The birth of Zionism and the start of aliyah ('going up') of Jews to Israel. Believing that the Jews needed a national and political solution to their problems, Theodor Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress in Basle, Switzerland in 1897. The first wave of immigration took place in 1882 (mainly from Russia and Romania), and a major wave occurred after the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948. In 1915 there were just 83,000 Jews in Israel, but this increased to over 6 million Jews in 2013. Aliyah continues today.
Israel appears on the world scene. Israel's first kibbutz was founded in 1909 by Jewish immigrants from Europe. Kibbutzim played a key role in Israel's agricultural development, defense and political leadership e.g. new immigrants embarked upon an extensive program of afforestation to combat desertification. In 1917 General Allenby liberated Jerusalem from the Turks, giving the city liberation from Gentile control after some 2500 years. Some of Israel's largest factories were established during the 1920's.
The Balfour Declaration (1917), San Remo Peace Conference (1920) and the League of Nations 'British Mandate' (1922) were historic milestones for Israel and the world. They made a road map for establishing a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, whilst ensuring that the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine were protected. To date, this is the last legally binding document regarding the West Bank and Gaza, link.
Immigrant Jews continue land restoration and afforestation programmes. Jewish immigration and investment benefited non-Jews in Palestine and their standard of living increased. Nevertheless, this period saw an emergence of Palestinian nationalism and an identifiable 'Palestinian People' in response to the perceived threat posed by Zionism and waves of Jewish immigrants between 1919 and 1939.
The late 1930's saw the first 'Two-State Solution', and the demise of Britain. The Peel and Woodhead commissions of 1937 and 1938 recommended partitioning Palestine into a small Jewish state and a large Arab state, but this was rejected by the Arab leadership. The 1939 British White Paper prevented the free settlement of refugees who desperately needed to leave Europe. Whilst this may have mollified Arab opinion, it certainly alienated Zionist Jews. It effectively repudiated the Balfour Declaration - a sad indictment against Britain.
In 1946 the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine was transferred to the UN, and today Article 80 of the UN Charter still implicitly recognizes the mandated rights of the Jewish people - the right to settle anywhere west of the Jordan, link. In 1947 a UN Special Commission on Palestine recommended that Palestine be divided equally between Arab state and a Jewish state. The Jews accepted the resolution but, as before, the Arabs rejected a two-state solution.
In May 1948 the Jews proclaimed an independent State of Israel and 'a nation was born in a day', as prophesied. David Ben Gurion became the first Prime Minister. This initiated the first Arab-Israeli conflict (the 'War of Liberation') in 1948/49. At the end of the war, Jordan held East Jerusalem and the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Egypt held Gaza. This probably marked the beginning in the international misunderstanding of Israel's mandated rights over these areas.
In 1948/1949 some 726,000 Arabs fled Israel and became refugees in neighbouring Arab countries, whilst over 800,000 Jews were forced to leave Muslim countries. Israel's offer to repatriate 100,000 Arab refugees was rejected. Clearly, under the UN Charter, the Palestinians could have lived peaceably in the State of Israel if the war had not taken place, and hatred of Israel from the Arab Leadership fuelled (and continues to fuel) the refugee problem.
Israel was now clearly visible on the world scene, and in 1950 Israel’s Parliament passed 'The Law of Return' – opening Israel to Jews from over 60 countries. But the refugee problem helped birth a bias against Israel from the general public, politicians, international organisations and the media. The UN offered $200m for the refugees but this was rejected by Arab governments.
These decades saw further Arab aggression. Israel was attacked by Arab nations in 1967 (the Six-Day War) and again in 1973 (the Yom Kippur war), each time with the goal "to wipe Israel off the map", as prophesied. They were defeated and all of Jerusalem came under Jewish rule in 1967 for the first time in over 2500 years. The world stood amazed given the military odds against Israel in 1967 and the surprise attack against Israel in 1973. But the Bible suggests that this was the protective hand of God! In 1978 Egypt and Israel signed the Camp David framework agreements, leading to a Peace Treaty in 1979.
The last decades of the 20th century saw further development of a World Government, and particularly via the EU. This is of great significance to Israel. Daniel 7 describes just four great secular empires that dominate Israel in this age: the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman Empires. Since there are only four empires, prophecy implies a 'revived Roman Empire' at the end of the age led by a political/military leader who persecutes Israel (Dan 12.1-7, Rev 13.1). This final government is being formed by the UN, the EU, the IMF, the World Bank, the Bilderberg Group and others, link.
