Israel in Prophecy

A Nation Born in a Day


John Hoole - December 26 2010




On May 24 & 25, 1991, 34 Israeli C-130 Hercules and one El Al 747 Cargo airplane airlifted 14.325 Ethiopian Jews from Addis Ababa to Tel Aviv in a well-executed Operation Solomon.  Since these dates fall on Friday and Saturday, the Israeli Knesset had to give permission for the airlift to occur on the Sabbath.  Seats were removed from the aircraft to maximize passenger capacity.  On the 747, they had planned to carry 760 people, but because of many being undernourished refugees were underweight.  They officially allowed 1,087 to board the airplane.  But they arrived in Tel Aviv with 1,122.  Many mothers hid babies or children under their dresses.  But even so, they did end with 10 more than they actually started.  That is because 10 babies were born during the flight.


2,500 years earlier, Jeremiah the prophet described the return of Jews to their Promised Land.  What he describes is truly what happened this day.


Jeremiah 31:8 NKJV


8       Behold, I will bring them from the north country, And gather them from the ends of the earth, Among them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and the one who labors with child, together; A great throng shall return there.


As you can read, the prophet Jeremiah prophesied that the blind, the lame, women with child and women who labor with child would come together.


Jeremiah 31:10 NIV


10     "Hear the word of the Lord, O nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands: 'He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.'


Why was this airlift in Ethiopia called Operation Solomon?  It is believed by many Israelis that the Ethiopian Jews are descendants of Solomon of the Queen of Sheba.  We know from the Scriptures that they had a relationship.  The truth of the legendary their son, Menelik I, may never be known, it is, however, an historical fact that there was a strong Jewish population in Ethiopia several centuries before Christ.


Here is one final Passage with regard to the Jews in Ethiopia.


Zephaniah 3:10 NKJV


10     From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia My worshipers, The daughter of My dispersed ones, Shall bring My offering.


We have thus far read only three of the many Bible passages that speak of God calling the Israelites back to their country.  We will look at many more before this lesson is completed.  But before we do, let's step back in time to prophecies which precede these.


Let's remind ourselves of what transpired just as the Israelites were camped on the eastern shore of the Jordan river, before entering the promised Land.  Moses was about to hand over the leadership of the people to Joshua.  But before he does, Moses had some advice for them.  The actual day is given to us in Deuteronomy 1:3.


The entire book of Deuteronomy carries the last words of Moses to the Israelites.  He reiterates the entire Law that had been given them by God through Moses.  The literal meaning of DEUTERONOMY is "second law."  Moses also prophesies several times in this book.  This is especially true of chapters 28 through 32.


In Chapter 28, Moses instructs the people what will happen if they obey the laws of the Lord.  He also speaks of the consequences of NOT observing and doing what God requires of them.


In Deuteronomy 28:64 NIV, Moses writes that when they disobey God;


64     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.


In Verse 66, Moses also predicts their persecution.


Deuteronomy 28:66 NKJV


66     Your life shall hang in doubt before you; you shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life.


The tribes of Judah and Israel did disobey the Lord, despite the manifold pleadings on the part of Jehovah for them to return to His Words.  And because of this disobedience, as was prophesied, they have been scatter throughout all the nations of the earth and have been persecuted.


Several other Scriptures written by other prophets of God also speak of this scattering.


Jeremiah 9:16 NKJV


16     I will scatter them also among the Gentiles, whom neither they nor their fathers have known. And I will send a sword after them until I have consumed them."


Ezekiel 6:8 NKJV


8       Yet I will leave a remnant, so that you may have some who escape the sword among the nations, when you are scattered through the countries.


We even have this prophesied by Jesus in the New Testament.


Luke 21:24 NKJV


24     And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.


Notice the word "until".  That indicates the scattering is to be temporary.  God never said their scattering would be permanent.  Neither has God stated they will cease to be cared for by Him.


The Jews have been persecuted wherever they wandered, just as the prophecies stated.  They were brutalized, murdered, and stripped of their goods.  They lived in ghettoes and were kept from intermingling with the Gentiles.  And for over 1,900 years, the people of Israel have been dispersed throughout the world.  But God has always kept His eye on Israel.


Jeremiah 30:10-11 NKJV


10     Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,' says the Lord, 'Nor be dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, And no one shall make him afraid.

11     For I am with you,' says the Lord, 'to save you; Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, and will not let you go altogether unpunished.


The Jewish people is the only people whose origin can be traced with any degree of accuracy.  This has not happened to other people groups whose land has been overrun and their people scattered.  You cannot find the ancient neighbors of the Jews anywhere.  Have you ever met a Moabite?  Do you know any Hittites?  Can you tell me the postal code of the Chaldeans?  To bring these questions into more modern time, can anyone identify the first Englishman, the first Swede, the first German?  Where did the Dutch come from?


The origin of many nations is wrapped in legend, but the whole world, Jew and Gentile alike, knows that Abraham was the first Hebrew.  The Jews have defied all the normal laws of ethnology.  Many nations of antiquity like the Hittites, Assyria, Babylonia have flourished, then decayed.  Each were integrated into the culture of their conquerors.  In some cases, they retained their name but lost their racial identity into the stream of other nations.


This has not happened to the Jews.  They stand alone, defiantly unchanged.  Numbers 23:9 (NIV) says of these people:  I see a people who live apart and do not consider themselves one of the nations.


