The Sign of Israel
The sixth and final category of signs is the most important one all, more important than all the rest put together. I’m speaking, of course, of the signs of Israel. These signs are more important than all the rest because Israel is God’s prophetic time clock.
What are the signs of Israel? Well, there are seven. Seven signs of Israel — seven prophecies being fulfilled before our very eyes that certify that you and I are living in the most exciting time in the history of mankind since the First Coming of Jesus.
1. The Regathering of the Jews
The first of these signs is the regathering of the Jewish people from the four corners of the earth. This process began in 1900 and has continued to this day. There were only 40,000 Jews in Israel in 1900; there were 600,000 at the end of World War II; today there are more than 6 1/2 million; and they are continuing to come in unprecedented numbers from all over the world.
In Jeremiah 16 it says that when history is finished, the Jews will look back upon their history and they will consider what is going on right now, the regathering of the Jews from the four corners of the earth, to be a greater miracle than their deliverance from Egyptian captivity. That is an amazing statement!
As a result of this regathering, the state of Israel was reestablished on May 14, 1948, clearly fulfilling the many prophesies in the Hebrew Scriptures that the nation of Israel will come back into being in the end times.
Jesus emphasized this point in his teachings about the end times. In Matthew 24 He said for us to watch the fig tree. Now, the fig tree is a common biblical symbol of Israel. Jesus said when the fig tree re-blossoms the generation that sees that will be the generation that will see all the end time events come to pass. The state of Israel came back into existence, it re-blossomed on May the 14th, 1948, and I believe with all my heart that someone who was alive in 1948 is going to see the return of the Lord. It may be someone who was two years old in 1948, and they may be 80 when the Lord returns, I don’t know, but I believe someone who was alive then will see the return of the Lord.
2. The Re-establishment of the State of Israel
The first end time sign of Israel is the regathering of the Jewish people. The second is the re-establishment of their state.
3. The Reclamation of the Land
The third is the reclamation of the land. Isaiah 35 and many other passages speak of the fact that when the Jews return to the land, it will be reclaimed and the land will come alive. Mark Twain visited Israel in the mid-1860s and wrote in his book Innocents Abroad about what a barren wasteland it was. The trees had all been cut down. The land had been raped for 2,000 years by foreign conquerors who had no respect for it, no concern for it, and no love for it. When the Jews began to go back in the early 1900s, the Arabs laughed at them for buying the land. Who but a crazy Jew, they thought, would want such a barren wasteland? But, God promised in Ezekiel 36 that in the end times when the Jews were regathered to the land, it would become like the Garden of Eden.
Today the Arabs want the land back because God has touched it, and God has made it a beautiful land once again, just as He promised. Today, Israel is the bread-basket of the Middle East. The Israelis have planted over 300 million trees all over the land, and rainfall has increased over 450 percent. It’s a land of milk and honey once again.
God has kept His promise, and it’s a sign that Jesus is coming soon. And, so, we have the regathering of the Jews; the re-establishment of the state; and the reclamation of the land.
4. The Revival of the Hebrew Language
This brings us to the fourth sign of Israel and that is the revival of the language. When the Jews were spread all over the world they stopped speaking Hebrew. The Jews who settled in Europe started speaking Yiddish, a mixture of Hebrew and German. Those who settled in the Mediterranean basin developed a hybrid language called Ladino, which was a mixture of Hebrew and Spanish.
But, God promised in Zephaniah 3:9 that in the end times He would establish their language of Hebrew. He would reestablish it, and He did so in the 20th Century through a man by the name of Eliezer Ben Yehuda. This man was a single-minded fanatic who spent his life trying to revive the Hebrew language, a language that hadn’t been spoken in almost 2,000 years. He had to invent thousands of new words based upon ancient Hebrew root words. It seemed to be an impossible task, but he accomplished it, and today, biblical Hebrew is the official language of Israel. It’s one of the greatest miracles of modern history, and it’s proof positive that Jesus is coming soon.
Okay, let’s review. We have, first, the regathering of the Jewish people from the four corners of the earth. Second, the re-establishment of the state of Israel. Third, the reclamation of the land. Fourth, the revival of the Hebrew language.
5. The Resurgence of the Israeli Military
The fifth Jewish sign is the resurgence of the military. In Zechariah 12 the Lord says that in the end times, when He puts the Jews back in the land, they will be militarily superior to all their neighboring nations.
Zechariah says they will be like a firepot among pieces of wood, consuming all the surrounding nations. Amazingly, Israel’s military is considered to be among the ten most powerful in the world, even though Israel is one of the smallest countries on the face of the earth. Many experts consider Israel to be number one in the effective use of military power. The Israelis have fought war after war after war, and they have withstood their foes each time, despite an overwhelming disadvantage in numbers. What a miracle for a nation smaller than the state of New Jersey and with a population less than the greater Houston, Texas area!
6. The Refocusing of World Politics on the Nation of Israel
The sixth Jewish sign is the refocusing of world politics on the nation of Israel. In Zechariah 12, it says that in the end times all the nations of the world will come together against Jerusalem, and Jerusalem will be like a heavy stone hanging around their necks.
The focus of world politics shifted to Israel in 1973 when the Arabs pulled the Arab Oil Boycott on the West during the Yom Kippur War. That boycott brought us to our knees. We went to the Arabs with our hat in our hands asking what we would have to do to get oil. And, they said two things: “Number one, you’re going to pay two times more for oil than you’ve ever paid before; and number two, you must line up with us in our obsession to annihilate the state of Israel.”
Overnight all of Western Europe flip-flopped and turned against Israel. We were the only nation that stood by them, and we continued to do so until October of 1990, when in our desperate attempt to pull together an Arab coalition for the Persian Gulf War, we turned against Israel and began to sponsor resolutions of condemnation in the United Nations. Soon after that, we started forcing them to trade land for peace.
7. The Reoccupation of the City of Jerusalem
The final of the seven signs of Israel is the reoccupation of the city of Jerusalem. I consider this to be the most important sign of all because it came from the lips of Jesus Himself. You will find it in Luke 21. He said: “The Jews will fall by the edge of the sword and will be led captive among all the nations.” That happened in 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem. Jesus then added, “Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
Well, that’s exactly what happened. Jerusalem fell to the Gentiles when the Romans destroyed it. The Romans were followed by the Byzantines, the Byzantines were followed by the Arabs, the Arabs were followed by the Crusaders, the Crusaders were followed by the Mamlukes, and the Mamlukes by the Turks for 400 years, the Turks were followed by the British, and the British by the Jordanians. But, then, on June 7, 1967, praise God from whom all blessings flow, the Jews re-occupied the city of Jerusalem for the first time in 1,897 years.
When those Jewish soldiers went to the Western Wailing Wall and began to weep before that wall, Rabbi Shlomo Goren, the chief Rabbi of the Israeli Army, came up to the wall blew a shofar. Then, he lifted his hand and he said, “I proclaim to you the beginning of the Messianic Age.” The Orthodox Jews know from the prophecies in their Scriptures that the Messiah is coming soon. They are not going to be surprised by His appearance. They are going to be surprised by His identity.