Secular historians generally write history from an anthropocentric view; that is, how it relates and centers on Man and his development and various achievements in a closed universe. But the Bible concentrates on the historical fulfillment of God’s covenantal relationship with the nation of Israel leading up to the first coming of the Messiah and His Second Coming to Israel in a supernatural fashion whereby God freely and arbitrarily intervenes in the affairs of mankind.
In fact, the Bible says God determines the national boundaries and demographic habitations of humanity with the intent that the children of Israel could live in the land of Canaan in an area that would perfectly accommodate their numbers and allow for this. Deuteronomy 32:8 says:
“When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel.”
And all that the Bible has predicted about Israel’s divine history thus far has literally come to pass. So then it is only reasonable and natural to conclude that the prophecies about Israel’s future will also literally be fulfilled. Bible Prophecy predicted as a super sign and precondition for the return of Christ the regathering of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland as the nation of Israel. That took place on May 14, 1948. The rest of this article will explore and explain how the modern nation of Israel is fulfilling this role as the super-sign to indicate the coming of Christ is close at hand and could very well happen in our generation.
The Bible predicts in Deuteronomy 30:1-3 that the return of the Lord Jesus Christ will occur sometime after the regathering and return of the Jews from worldwide dispersion into the land of Israel. God gave this prophecy through Moses and the Jews just before God brought them into the land of Canaan. The Authorized Version of these verses is most telling:
“And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee, and shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey His voice. According to all that I commanded thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; that then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee.”
Notice the chronology or sequence of prophetic events here:
(1) God will bring the Jews back to the Land of Israel from the nations of the world where they were scattered abroad by Him for their disobedience.
(2) During this regathering the Lord Himself “will return” and complete the restoration of all Israel back into the land.
In others words, when God begins to bring the Jews back into their land He gave them, Christ will return!
The phrase “will return” is omitted from most modern translations of the Bible since the Masoretic text (upon which the majority of modern translations of the Old Testament are based upon) and the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) do not include it. But the Dead Sea Scrolls copied some 150 years before the birth of Christ and over 1,000 years older than any previously discovered manuscript of the Bible includes this very phrase.
The passage reads as follows: “Then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from the peoples, [from] where the Lord your God has scattered you.” (Martin Abegg, Jr., Peter Flint, and Eugene Ulrich, The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible, p. 187).
Thus, the phrase has good precedent for being included as from the original. And the prophecy given in Deuteronomy 30:3 foretells that when the Jews return to their ancient homeland from the Diaspora (the scattering of the Jews to all Gentile nations of the world after the Babylonian exile in 586 B.C. and the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.), the Lord Jesus Christ will return.
If we just had this prophecy alone in Scripture concerning the return of the Jews to Israel and the return of the Lord following it, this would be adequate alone to believe in His word that He would regather the Jews back to Israel and subsequently return at the second Coming. This unquestionably means in the words of author Homer Duncan that:
“For centuries, the prophecies concerning the regathering of Israel lay dormant in the Word of God. There was no outward indication that they would be fulfilled, but they are now being fulfilled before our eyes, and this can mean but one thing: THE COMING OF THE LORD DRAWS NEAR." (Homer Duncan, Israel: Past, Present, Future, p. 16)
There have been two dispersions in Israel’s history collectively referred to as the Diaspora. The first dispersion of Jews from the Land of Israel began in 721 B.C. when the Assyrians invaded the Northern kingdom of Israel and led them away into captivity for their gross idolatry and disobedience to the Law of Moses (Isaiah 10:5-7; 2 Kings 17:5-23). The last stage of this dispersion occurred in 586 B.C.
At that time the Babylonians armies led by King Nebuchadnezzar laid siege against Jerusalem at conquered the Southern Kingdom and took the Jews of Judea and Jerusalem captive into Babylon for seventy years (Jeremiah 25:4-12; Daniel 9:1-2; 2 Chronicles 36:14-20). In 539 B.C. the Persian king Cyrus issued a decree allowing 50,000 Jews to return to the land of Israel under the leadership of Ezra, Zerubbabel, and Nehemiah (Ezra 1:1-6:22; Nehemiah 11:1-13:31).
