people have given enormous gifts to human civilization. The most important man in the world (Jesus), the most important book in the world (the Bible) and the most important organization in the world (the Christian church) all originated in Israel.
This makes it easier to understand why God has identified Israel as His prophetic bellwether. The ancient term bellwether was used to designate a leading sheep within a flock. That sheep wore a bell around its neck, and the shepherd could follow the movements of the flock by listening for that sheep.
In more modern usage, a bellwether identifies a group or person that establishes trends. From a prophetic standpoint, the term bellwether refers to an indicator or predictor of future events. Israel is God’s prophetic super-sign.
A well-known passage in Joel makes this clear. Joel’s prophecy predicts the rebirth of Israel and the re-gathering of the Jewish people:
“In those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat…”—Joel 3:1-2
Joel also foretells the division of the land of Israel. The United Nations continues to criticize Israel’s relationship with Palestinians. Outside forces have compelled Israel to relinquish control of portions of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula in moves toward a two-state Palestinian solution:
“They have also divided up My land. They have cast lots for My people…”—Joel 3:2-3
Anti-semitism will increase in the last days. Since 1948, many Jews have been forced to leave Europe and return to Israel for fear of their safety. Joel prophesies that God will judge the nations of the world for how they’ve treated Israel,
“I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations…”—Joel 3:1-2
So many events over the past 70 years relate to this one prophetic passage in Joel. Israel was reborn miraculously in 1948. The Jews have regathered to their homeland. Pressure from the global community has forced division of Israel’s land. Worldwide anti-semitism has fanned the flames of hatred toward Israel.
And that’s just one passage in the Bible. Around 30 percent of the Bible is prophetic in nature. There are many, many other examples of recently fulfilled prophecy related to Israel.
- Isaiah 66:8 says Israel will be born in a day, which happened on May 14, 1948.
- Isaiah 11:12 predicts the “dispersed of Judah” would regather from around the world, a process that began after the establishment of the nation of Israel.
- In Luke 21, Jesus says Jerusalem will be re-taken by the Jews, which occurred during the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War in 1967. Jerusalem remains under the control of the Jewish people today.
Why do I believe Israel is God’s super-sign? It’s because that is the prophetic message of the Bible. In teaching His disciples about the end of the age, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place” (Matthew 24:34).
In a single generation, we will see all end times events fulfilled. Every generation has seen signs of the end times—earthquakes, famines, wars and rumors of wars—but the final generation will experience every sign. That may be happening today.
God regathered the people of Israel to their homeland more than 70 years ago. We are still within that generation. Is it the generation that will see the fulfillment of biblical prophecy? Time will tell, and the prophetic clock is ticking.
This article is adapted from The Tipping Point: The End is Here by Jimmy Evans. You can pick up the book here. Jimmy Evans is senior pastor of Gateway Church. In addition to authoring more than seventeen books, Jimmy has studied eschatology for more than 45 years and is passionate about helping believers find hope, peace, and encouragement in the Word of God.