In my February e-teaching titled Three Questionable Beliefs Christians Hold Concerning Modern Israel, I attempted to show that, because God is a moral being, He has not always historically sided with the nation of Israel. A moral being cannot side with people who become immoral. And for the same reason, God never gave the descendants of Israel perpetual, unconditional, sovereign right to the land called Palestine. If He did so apart from moral considerations, He would not be a moral being. This is Bible 101.
Of course, about 35 centuries ago, God did give the descendants of Israel a conditional right to the land today referred to as Palestine, but the Israelites ultimately failed to meet His conditions, and they were consequently expelled and scattered for their unbelief and disobedience. These points are so thoroughly and clearly contained in Scripture that they cannot be reasonably refuted.
I concluded my previous e-teaching by asking this question: When the modern nation of Israel was birthed on May 14, 1948, was God returning to the descendants of Israel the sovereign right to the ancient land of Canaan that He gave to their ancestors about 34 centuries earlier?
Many Christians answer that question with a resounding “Yes,” and for several reasons. The 20th-century establishment of Israel as a sovereign nation and the regathering of Jews there from many nations would seem to be an unprecedented event in human history. It would be difficult not to wonder if it has been orchestrated by the God who reveals Himself in Scripture as the Ruler of the nations. And it would seem even more difficult not to wonder in light of the scores of prophetic scriptures that foretell of a last-days regathering of Israel’s descendants from the nations.
Such a viewpoint, however, is not without its problems. The primary problem, as I have already pointed out, is that Scripture repeatedly reveals that the Israelites’ right to their ancient land hinged upon their obedience to God. Although the regathering of Jews to their ancient homeland may seem unprecedented, that doesn’t necessarily prove it is the work of God—or the fulfillment of certain prophecies that could well be fulfilled at another time.
And consider how much more unprecedented it would be for God to contradict His own Word, which arguably is what is required if we claim God has, apart from any national repentance on the part the descendants of Israel, favored them by regathering them and giving them land inhabited by others. Which is one reason why Palestinian theologians (yes, there are many born-again Palestinian believers) view the colonization of Palestine, not as a fulfillment of prophecy, but as a modern equivalent of Ahab’s theft of Naboth’s vineyard, an act of injustice that will justify yet another divine judgment upon Israel, and one that Scripture even foretells.
And such a view is buttressed by the fact that so many of Scripture’s prophecies related to the last-days restoration of Israel describe a concurring national spiritual awakening, one that has definitely not yet been witnessed in Israel. We’ll consider one of those prophecies later in this article, and several others in next month’s e-teaching.
Before I continue, however, let me clarify that what I am writing is not my political viewpoint, nor is it biased by my political viewpoint. I’m personally glad that there has been a democracy for 70 years in a region that has suffered for so long under oppressive and self-serving political leaders. I also tend to root for the underdogs and little guys, which it seems Israel is, at least when viewed on a map of the Middle East, surrounded by hostile neighbors. I also feel a closer affinity to Jews than Muslims due to our common spiritual heritage. Right or wrong, I’m personally glad that the country of which I am a citizen has been a political ally of Israel for many years. Yet I’m also very sympathetic towards Palestinians who have suffered so much, and especially towards Palestinian Christians, as they are members of my spiritual family (just as are believing Israelis). All these personal views, however, have nothing to do with what I’m addressing in my previous article or this article. I’m simply asking if the 1948 establishment of Israel as a nation and the 20th-century regathering of Jews to Israel are fulfilments of prophecy. Have we witnessed what God prophetically promised? And right along with that, I’m questioning some commonly-held beliefs held by Bible-believing Christians who, in my humble opinion, are ignoring a lot of very relevant scriptures.
A Brief History of the Birth of Modern Israel
When well-meaning pro-Israel Christians cite historical events from the last few decades, attempting to prove that the Israelis are the “good guys” and the Palestinians and all Arabs are the “bad guys,” it reveals two things. First, it reveals that they intuitively realize that moral considerations are relevant. We can’t be on the side of the bad guys, so we need to show that the folks we support are morally superior to their enemies. Second, it reveals a limited knowledge of historically-significant events that go back to the genesis of the modern Middle East dispute. They are akin to the person who happens to witness only the final punch of a two-hour fist fight, and from that perspective, makes a moral judgment about both combatants.
So let’s consider some of the backstory that ultimately led to Israel’s 1948 statehood. Before we take sides on a political issue that has existed for hundreds of years, we ought to at least have a basic understanding of the history.
