Arthur Asuncion


Articles -- Israel's Role in Bible Prophecy (March 2005)

It comes as a surprise to many that the Bible, written thousands of years ago, contains information that is relevant for today. One of the hallmarks of this book is its accurate portrayal of events in the future, especially in relation to the nation of Israel.

The Old Testament book of Ezekiel details the rebirth of the nation of Israel:

"...Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land" (Ezekiel 37:21).

Israel defied all odds and became a nation again in May 1948, despite widespread opposition from neighboring countries. Amazingly, the Jewish people were able to maintain their own cultural identity for two millennia of global dispersion, instead of assimilating into other cultures. History bears witness of the mass return of Jews to Israel in the years following 1948, just as the book of Ezekiel prophesied.

The book of Ezekiel also mentions the agricultural development of the nation of Israel:

"And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations...So they will say, 'This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.'" (Ezekiel 36: 30,35).

For two millennia, Israel (previously called Palestine) was a barren wasteland; however, Israel has undergone a major agricultural transformation in the last century. In fact, Israel is a leading exporter of agricultural goods like fruits and flowers. Israel's agricultural development stands in contrast to the desert nations that surround her.

The Bible also predicts the rise of anti-Semitism as well as the great instability of the city of Jerusalem:

"Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it." (Zechariah 12:2-3).

Israel has virtually no friends in the world, with the exception of the United States. Anti-Semitism is spreading like wildfire throughout Europe. The United Nations has spent resolution after resolution (in fact, about half of its time) condemning Israel. As predicted by the Bible, it certainly seems like virtually all the nations of the earth are against Israel.

Furthermore, Israel has been one of world's most unstable countries since its inception in 1948. One interesting thing to note in the passage above is the assurance that any country that attempts to decimate Israel will itself be decimated.

One unfulfilled Biblical prophecy relates to the rebuilding of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. The New Testament book of Revelation makes mention of a rebuilt temple:

"...Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles..." (Revelation 11:1-2).

The Bible predicts that the Jewish temple, which was destroyed in 70 AD, will be rebuilt again. The amazing thing is that the Jews are already preparing the temple tools and special garments in hopes that the temple will be built soon. They are simply waiting for a 'green light' to rebuild the temple.

Since orthodox Jews do not recognize Jesus Christ as the messiah, they are still waiting for a messiah to come. Ask an orthodox Jew this question: "How do you know who your messiah will be?" The standard response is this: "He will lead us into the rebuilding of our temple."

One big problem exists with this prophecy about the temple: the Dome of the Rock (mosque) is built on top of the location where the temple should be! If the Jews ever tried to remove the Dome of the Rock to build their temple, a war would probably ensue.

There may be an elegant solution to this problem. Archaeologists have proposed that the original site of the temple may not be where everybody thinks it is, at the Dome of the Rock; instead, the original temple site may sit right next to the Dome of the Rock. The Revelation passage mentions that the court outside the temple is given to the Gentiles (non-Jews).

This passage suggests a hypothetical scenario: the Jewish temple might be rebuilt right next door to the Dome of the Rock. Let me note though that this scenario is just one possible interpretation of the temple prophecy. If this scenario actually does transpire, tremendous symbolism would be exhibited: Jewish and Islamic religious structures would be joined together in peaceful harmony. The political leader who engineers this political feat of achieving peace between Jews and Arabs would definitely be treated by the Jews as a messiah. However, the Bible indicates that this man would actually be the antichrist (but that's an entirely different topic for another time).

Another provocative prophecy is mentioned in Ezekiel 38. This chapter predicts that Israel will be invaded by a coalition of nations, including Russia (referred to as Gog in the chapter), Iran (referred to as Persia), Ethiopia, Libya, and other nations. This invasion will be unsuccessful, according to Ezekiel.

This prophecy is very interesting when one considers the current world stage. Currently, Russia and Iran are closely cooperating to develop nuclear power plants. Furthermore, it is fascinating to notice that there is no explicit mention of Iraq or Syria in the list of invaders. I conjecture that the recent US war with Iraq may have taken Iraq out of the picture.

If only one or two of these Biblical prophecies were fulfilled, I could probably attribute the fulfillment of these prophecies to mere chance. However, the convergence of the fulfillment of many of these prophecies in a localized period of time has convinced me of the validity of the Bible. There is a simple way to disprove all of these Biblical prophecies: try to destroy the nation of Israel. The Bible and Israel stand or fall together.