Prophetic Milestones

by Joseph Hunting

It has been said that prophecy is Israel's history prewritten. And 2,800 years ago king Jehoshaphat told his people, "Believe in the Lord your God, so shall you be established; believe his prophets, so shall you prosper." (2 Chronicles 20:20). This was sound advice indeed.

Ezekiel was one of Israel's great prophets and he foretold the return of his people from dispersion on a scale far greater than the return of the exiles from Babylon. Two interesting facts emerge from his prophecy. Firstly, he foretold that they would return to the land still estranged from God. Secondly, representatives of all twelve tribes would be regathered as one nation in the land of Israel. (Ezekiel chapter 37). Israel today is a secular state comprised of all twelve tribes.

Jeremiah also foretold a time when Israel would again return to the land and repossess it. (Jeremiah 30:3) Both prophets link the return of the people to their land with a time of great tribulation and distress to be followed by a spiritual awakening and Divine blessing. Jeremiah tells us: "The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return until he has done it, and until he has performed the intents of his heart. IN THE LATTER DAYS YE SHALL CONSIDER IT". (30:24) And Ezekiel in describing a great invasion by a northern power, obviously Russia, also pinpoints the time: "IT SHALL BE IN THE LATTER DAYS, and I will bring thee (Gog) against my land." (38:16)

Israel 's emergence as a nation 3,500 years ago followed a period of indescribable suffering. Only Divine intervention and a demonstration of God's power saved the Hebrews from extermination. Their ultimate possession of the land also required supernatural intervention.

I have before me a document which is a grim reminder of the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Europe. For sheer bestial brutality the Nazis made Pharaoh and his taskmasters appear as amateurs. Yet the pattern is the same. Both Pharaoh and Hitler were filled with satanic hatred towards Israel. Both implemented a programme of genocide for the Hebrew race. One thing they had in common was that they both failed miserably in the execution of their plans. Both perished ignominiously and their armies were destroyed. And Haman and Eichmann also were to learn that God will "curse him that curseth thee." (Genesis 12:3)

Was it a coincidence that the programme of genocide implemented by Pharaoh, Haman, and Hitler proved to be the catalyst that resulted in the Hebrews' return to the land? Even as pain and suffering are often the prelude to human birth, so Israel has travailed in coming to the birth in nationhood. Surely the Holocaust associated with the rebirth of Israel as a nation in 1948 was no exception.


The partition of the Holy Land by the U.N. in 1947 to create a homeland for world Jewry was foreshadowed by Joel's end-time prophecy: "I ... will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and PARTED MY LAND." (3:2) This partition placed all the holy places sacred to Jewish people beyond their borders. Thus the Old City of Jerusalem with its ancient places of worship was annexed by Jordan, as was Hebron, Jewry's second most holy city -- sacred because it is the resting-place of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as well as the Matriarchs; sacred because it was in Hebron that David was crowned King. Israel was also deprived of access to the mount of Olives and the West Bank (Biblical Samaria and Judaea). Ezekiel described this situation: "Thus saith the Lord God, because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession ... Therefore thus saith the Lord God; surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen (nations), and against all Idumea (modern Jordan?) which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey." (Ezekiel 36:1-5)


In the mid-summer of 586 B.C.E. the armies of Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and the magnificent Temple built by Solomon. The great Davidic-Messianic dynasty was temporarily suspended (it has now spanned 2,500 years) fulfilling Hosea's prophecy: "For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice ..." (3:4)

The destruction of Jerusalem, the Temple and the Davidic kingdom was no ordinary event in Israel's history, tragic though it was. With overthrow of the Davidic dynasty "the times of the Gentiles" commenced a period of non-Jewish domination and control of Jerusalem that has spanned nearly 2,500 years.

The throne of David in Jerusalem still awaits the fulfilment of Ezekiel's prophecy: " ... it shall be no more, until he comes whose right it is, and I will give it him." (21:27)

The next prophetic milestone in Israel's long march through the centuries was passed in 1967 when Egypt, Syria and Jordan plotted to wipe them out. The results of that war astounded the world and in six days the maps of the Middle East were obsolete. Not only were Judaea and Samaria on Jordan's West Bank reunited with the rest of Israel, so were the Old City of Jerusalem and the Gaza strip. The total liberation of Jerusalem, like its destruction, was no ordinary event. Not only was it 50 years (in Biblical times the year of Jubilee or year of release) since the Holy City flung open its gates to General Allenby, but it also marked the end of Gentile control spanning two and a half millennia. This milestone in Jerusalem's history has a Messianic imprint upon it, for He prophesied: "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." (Luke 21:24)


During a recent visit is Israel I witnessed the great PEACE NOW demonstration which lined the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway for 25 kilometres. This movement backed by tens of thousands of Israelis from all walks of life is gaining momentum.

Many Israelis, desperate for peace after thirty years of fighting for their very survival, feel that President Sadat's demand for the return of the West Bank, the Old City of Jerusalem and the Gaza strip should not be a barrier to a lasting peace with their Arab neighbours.

On the other hand, President Sadat is desperate for peace too as his economy cannot stand another war with Israel more particularly as he has ousted Russian aid and technology. But the other Arab states have no peaceful overtures towards Israel.

Perhaps this PEACE NOW movement which aligns itself with the demands of America, England, France, Russia, China as well as the Arab nations, that Israel yield the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza strip, will produce the false peace spoken of by Ezekiel: " ... because, even because, they have seduced my people, saying, Peace, and there was no peace ..." (10:13). The Apostle Paul also warns of a time when a false peace will precede the end time. "When they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them ..." (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

In a time of global unrest and social insecurity those words of Jehoshaphat are as meaningful as ever they were. "BELIEVE IN THE LORD YOUR GOD, SO SHALL YOU BE ESTABLISHED; BELIEVE HIS PROPHETS, SO SHALL YOU PROSPER."