We might like to imagine a handful of smiling Jews back in 1948 being handed a deed to their uninhabited ancient homeland by United Nations dignitaries on a sunny day. That, however, wouldn’t be an accurate history. The birth of modern Israel was preceded by centuries of birth pangs. And the birth itself was bloody, to put it mildly.
It is difficult to know where in history to actually begin. We could start with the Middle Ages when, for example, exiled Jews were slaughtered by the Crusaders, expelled from England, France and Austria, and blamed for the Black Death, resulting in the destruction of hundreds of Jewish communities by vengeful mobs. 900 Jews were burned alive in Strasbourg, for example.
But let’s jump to the 16th century, when we find an explicit example of the kind of anti-Semitism that ultimately led to the mass migration of Jews to their ancient homeland hundreds of years later. The example to which I’m referring is found in a booklet published in Europe in 1543 titled, The Jews and Their Lies. As you read a few excerpts below, you will likely conclude that the author may have been a Christian in name, but certainly he could not have been a true follower of Christ:
What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews? Since they live among us, we dare not tolerate their conduct, now that we are aware of their lying and reviling and blaspheming. If we do, we become sharers in their lies, cursing and blasphemy. Thus we cannot extinguish the unquenchable fire of divine wrath, of which the prophets speak, nor can we convert the Jews…
I shall give you my sincere advice:
First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians…
Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. This will bring home to them that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they are living in exile and in captivity, as they incessantly wail and lament about us before God.
Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.
Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb…
Fifth, I advise that safe conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside, since they are not lords, officials, tradesmen, or the like. Let them stay at home….
Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping. The reason for such a measure is that, as said above, they have no other means of earning a livelihood than usury, and by it they have stolen and robbed from us all they possess…
Seventh, I commend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow, as was imposed on the children of Adam (Gen 3:19). For it is not fitting that they should let us accursed Goyim toil in the sweat of our faces while they, the holy people, idle away their time behind the stove, feasting and farting, and on top of all, boasting blasphemously of their lordship over the Christians by means of our sweat. No, one should toss out these lazy rogues by the seat of their pants…
If this does not help we must drive them out like mad dogs, so that we do not become partakers of their abominable blasphemy and all their other vices and thus merit God’s wrath and be damned with them. I have done my duty. Now let everyone see to his. I am exonerated.
The author of that vitriol? Martin Luther, revered Protestant reformer, at age 60.
Of course, Martin Luther’s convictions were not uniquely his, as witnessed by the persecutions, pogroms, inquisitions, massacres, restrictions, harassments and expulsions that Jews suffered over the next 400 years, culminating with Hitler’s “Final Solution.” (Incidentally, Hitler tipped his hat to Luther in his book, Mein Kampf.)
The 19th and 20th Centuries
Long before the Holocaust, there was a growing movement among Eastern Europe’s persecuted Jews for an independent state in their ancient homeland. In the late 1800s, waves of European Jews began immigrating to the region. By 1890, Jews were a majority in Jerusalem, although the region as a whole was primarily populated with Arabs.
Growing sympathy in Britain towards the idea of an independent Jewish state in their ancient homeland was expressed in the Balfour Declaration of 1917. At the close of World War I, when Middle East boundaries were being redrawn, Britain was granted a mandate from the League of Nations to administrate a region carved out of Ottoman Southern Syria—which was named Palestine—with a view towards ultimately creating an independent Jewish state. Encouraged by these developments, more waves of persecuted European Jews made the journey to start their lives over in the homeland of their ancient ancestors. By 1928, Britain began allowing the Palestine Jewish community a significant degree of self governance through its elected Jewish National Council.
But during this very same time period, a movement towards Palestinian Nationalism emerged among Palestinian Arabs. It was clear to them that the British were favoring the Jewish minority.
The 1930s saw increased persecution of Jews in Eastern Europe, and another wave of 250,000 Jewish immigrants arrived in Palestine during that decade. That only increased tensions with Palestinian Arabs, whose subsequent protests, riots and revolts compelled British authorities to make attempts to limit Jewish immigration and create a separate place in Palestine just for Jews—a plan that would have required relocating 225,000 Arabs. Those attempts failed.
Then came World War II. Between 1939 and 1945, six million European Jews—men, women and children—were systematically murdered, mostly in Nazi gas chambers.
A post-war survey of surviving, displaced European Jews indicated that 95% hoped to emigrate to Palestine. In spite of British attempts to stop them, tens of thousands succeeded, many fleeing post-Holocaust persecution. It was not long before Jews made up one-third of Palestine’s total population. In an effort to gain independence from their colonial rulers, Jewish militias started waging guerrilla warfare against the British. It was not a coincidence that the Arab League, first consisting of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, was born in March of 1945.