Both the Assyrian and Babylonian invasions are considered a single dispersion instead of two since half of the nation went into exile in 721 B.C. and the other half going into exile in 586 B.C. But before God scattered them in the first dispersion He gave them warning after warning to forsake their disobedient and wicked ways through His servants the prophets. Israel did not heed their warnings of divine judgment and calls for repentance. Because He knew they were reprobate and unwilling to return Him, the Lord displaced and scattered them from the Land (Jeremiah 5-6; 8:7-17; 2 Chronicles 36:14-17).
The second dispersion of the nation came in 70 A.D. when Titus and his Roman legions burned and razed Jerusalem and razed the Temple literally not leaving one stone upon another, thus fulfilling the prophecies of Micah and Jesus found in Micah 3:12 and Matthew 24:2. In fact in the early 1990’s archaeologists doing excavations along the southern part of the Western Wall unearthed a pile of those original Temple stones that were dismantled stone by massive stone in 70 A.D.—an ancient testament to the veracity of Jesus’ prophecy and the historical accuracy of the New Testament.
The Bible not only predicted the fact of Israel’s dispersion but also the condition the Jews would be in during it. The Jews would not have a king to sit on David’s throne, nor would they have a Temple in Jerusalem or priesthood to offer sacrifices; and finally they would no longer worship idols. Hosea foresaw this dispersed state after 70 A.D. and predicted this to be Israel’s scattered condition “for many days.” Hosea 3:4-5 reads:
“For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim.”
In this prophecy as with several others found in the Old Testament, Israel’s state and condition is accurately described during the long world-wide dispersion of their nation that has existed between the First and Second Advent of the Messiah Jesus. A closer look at the text in Hosea 3 provides a very detailed corroboration of how this prophecy is being fulfilled from the time off the first century A.D. until now. This period of Jewish history, (which has already lasted for almost two thousand years) has been formally called by Jewish and secular historians “the Diaspora”; and it was foretold in the prophetic word in Hosea some 750 years before Christ.
In this dispersed state Israel would no longer have a “prince or king.” The throne of David has been vacant of a lineal successor (a prince) and broken down since 586 B.C. to this very day. This will remain so until the return of Jesus the Son of David who will sit on the Davidic throne after a long period of absence (see Ezekiel 21:25-27; Luke 1:32-33; Acts 15:14-17). With the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. and the subsequent dissolution of the Levitical priesthood Israel was left without the appropriate animal sacrifices or a Temple to sacrifice them in.
They would no longer worship false gods in temples built with “Sacred Pillar” commonly used to worship the false gods of Canaan (Ex 34:13-14; Deut. 7:5). The “Ephod” was a part of the special dress the High Priest of Israel wore and also gave divine guidance and direction (Lev. 8:7; 1 Sam. 23:9-11; 30:7-8). Thus Israel would be scattered throughout the world without centralized spiritual leadership and guidance the High Priest provided for the nation. In addition to that the Jews would be free from idolatry and the worship of idols or the “Teraphim.” while in a scattered state. The teraphim images in ancient Israel were household idols used for objects of worship and the forbidden practice of divination (see Genesis. 31:19, 30, 32; Judges. 18:17, 24; 1 Samuel 15:23; 2 Kings. 23:24).
When one closely examines the prophecy of Hosea about the condition of Israel’s dispersion in their past, present and future, one cannot help but agree with the comments of C. I. Scofield on this same passage of prophetic Scripture:
“This prediction has been remarkably fulfilled in the condition of Israel since the time of Christ. Scattered, without political entity under a king or a prince, and performing no sacrifices since the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in A.D. 70, they have yet retained their identity and avoided idolatrous worship of sacred stones or idols. Chapter 3 is one of the classic O.T. passages describing Israel’s past, present, and future.” (The New Scofield Study Bible, p. 894).