Bible prophecy provides a glimpse into where we’re at on God’s prophetic timeline while forecasting future events. Nowhere is this more evident than in the prophecies surrounding Judah and Israel. Here we find God’s prophetic plan for a Jewish nation and its people. From being divided, scattered, and restored, Israel plays a central role in the events that transpire prior to the Messiah’s second coming. These events will ultimately alter the course of human history, and they are happening now.
To understand the importance of the prophecies regarding Israel’s restoration, it is necessary to revisit the history of Judah and Israel. This began with God’s promises to Abraham (Abram) and to the “heirs” to those promises, Isaac and Jacob. Abram was promised that his descendants would be numerous and blessed with a promised land. Abram and his descendants would also be a blessing to the nations.
Jacob, the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, whose name was changed by God to Israel, had 12 sons. Those sons’ descendants would become the 12 Tribes of Israel. Jacob’s fourth born son was Judah, who founded the tribe of Judah, which became the name of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. This kingdom remained united until the death of Solomon.
Throughout their history in the promised land, the 12 Tribes of Israel labored to maintain their unity. The conflict among the tribes can be traced as far back as their patriarch, Jacob, with the sons of Leah and Rachel having their own struggles.
The unrest among the tribes reached a breaking point at the time of Solomon’s death. It’s interesting to note that a dispute over money, specifically a tax burden between Jeroboam and Rehoboam, caused a rift among tribes. The Israelites divided into a Northern and Southern Kingdom with each having their own king. The Northern Kingdom was composed of twelve tribes while the Southern Kingdom had two family lines, Judah and Benjamin.
Through invasion and conquest, the 12 Tribes of Israel were scattered about the world. This began with the conquest of the Northern Kingdom in 722 B.C.E. by the Assyrians. The ten tribes in the Northern Kingdom of Israel were placed into captivity with others being driven out to areas throughout the world.
Around 586 B.C.E., the Southern Kingdom was overtaken by the Babylonians. It’s at this time that the Temple was destroyed, and the Tribes of Judah were driven from the land primarily to Babylon. Then, in 445 B.C.E., Nehemiah was called by God to lead a remnant of the Jewish people to rebuild the wall surrounding Jerusalem.
A second scattering of the Jewish people, also known as “the Diaspora,” occurred in 70 C.E., when the Romans sacked and destroyed the second Temple. All of these dispersal events have caused the Jewish people to remain scattered into modern times.
These events are important to understand because God’s promises include the reuniting of the Jewish people, and the restoration of two nations becoming one again. This is beginning to be fulfilled in our modern times.
On May 14, 1948, the prophecy of a restored nation was fulfilled. (Ezekiel 37:15-17, 21-22) Israel was brought back to life as an independent and sovereign Jewish state for the first time in 2,900 years. In just one day, Israel’s sovereignty and independence was recognized by a number of nations including the United States of America. It is during this time that a United Nations mandate expired ending British control over the land.
Although the Jewish people remain scattered around the world, the stage is being set for their ultimate regathering to the promised land. Recently, a wave of anti-semitism in Europe is causing Jews to return to the land of Israel. The toxic atmosphere, which only seems to be increasing around the world, could lead to a Jewish exodus from other nations back to Israel.
There’s no doubt that Biblical prophecies are being fulfilled in modern times. Therefore, it is important for believers to remain vigilant to the signs of the times and the significant role they will play in the end times. Awareness is the key to preparing for the amazing events that we will witness in our lifetime.