“Thus says the LORD of hosts, "My cities will again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem."' (Zechariah 1:17)
At the time of Zechariah, the post-exilic Jews were returning to Jerusalem and Judea from Babylon.
Many of the exiles were born in a foreign land and were partially assimilated to other cultures, yet still felt the pull to return to the homeland when the call went out. For the first time, they were seeing the hardship and regional destruction that their parents and grandparents had endured. Yet, God was assuring them of His favor. The same could be said in our modern times for many of the pioneers of the modern state of Israel who returned to a desolate homeland.
Within a couple of hundred years, the Hasmonean Kingdom established Jewish independence and peace for roughly 80 years. During that time, the apocryphal book of 1 Maccabees 14:4-12 tells us there was regional peace, the cities had food and defenses, and that Israel was filled with joy.
Then the Romans moved into town. Israel would not reclaim its independence and prosperity in the land for another 2,000 years, specifically until 1948. While Zechariah’s words of prosperity did partially come to pass in that 80-year time period, no one could have fathomed the type of prosperity that Israel is blessed with today. That promise of prosperity has changed our world in every way.
In 1909, 66 Jewish families moved just up the coast from Jaffa to start a new town on the beach. There were 66 building plots prepared and then divided in a process where each family would find a seashell and write the family name on it. As the lots were drawn, Tel Aviv was born.
This was a brand new Jewish city, built by Jewish hands, in the Jewish homeland because Jews were returning from all over the world and needed homes. Some 100 years ago, Tel Aviv was nothing more than shacks on sand dunes; Today it is one of the most creative cities on earth, with the nations coming to be a part of the growth and innovation. No other city on earth can make such claims.
Exactly what innovations do you ask? Do you have a cell phone? Cell phone tech was invented by the Israeli branch of Motorola. Chances are you are reading this article on a device that uses chips that were designed or built in Israel. Have you ever used voicemail or instant messaging? That was created in Tel Aviv. Do you use iCloud to store photos and files? That, too, was born in Tel Aviv. How about USB tech and those little thumb drives? Tel Aviv.
When was the last time you used a paper map? You probably prefer Waze or other GPS navigation tech that came to life in this city. Have you ever used a drone for aerial photos or videos for work or social media posts? Yep, you guessed it; Tel Aviv! n fact, every major tech company in the world – Google, Apple, Microsoft, Sony, LG, and more – has their R&D facilities in Tel Aviv, the largest outside of Silicon Valley.
What about fruits and vegetables? You may be enjoying ones that were grown by drip irrigation technology now being used in over 110 countries, technology created in the Israeli desert. And those sweet little cherry tomatoes? You can thank Israel for them too!
The list of amazing breakthroughs continues in the fields of chemistry, physics, optics, medicine, biotechnology, computer science, robotics, defense and so much more.
Financially, the Israeli GDP last year was more than $522 billion, almost double the amount compared to 10 years ago. Furthermore, that number is larger than the combined economies of all of Israel’s immediate neighbors. And it's still growing.
All this from a nation that, only 75 years ago, was primarily swamps and deserts and holds a population of less than 1/1000 of the world’s population.
There are still many obvious challenges and pressures to life in Israel, both within the nation and internationally. Frankly, Israel is far from perfect and is a difficult place to live. Yet, at some point, when faced with the facts of Israeli innovation blessing the world, the only logical conclusion is that this is God’s doing. But He did tell us that HE would do it.
Zechariah’s words about God's “cities overflowing with prosperity” are far beyond what anyone could have ever dreamed. And more is coming every day!
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