Quite often I have someone say to me that they believe the end of time is very near. Yet we must keep in mind that Jesus said: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Mt 24:26) No one but God the Father knows when the end of time will come.
Although we may know the exact day or hour, there are certain signs that will indicate when the time is drawing near. Among these many signs is the re-gathering of the Jews back to the land called Israel. We read from the book of Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 30:7 Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid.
Like many of the prophecies found in scripture, Jeremiah’s prophecy has a two-fold meaning and interpretation:
1) The returning of the Jews after their Babylonian captivity
In 536 BC, Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, permitted the Jews to begin returning to their homeland. This return is recorded in scripture through such books as: Ezra, Haggai and Zechariah. The book of Nehemiah also records the rebuilding of the walls around Jerusalem as well as other aspects of the restoration.
2) The returning of the Jews before the Time of Jacob’s Trouble
In 70 AD, (some 35 years after the birth, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus), the Roman general named Titus, invaded Jerusalem and destroyed much of the city along with the Temple. Since that time period, the Jewish people have not had a Temple in which to worship, nor a priesthood to guide them. In addition to this, shortly after Titus’ invasion, the Jews began to be heavily persecuted and thus scattered across the world. From 70 AD until 1948 AD, there was officially no nation of Israel. But in 1948, something significant happened.
WWII ended in 1945. One of the most notable events of that time period was the Jewish Holocaust. During the Holocaust, approximately 6 million Jews were brutally murdered. After WWII, many of the Jews did not desire to return back to the countries where they had previously been living. For the next two years there was great controversy in the world as to what should happen to these Jewish immigrants. Finally, in 1947, the United Nations divided the country of Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum reports – “On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion, the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, announced the formation of the state of Israel, declaring, “The Nazi Holocaust, which engulfed millions of Jews in Europe, proved anew the urgency of the reestablishment of the Jewish State …”
Some estimations are that today there are over 5 million Jews living in the land of Israel. What is even more significant, in the years following, there has been a growing movement among many Jews to return to many of their former ways of life and worship. This movement is known as “Zionism.” According to the Jewish organization known as the Temple Institute, many of the garments necessary for a new priestly order along with many of the pieces of furniture necessary for temple worship have been, or are in the process of being made.
For nearly 2,000 years the Jewish people were scattered across the world and during that time-period there was little or no interest in re-establishing their nation or returning to their former ways of worship. Yet in the last century, much of this has changed. Thus we see the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s prophecy to His people some 2,500 years ago.
Jeremiah 30:7 Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.