The Hamas Charter against Israel was issued in 1988. This manifesto promoted the basic Hamas goal of destroying the Jewish State through Jihad and to replace it with an Islamic caliphate. Article 28 states that since the State of Israel is Jewish it defies Islam, and so by definition the Charter is incompatible with any two-state solution. To date, no Hamas representative has ever renounced the charter, link. Whilst this goes some way to explaining the Middle East tension, the spiritual basis for this aggression can be seen in Rev 12.13.
The 20th century also saw the emergence of a false (apostate) church led by Rome. This too is of particular significance to Israel. The secular leader of the end-time world government is supported by an ecclesiastical leader of an apostate church (Rev 13.11). This church, led by Rome but absorbing most Protestant churches, invariably holds to the teachings of Augustine on the role of Israel i.e. it promotes replacement theology, link, and does not recognize the rights of the Jews to their ancestral homeland. The World Council of Churches promotes this view.
The 21st century saw a growing worldwide boycott of Israeli goods. Following widespread misunderstanding of the legal rights of Israel to all areas west of the Jordan, many individuals and organizations support various forms of boycott against Israel. For example, the UN has been called upon to take action against Israeli and international businesses that profit from Israeli settlements in the 'occupied Palestinian territory', and the World Council of Churches has called on member churches to support a boycott of Israeli settlement produce and services.
Israel is blessed anyway - as in horticulture, natural resources and innovation. The Jews have restored barren land, farmed her deserts and built extensive water systems. Israel is 'blooming', as prophesied in Isaiah 27.6, and now exports horticultural produce to the world. She has also discovered vast oil and gas reserves, and through her inventive genius she exports hi-technology worldwide. For instance, some 25% of the world's venture capital-funded cyber-security startups are Israeli. This blessing is from God as He arrests the world's attention via His people Israel.
Aliyah continues and immigrant Jews learn Hebrew. As of 2015, the world Jewish population was 14.2 million, of which 6.2 million (44%) resided in Israel. So, according to prophecy, significant aliyah can be expected from the western nations in the near future. Most are returning as secular or religious Jews and do not acknowledge Christ as their Messiah, as prophesied. Immigrants learn modern Hebrew - the national language spoken in Israel today. This is another sign to the world since there is no other example in history of an ancient language being revived as the spoken language of a modern nation.
Astronomical signs are God's warning to the world. God says, "I will show wonders in the heavens ... the sun will be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood before the coming ... of the LORD" (Joel 2.30,31). Blood moons are well known in astronomy, but, as in the past, they can take on special significance for Israel when multiple blood moons fall on the same dates as Jewish festivals, link. There is also worldwide concern of the danger of asteroid impact (Rev 8.8?) and of erratic weather, with the 'sea and the waves roaring' (Lk 21.25).
Looking to the future: the Islamic nations in the Middle East are arming for war, link. The next Middle East war is probably the Gog-Magog war of Ezekiel 38 and 39 and many of the names identified here are in present-day Turkey. The other nations involved are Iran (despite a non-nuclear proliferation agreement), Ethiopia and Libya. Russia also seems to be involved, although given the specific countries, this appears to be essentially an Arab-Islamic war against Israel, with no western nations involved. Prophecy says they are defeated by the God of Israel (Ezek 39.4,5).
The last extreme persecution of the Jews: Gentile nations are pawns in the hand of Satan and are led to persecute Israel (Rev 12.13). This was seen in the WWII Holocaust and will culminate in 'Jacob's trouble', the extreme persecution of the Jews by the political/military leader of the final world government (Jer 30.7, Dan 12.1-7, Mat 24.21). Some believe that around this time, in the last few years of this age, a messianic remnant of Israel (the 144,000 servants of God) evangelizes the nations and multitudes are drawn into the Kingdom of God amidst great suffering (Rev 7.4-17), link.
The world is already strongly biased against the State of Israel and according to prophecy all nations will eventually be gathered against Jerusalem for war. The armies gather at a place called Armageddon (Hebrew 'har megiddo' or 'Mountain of Megiddo', Rev 16.16). This is located in northern Israel in the plain of Jezreel, near Mount Carmel. As in previous wars against Israel, God protects her and the invading armies are defeated (Zech 14.3). This momentous event ends this present age, Christ returns to be King over all the earth, and from year to year nations go up to Jerusalem to worship Him (Zech 14.16).
A day of reckoning is coming. According to Joel 3.2, when Christ returns He will gather all nations (Heb 'goy' - Gentile nations) and judge them according to how they have treated God's people (see also Mat 25.31-46). Historically, Israel's 'scattering' was completed by Rome in 70 AD. Recently, whilst some nations currently help Israel, many prefer to boycott Israel, or are increasingly antisemitic, or have severely persecuted and killed the Jews, or wish to 'divide up God's land', or simply want to 'wipe Israel off the map'. Each nation will be judged accordingly.
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