I will multiply men on you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities will be inhabited and the waste places will be rebuilt. I will multiply on you man and beast; and they will increase and be fruitful; and I will cause you to be inhabited as you were formerly and will treat you better than at the first. (Ezekiel 36:10-11)
Yes, the rebirth of Israel in 1948 was a fulfillment of ancient prophecy, plain and simple. Yet, how quickly we are able to forget the details of God’s work in our day.
Prophecies and spiritual talk aside, no other people group has been forcibly removed from their ancient homeland twice, then scattered to the nations for 2,000 years only to then return, once again, to the same piece of real estate as a sovereign nation.
The people returning came as an identifiable people, holding the same customs and traditions, even reviving the ancient dead language that their ancestors once spoke.
Never before has this happened in recorded human history. Perhaps more stunning is that this entire process was foretold 2,700 years ago by the Jewish prophets. No other ancient people group in history can make such claims, only the Jewish people.
On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was reborn under the most unprecedented of circumstances. Perhaps more unprecedented is how specific ancient prophecies coincided with these events. Be sure to find Part 1 and Part 2 of this story to get caught up!
While most founders and pioneers of Israel were far from religious, it is hard to deny that the 'miraculous' was taking place that spring of 1948. Place yourself in their shoes.
The longing of generations, our ancient people are returning to our ancient homeland and establishing a state bearing the same name “Israel,” as foretold by many prophets!
But for how long can this disorganized infant state survive a war of annihilation that is coming tomorrow? Could such a beleaguered people in a desolate land survive in the face of such overwhelming odds?
The murder of 6 million Jews in Europe and anti-Jewish riots rising in many nations around the world was still recent news and painfully open wound. Decades before internet connections, Jews from around the world were all deciding independently to return home, knowing very little of what they would find or how many were coming.
The Jewish immigrant camps, both abroad and in the land, were vastly ill-prepared for the influx of refugees from different nations, languages and needs. The camps were overcrowded, underfunded and often struggled with meeting basic medical and human needs, thus, consistently teetering on the edge of a humanitarian disaster. Much of this happened under the hindering eye of the British, who were restricting the flow of immigrants to reach the land, even holding them in containment camps until 1948.
After May 14, the floodgates opened.
As those people finally arrived, thousands came from many different national cultures, living conditions and expectations. Local authorities were completely overwhelmed. Many arrived with nothing but the clothes on their backs, escaping with their lives from regions and nations that wanted them gone or dead. They arrived in an unforgiving land of deserts and swamps, only to face an invading enemy who outnumbered them 4 to 1.
Yet somehow, as the war miraculously ended in victory, the Jewish people kept coming.
Most population estimates record 650,000 Jews in Israel in 1948. Only three years later, in 1951, over 700,000 more immigrants arrived, more than doubling the population. This further strained the young war-weary and financially unstable Jewish state on every level.
Where do you put all those people? There were severe housing shortages, food shortages and a lack of jobs, with ongoing defense and security challenges due to continual Arab raids.
All of this unfolded in a land already desolate and struggling, even before the destruction that resulted from the regional war. For years, most Israelis lived in tents and with barely any food or local resources. Yet, families somehow ate, prospered and grew. Despite the hardships, many of Israel's early pioneers today say it was worth it and are proud to be Israeli.
During no time in recorded history has a national population absorbed such a large number of immigrants that it doubled its size in three years. Only in the State of Israel.
Read Ezekiel’s prophecy above, then read that fact again.
Today Jews continue to come home, literally multiplying the population many times over since 1948, and for the first time since Ezekiel spoke these words.
One hundred years ago, God's promise to Ezekiel 36:10-11, that he would multiply His people in the land of Israel, would have been considered impossible or idealistic.
Today, we call it “Israel."
Am Yisrael Chai! (The people of Israel live!)
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