In April of 1947, Britain requested that the newly-created United Nations solve its problem in Palestine, with a view to fulfilling its original mandate. The result was a U.N. partitioning plan that created two separate states, Jewish and Arab, with Jerusalem under an “International Trusteeship System.”
The partitioning plan was never implemented by the U.N. Security Council or the British, the latter of whom were fearful of further damaging their relationship with the Arab world. The only tangible result of the U.N. plan was the civil war it sparked between Palestine’s Arabs and Jews.
The Civil War of 1948
Every adult Jew was conscripted to serve in the Jewish military, which focused on regions that were mixed with Arabs and Jews. Although outnumbered 2 to 1, the Jews were better armed.
In Tel Aviv on May 14, 1948, in the midst of the civil war, on the day the last British forces departed from Palestine, the Jewish People’s Council announced the establishment of a Jewish nation, to be known as Israel. To the chagrin of the Palestinian Arabs and the Arab League, the world’s two superpowers at the time, the United States and the Soviet Union, immediately recognized the new state of Israel. And the Civil War in Palestine immediately escalated to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, as the surrounding Arab nations of Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan all attacked the new nation of Israel the day after it was born.
Israeli forces suffered initial setbacks but later overcame them, and by the time armistice agreements were signed some months later between Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, Israel had gained large territories that had not been allocated in the United Nation’s proposed partition plan. It should be mentioned that the Arab countries also occupied some regions of Palestine that had not been allocated to the Palestinian Arabs by the U.N. But overall, Israel was the net winner in terms of land gained.
Both sides paid the price of war, with Israel losing 6,300 of its people and the Arab casualties being at least that many. More than half of all Palestinian Arabs, at least 700,000, both Muslim and Christian, fled or were evicted by Israelis, uprooted from their homes and lands. Except in Jordan, Palestinian refugees were settled in large refugee camps in poor, overcrowded conditions that exist to this day, as the Arab nations refuse to absorb them or grant them citizenship in order “to avoid dissolution of their identity and protect their right of return to their homeland.” Today at least 1.4 million Palestinians still live in 58 recognized refugee camps, as refugee status has been passed down to the children of refugees. (In my political opinion, using Palestinian refugees as political pawns is a poor strategy for bringing any peace to the Middle East.)
Over the three years that followed the war, about 700,000 Jews immigrated to Israel, many of them having been expelled from their previous countries of residence in the Middle East. During the three decades that followed the war, 800,000 to 1,000,000 Jews left the Arab world, with about 680,000 immigrating to Israel.
If nothing else, I think anyone can see that there has been a century and a quarter of hatred and injustice boiling in the Middle East, and one cannot take a side without being perceived as unjust by the other side. More specifically and to my point, Christians who take sides with Israel build walls that hinder the gospel from penetrating Arab hearts and minds, and that understandably offends Christian Arabs, members of our own spiritual family.
Case in point: Not long ago when I was in Jordan, I spoke with a Christian friend there, a Palestinian by birth, whose grandfather was a successful businessman who owned 75 acres near Beersheba (in Israel). My friend’s Christian father, a church-planting pastor, inherited the land at the death of his father. When he and his family fled from advancing Jewish forces across the Jordan river in 1947, they thought they might return in a couple of weeks when hostilities settled. But their return was never allowed. My friend’s family still holds the deed to that 75 acres near Beersheba, and that land is now worth millions of dollars. But their deed is worthless. How likely do you think it is that he believes God orchestrated his Christian family’s misfortune in order to bless some unbelieving Jews?
What happened to my friend’s family happened, to greater and lesser degrees, to hundreds of thousands of other Palestinians, Muslim and Christian. So I ask again: Were the events of 1947-48 in Palestine actually orchestrated by God to fulfill prophecy? Was God returning to unrepentant Jews their ancient homeland through war and confiscation of land that other people had been living on for generations, and in some cases, land owned by followers of Christ? Incidentally, in 1947, it is estimated that as many as 12% of Palestinian Arabs identified themselves as Christians (although the majority would have most likely been cultural Christians).
Sympathy for Both Sides
Of course, as we read of the centuries of persecutions suffered by the Jews (and many times at the hands of professing Christians), it is difficult to not feel sympathy towards their plight and wish for them a national homeland where they can live securely.
On the other hand, it is difficult to not also feel sympathy towards the plight of Arab Palestinians who’ve been expelled from the land on which they were living, in some cases, for generations. If you had been a Palestinian Arab who lost to Israeli invaders the home and farm that you inherited from your parents, might not you be tempted to harbor some resentment? If you say “no,” you are only fooling yourself!