Allow me for a moment to insert a couple of thoughts here.  Let’s return to Abraham.  Just a moment ago I said most everyone would agree that Abraham was the first Hebrew --- but he is NOT the first Jew.




Today, the terms “Hebrew,” “Jew,” and “Israelite” have no differences in the manner in which they are used.  When any of those terms are used, we all know who they are talking about.  But originally they were not necessarily the same.








The name “Hebrew” comes from “Heber,” and Heber was an ancestor of Abraham and those descending from Him are called “Hebrew.”  The word “Eber” means “across, or other side, or opposite side.”  In this case, most believe it is referring to the other side of the Euphrates River.  Abraham is called a “Hebrew” in Genesis 14:13.




The term “Jew” is a contraction of “Judah” and no one was called a Jew until the tribe of Judah came into existence.




The term “Israel” was introduced first when God changed Jacob’s name to Israel  (Gen. 32:28).


 Since the Babylonian captivity, the three terms – Hebrew, Jew and Israel have been used interchangeably, and rightly so when we remember that Abraham was the father of Isaac, who was the father of Jacob, who was the father of Judah.  All three are descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob.


The apostle Paul refers to himself as all three.  In Acts 21:39, we have Paul saying:  "I am a Jew from Tarsus."  He calls himself a Jew, although he was not from the Tribe of Judah.


Romans 11:1 NKJV


11     I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.


         Paul was from the tribe of Benjamin.


And then we read in 2 Corinthians 11:22 NIV:


         22     Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I.


         We see that all three terms were used of all Israelites.  And you will find me using them interchangeably also.


Now let's return to a discussion of God's protection and preservation of the Jews.  For thousands of years, the sword of other nations and people have been lifted against the Jew.  This attitude of the Gentile nations is expressed by the Psalmist.


Psalms 83:3-4 NIV


3       With cunning they conspire against your people; they plot against those you cherish.

4       "Come," they say, "let us destroy them as a nation, that the name of Israel be remembered no more."


Were it not for God's unconditional promise to Abraham that He would make him a great nations, and that all the families of the earth would be blessed, Israel would have disappeared from the earth centuries ago.


One of the clearest and strongest statements securing God preservation of the Jews is recorded in Jeremiah 31:35-37 NKJV.


35     Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, Who disturbs the sea, and its waves roar (The Lord of hosts is His name):

36     "If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the Lord, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever."

37     Thus says the Lord: "If heaven above can be measured, And the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, says the Lord.


The very existence of the sun, moon and stars, and the vastness of the heavens and earth, all stand as indisputable evidence that Israel as a nation will not be ultimately rejected.  Today, after centuries of persecution and many attempts to annihilate them, there are more than twice as many Jews today as there was in the most splendid days of David and Solomon.  The fact that there are Jews today is a miracle in itself.  They reinforce the word of the Prophet Isaiah:


Isaiah 66:22 NKJV


22     "For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me," says the Lord, "So shall your descendants and your name remain. "


We read Romans 11:1 a moment ago when referring the Paul as an Israelite.  Let's read it again and add verse 2.


Romans 11:1-2 NIV


1       I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.

2       God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew.


God has always kept his eye on the Jews, wherever they were.  And neither Jesus nor the prophets left the Jews scattered among the heathen nations.  They predicted that God would bring them back again to their land.


Leviticus 26:44-45 NIV


44     Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them. I am the Lord their God.

45     But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the Lord.'"


We find it repeated many times that God recalls their attention to the covenant He made with Abraham.  And He also refers to the covenant made to Moses at Sinai.  He also promises that even when in exile, in the land of their enemies, He is still their God.


What we have seen thus far is that God prophesied the scattering of the Jew because of their disobedience.  We also see that God does not take His eye off of them while they are scattered.  He has promised to preserve and protect them.  He has much more for this nation in the future.  He has promised to gather them back to their land.


Ezekiel 36:24 NIV


24     For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.


Isaiah 43:4-6 NIV


4       Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life.

5       Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.

6       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


We have just read the prophecies of Ezekiel and Isaiah concerning gathering the Jews back to their land.  Ezekiel lived at the time of the Babylonian captivity (606-536 bc).  Isaiah lived 150 years earlier.  These prophecies, which we just read, cannot be speaking about return to their land after that captivity.  That return was from one country, not all the countries of the earth.  At this time they had never been scattered into all nations.  Their scattering into exile among all nations began in 70AD.


The prophecies of Isaiah show that we are speaking about a future gathering of the Jews.  And I believe we are seeing it happen before our eyes.  But it is not fully completed at this time.


In Jeremiah 16, the prophet describes what might be called "the second exodus."  And he describes that the second exodus will overshadow the first from Egypt.


Jeremiah 16:14-15 NIV


14     "However, the days are coming," declares the Lord, "when men will no longer say, 'As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,'

15     but they will say, 'As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.' For I will restore them to the land I gave their forefathers.


This is truly an amazing prophecy - especially coming from one of their major prophets.  For more than 3,000 years, in their annual Passover festival, the Jewish people have celebrated their deliverance from Egypt as the single greatest event in their history.  This annual feast is a celebration of that deliverance.


Yet a day is coming, according to this prophecy, when this great Passover deliverance will pale into insignificance by comparison with the second ingathering of the Jewish people from all lands.  People will come from the four quarters of the earth back to their own land.


Certainly the first deliverance out of Egypt was accompanied by tremendous signs and miracles.  By contrast, it is more difficult to form a single, comprehensive picture of what is now transpiring before us in the Middle East.  And the end is not yet.