“Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations and set up My standard to the peoples; And they will bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters will be carried on their shoulders.” (Isaiah 49:22)
Even before Israel was conquered by both Babylon and the Romans, and before the people were scattered to the nations, Isaiah was prophesying that God would bring them back; not just bring them back to their ancestral homeland but that He would do so by the most miraculous and improbable means. The nations would do it, carrying their sons and daughters to their homes as a miraculous sign to the people of the earth. After 2,000 years of exile, only God could do that.
In Isaiah’s prophecy, the Hebrew word translated as “standard” is “nes." In modern Hebrew, “nes” means “miracle."
Behold I will lift up My hand to the nations and set up My MIRACLE to the peoples."
After 2,000 years of homelessness and persecution, to have nations worldwide provide support and help restore the independent nation of Israel would truly be a miracle. Today, if you are reading this article with love and support for Israel, you are already a part of Isaiah’s prophecy! Yet the story begins even earlier.
While this article is far too short to document the history of non-Jewish support for a Jewish homeland that dates back to the 1600s, things really picked up steam in the 1800s.
In the most unlikely of places, in 1866, 157 Christians from Jonesport, Maine believed it was time for God to restore His people to the land and wanted to assist in that process.
They deconstructed their Maine homes, loaded them onto ships, along with farming equipment and animals, and set sail to Jaffa, Israel, where they rebuilt their homes and established a community on empty sand dunes just north of the city. While the community eventually fell apart within 2 years, you can still visit their homes in Tel Aviv today.
Ultimately, they weren’t wrong nor were they the first to speak about the restoration of the Jewish homeland, but they were one of the first to personally be moved to action. They were simply a little ahead of their time.
When they arrived in Jaffa in 1866, Theodor Herzl, considered to be the father of modern Zionism, was only six years old and living in Hungary.
This was about 20 years before the first large wave of Jewish immigration to the land in the 1880s and 30 years before Herzl published his work in 1896, calling for a national Jewish homeland. The “small Jewish village” of Tel Aviv would not be established for another 44 years, in 1910.
Then came the Balfour Declaration in 1917, when the British Empire recognized the need for a Jewish nation in their ancient homeland. During this time, influential men of the nations like Lord Shaftsbury to Winston Churchill and many others supported this idea. This all culminated on Nov 29, 1947, when the League of Nations approved the partition of Palestine for a Jewish home. Ironically, if the vote were to be held today, it is unlikely it would pass.
In his 2009 study entitled “In Zeal of Zion,” Prof. Shalom Goldman of Emory University wrote: “Until the late 19th century, most plans for Jewish entity in Palestine were Christian.”
He continues and upends the common belief that this “Christian Zionism” was just a few “Righteous Gentiles” who supported the Jewish struggle for statehood. It was more widely accepted among “Gentiles” than even Jewish communities at the time.
An unassimilated ancient people group was thrown out of their homeland and scattered to the four corners of the earth for 2,000 years, then returned to their ancient homeland with the help of the nations, most of whom didn’t exist at the time of their exile. It’s never happened before in human history.
On a practical level for this to take place, God would have to do something truly amazing… like lifting His own Hand to the nations and setting up His Miracle to the people. Only God could do that.
After 2,600 years, He did so, with the help of the nations on behalf of His covenant people.
Perhaps even more stunning is that He told us He would do this in scripture. Today, as the return continues, God is still offering the nations the opportunity to join Him in fulfilling His miraculous promise. He still has a plan. If you’ve ever wanted to be a part of fulfilling Bible prophecy, this is your chance.
Doug Hershey is the author of the best selling photo books "Israel Rising" and "Jerusalem Rising" that provide historical and visual documentation of biblical prophecy coming to pass in our day. When not in Israel, he resides in Portland, Maine. Check out more information on courses, event requests and Israel tours on his website DougHershey.co