If you were a Palestinian Arab Christian who lost your land, and an American Evangelical Christian told you that God was on the side of unbelieving Jews who now occupy your land because it belonged to the Jews by divine right apart from any moral considerations, might you not question his opinion? And might you not ask that American Evangelical why the people carrying some DNA from Jacob suddenly have an alleged divine right that they haven’t had for at least 25 centuries, as is obvious from history? And might not you ask why God was taking away the land of Christians like yourself and giving it to those who have rejected Jesus in an alleged divine display of unjust favoritism?
All of this should cause us to question the assumption that the 20th-century regathering of Jews from around the world and Israel’s 1948 statehood are fulfillments of God’s ancient promises regarding the last days regathering of Israel. Could there be a different view that better fits God’s unchanging character and the Bible?
The Promised Regathering
How I wish God had included specific dates with every prophetic foretelling in the Bible! That would make interpretation of those prophecies so much easier. He didn’t, however, so the Bible’s prophetic foretellings are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Everyone is trying to put those pieces together to form a completed picture. Some folks are proud that they’ve found a few pieces that fit together rather nicely, but then act as if the entire puzzle is finished. They’ve located a few scriptures that speak of Israel’s future re-gathering, looked on a timeline of the 20th century, found Israel’s 1948 national birth, and then fold their arms and lean back with a smile, thinking they’ve got it all figured out. But there are hundreds of pieces of the puzzle still on the table! And if they spent a few hours attempting to make all the pieces fit together, they’d realize that the three pieces they’ve already put together are actually in the wrong places.
Keep in mind that there are prophetic passages that speak of a regathering of Jews from Babylon that were fulfilled in Ezra and Nehemiah’s time. And then there are prophetic predictions, still yet to be fulfilled, that presuppose the presence of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. And then there are prophetic passages that speak of a divine regathering of Jews that will occur in the last days. I think we should be careful to not mix those three as if they are all the same.
It is difficult not to be dismayed by the dishonesty sometimes demonstrated by some evangelical teachers who pull out proof texts from Old Testament prophets while ignoring the immediate and wider context of those same passages. For example, in a discussion on the subject of Israel’s modern regathering, it is likely that Isaiah 11:11-12 will be quoted:
Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover the second time with His hand the remnant of His people who will remain from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And He will lift up a standard for the nations and assemble the banished ones of Israel, and will gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Surely, we are told by some, these verses describe the 20th-century regathering of Jews from all around the world. But do they? Could they actually refer to a regathering that is still yet to occur? Let’s read the verses in context to find out. Below I’ve quoted Isaiah 11:1-12:6 and added a few words of commentary bracketed in red within the text:
Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse [Jesse was father of King David],
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit [Jesus was descended from David].
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him [Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit],
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And He will delight in the fear of the Lord,
And He will not judge by what His eyes see,
Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;
But with righteousness He will judge the poor,
And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; [It now becomes clear that Isaiah is speaking of the future time when Jesus will rule over the earth, and not about His earthly ministry 2,000 years ago.]
And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. [Obviously speaking of Christ’s future worldwide rule.]
Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins,
And faithfulness the belt about His waist.
And the wolf will dwell with the lamb,
And the leopard will lie down with the young goat,
And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little boy will lead them.
Also the cow and the bear will graze,
Their young will lie down together,
And the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra,
And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, [None of this has happened yet! It is clearly speaking of the future time of Christ’s worldwide reign, when the nature of animals will be changed.]
For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea. [Not true now. Clearly speaking of the future when Christ rules.]
Then in that day
The nations will resort to the root of Jesse, [All the world will be looking to the world’s ruler, Jesus in Jerusalem]
Who will stand as a signal for the peoples;
And His resting place will be glorious. [That is, His throne/palace/city will be amazing.]
[Now here is where some often start quoting from Isaiah 11 to support the idea that the 20th-century gathering of Israel and Israel’s statehood as fulfillment of Isaiah 11.]
Then it will happen on that day that the Lord [The phrase, “then it will happen on that day” shows a chronological connection to what we’ve already read.]
Will again recover the second time with His hand
The remnant of His people, who will remain,
From Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath,
And from the islands of the sea.
And He will lift up a standard for the nations
And assemble the banished ones of Israel,
And will gather the dispersed of Judah
From the four corners of the earth. [If this is speaking of a yet-in-the-future regathering (as it clearly seems to be), and it is a “second-time” regathering, and the first regathering was during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, then God is not taking credit for the 20th-century regathering.]
Then the jealousy of Ephraim [the dominant tribe of the 10 northern tribes] will depart,
And those who harass Judah will be cut off;
Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah,
And Judah will not harass Ephraim.
They will swoop down on the slopes of the Philistines on the west;
Together they will plunder the sons of the east;
They will possess Edom and Moab, [The region east of the Jordan River that is currently not part of modern Israel, but was part of the original territory of ancient Israel, so this again shows that what began in 1948 and continues to today does not fit this prophecy.]
And the sons of Ammon will be subject to them. [Also east of the Jordan River and unfulfilled.]
And the Lord will utterly destroy
The tongue of the Sea of Egypt;
And He will wave His hand over the River
With His scorching wind;
And He will strike it into seven streams
And make men walk over dry-shod.
And there will be a highway from Assyria
For the remnant of His people who will be left, [None of this has been fulfilled yet, again indicating the regathering of which Isaiah is foretelling was not fulfilled in the 20th century.]
Just as there was for Israel
In the day that they came up out of the land of Egypt.
Then you will say on that day, [Notice again the phrase, “on that day,” indicating concurrence with everything else that has been foretold in this passage.]
“I will give thanks to You, O Lord; [From this point on, Isaiah prophesies of the concurrent spiritual revival of that great regathering, something we have not seen during the 20th-century regathering.]
For although You were angry with me,
Your anger is turned away, [Has God’s anger turned away since 1948 from all the regathered Jews currently living in Israel, all of whom for the most part continue to reject God’s Messiah?]
And You comfort me.
Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
For the Lord God is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.” [Are all the Jews in Israel saved since 1948?]
Therefore you will joyously draw water
From the springs of salvation.
And in that day you will say,
“Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name.
Make known His deeds among the peoples;
Make them remember that His name is exalted.”
Praise the Lord in song, for He has done excellent things;
Let this be known throughout the earth.
Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion,
For great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel [Again we see that this speaks of a time when Jesus will be ruling in Israel] (Is. 11:1–12:6).
I think any reader can easily see how dishonest it is to rip two verses from the above passage in order to prove that Isaiah’s prophecy refers to what we have witnessed regarding political Israel in the 20th century. According to what we’ve just read, there is a regathering of Israel that is still yet to come. Although 83% of the world’s Jewish population currently lives in either Israel or the U.S., the remaining 17% are scattered among almost 100 nations. Moreover, Scripture tells us that in the end times there is more turmoil and war coming to Israel that will result in yet another scattering of her citizens. One can only imagine the outcry of some pro-Israel Christians when that occurs, as well as the theological and eschatological adjustments that will need to be made as pro-Israel Christian preachers and teachers face up to what Scripture has predicted for a long, long time.
In any case, those who claim that the 20th-century regathering of Jews and Israel’s 1948 statehood are fulfillments of prophecy need to show which specific prophecies predicting it were not a reference to the regathering of Ezra and Nehemiah’s time or to the still-to-come regathering of Israel’s descendants which any honest person will find in Isaiah 11:1 – 12:6. They also need to explain why God has apparently eliminated the condition of His original promise to Israel regarding His regathering them:
So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the Lord your God has banished you, and you return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers (Deut. 30:1-5, emphasis added).
Why This is Important
Of course, it goes without saying that if God didn’t orchestrate Israel’s 1948 statehood and the emigration of Jews from around the world to that new state, He obviously permitted it. But there isn’t anything historical that God hasn’t permitted. Permitting something is not the same as orchestrating it. Think of all that has occurred in human history that no Christian would ever claim that God orchestrated!
But if we claim that God has orchestrated rather than permitted the 20th-century regathering of Jews to Palestine and Israel’s statehood, and we also claim that it has been a fulfillment of His repeated promise to regather, restore, and revive them in the last days, that creates several problems. First, we have to wonder why there has been no revival during the past 70 to 128 years (depending on where you set the starting point). Second, we have to wonder why God is favoring unrepentant people in contradiction to His character. Third, we have to side with a lot of injustice and portray God as unjust. Fourth, in some cases, we have to take sides against our own spiritual family members, Palestinian believers. And fifth, we have to wonder how all the prophetic foretellings of God’s last-days judgment on Israel, the terrible time of “Jacob’s distress,” fit into our belief that God has gathered Jews from around the world to bless them because of His special favor for them.
I learned from my mom at a young age that, if you have to use a hammer to pound a piece into a jigsaw puzzle, you probably are putting that piece in the wrong place. And that once again reminds me of what many of us are doing as we attempt to prove that the 20th-century regathering of Jews and Israel’s statehood are fulfillments of God’s promise to restore and revive Israel in the last days. In my next e-teaching, we will gather some other relevant pieces of Scripture’s prophetic puzzle, and I hope our understanding of what happened and will yet happen in the Middle East will become more clear. — David