Can We Know the Future of the State of Israel?

The Bible does not mention the State of Israel by name, but it talks a great deal about all the processes that make up the state. Hundreds of prophecies on dozens of topics relate in great detail how Israel comes to achieve statehood and describe the processes underway on the global plane parallel to the founding of the state.

We cannot build a bridge or a road without anticipating the load it will have to bear. In urban planning we certainly must consider all possible scenarios. This is clearly true as well of military operations, business activities, and relations between countries – and all the more so regarding the life of the people as a whole.

In order to forecast correctly, and not based on wishful thinking, we need to know that the life of the Jewish people proceeds according to a set of laws. There is a set of laws that governs human culture, as there is for nearly everything else in nature. A significant proportion of the Hebrew Bible is concerned with this set of laws, and we can learn about them when we look at the past and present of this people that has been in existence for thousands of years (Deuteronomy 32:7).

The Bible does not mention the State of Israel by name, but it talks a great deal about all the processes that make up the state. Hundreds of prophecies on dozens of topics relate in great detail how Israel comes to achieve statehood and describe the processes underway on the global plane parallel to the founding of the state. Despite having been written thousands of years ago, all these prophecies are coming true. There can be no doubt that those who wrote them were well aware of the laws that governs this people. And when you know the pattern – you know the future.

It all begins, of course, with dozens of prophecies regarding the Jewish people’s return to its land from all corners of the world – “Then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the peoples, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee. If any of thine that are dispersed be in the uttermost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will He fetch thee.” (Deuteronomy 30:3-4). And many, many more.

Among the prophecies that have been fulfilled over the past century: At the end of the first World War there were 54,000 Jews in Eretz Israel, who constituted just half a percent of the Jewish people. Over the course of a century, seven million Jews gathered in Eretz Israel from 102 different countries, amounting to 50% of the Jewish people. We can clearly see how the prophecy of the ingathering-of-the-exiles is being fulfilled.

Jews could have gathered and lived in Eretz Israel under Turkish, Arab, or British rule, but there are dozens of prophecies saying that they will control Eretz Israel and no longer be subjected to the nations of the world as was the case for millennia. Thus says Jeremiah (30:8): “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bands; and strangers shall no more make him their bondman.” And even though these prophecies sounded illogical in the past, they came true.

The Prophets speak of the Jewish people’s victories over many nations – as in Leviticus (26:7-8): “And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand; and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword” – although for two thousand years we wielded no weapons and dared not confront the nations that butchered us or expelled us from every possible country. We underwent a major transformation; we hunted down our enemies and today Israel is considered a military superpower.

The prophecies talk about the Jewish people’s economic prosperity in its land (Deuteronomy 28:12: “The Lord will open unto thee His good treasure the heaven to give the rain of thy land in its season, and to bless all the work of thy hand; and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow”); prosperity that grows from year to year. Israel is among the world’s highest-ranking countries in terms of GDP per capita.

The Prophets talk about the high life expectancy of Jews in Eretz Israel (Deuteronomy 11: 21: “that your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, upon the land which the Lord swore unto your fathers to give them, as the days of the heavens above the earth”). According to the World Health Organization, we are among the ten highest-ranked countries for life expectancy. When we look at the life expectancy of Jews in the State of Israel, we find that Moses was unerringly accurate from a distance of 3,300 years. He knew what he was talking about.

The Prophets mention the Jewish people’s wisdom – as when Moses tells us, in Deuteronomy 4:6: “Observe therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, that, when they hear all these statutes, shall say: ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’” Based on the Jewish people’s size (0.19% of the world’s population), we might have been expected, at most, to garner two Nobel prizes, yet we have contributed to humanity what no other people has – 120 Nobel laureates from this tiny people (Deuteronomy 7:7).

The Prophets relate that Eretz Israel, a fertile land, will be desolate for two millennia – fever, swamps and malaria – as in Deuteronomy (29:21-22): “And the generation to come, your children that shall rise up after you, and the foreigner that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses wherewith the Lord hath made it sick; and that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and a burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein,” and so forth. They also foresee that when the children of Israel return to the land, everything will change and the land will yield its fruits willingly – as in Ezekiel (36:8-11): “But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to My people Israel; for they are at hand to come. For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown; and I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited, and the waste places shall be builded; and I will multiply upon you man and beast, and they shall increase and be fruitful; and I will cause you to be inhabited after your former estate, and will do better unto you than at your beginnings; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.” This is happening before our very eyes.

The Prophets speak of the building of Jerusalem – as in Zechariah 2:8: “[and said unto him: ‘Run, speak to this young man, saying:] ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein.’” This did not happen for two thousand years but is happening now. The Prophets also mention Israel’s improved international standing (Isaiah 60:15: “Whereas thou hast been forsaken and hated, so that no man passed through thee, I will make thee an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations”). The number of countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel has doubled over the past thirty years.

The Prophets speak of our being a nation of great happiness (Jeremiah 31:11-12: “And they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow unto the goodness of the Lord, to the corn, and to the wine, and to the oil, and to the young of the flock and of the herd; and their soul shall be as a watered garden, and they shall not pine any more at all. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old together; for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow”). And indeed, Israel ranked ninth worldwide in the UN-sponsored World Happiness Index for 2021 (and Bnei Brak is one of the happiest cities in the world).

In a brief essay one cannot review all the prophecies relating to the many different attributes of present-day Israel. In every book of the Prophets, the prophecies are conveyed in the most explicit language possible. They are not written as ambiguous hints. In all of human culture there is nothing comparable even to a single prophecy coming true after such a long time, and certainly not to a set of prophecies being fulfilled thousands of years in the future. Those who wrote the prophecies clearly understood the pattern regulating the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

In addition to the prophecies noted above, there are all those that clearly describe the Galut, our two-thousand-year exile. They mention our dispersion to faraway countries (Deuteronomy 28:64-67: “And the Lord shall scatter thee among all peoples, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth […] And among these nations shalt thou have no repose, and there shall be no rest for the sole of thy foot”). Biblical verses also describe the antisemitism that pursued us almost everywhere, the many expulsions from country to country, the fearfulness that gripped us for two thousand years (Leviticus 26:36: “And as for them that are left of you, I will send a faintness into their heart in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a driven leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as one fleeth from the sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth”), the millennia-long desolation of the land, a land that had once been a land of milk and honey (Leviticus 26:32: “And I will bring the land into desolation; and your enemies that dwell therein shall be astonished at it”).

Notwithstanding all of the above, the Prophets relate that the nation will not be completely destroyed, despite the great oppression to which it will be subjected (Leviticus 26:44: “And yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break My covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God”). They also affirm that the nation will not lose its Jewish identity (Isaiah 59:21: “And as for Me, this is My covenant with them, saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and forever”). The Prophets unquestionably knew what they were talking about.

The Prophets all speak of cultural progress on the part of humanity, to occur concurrently with the progress of the Jewish people. One need only compare the vision of “and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks (Isaiah 2:4) with the reality of the arms control treaties that have resulted in the elimination of 80% of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, and which have been signed by most countries in the world. We are definitely on the right track.

There are prophecies regarding the eradication of wicked regimes from the world (Isaiah 11:9: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain”). And everyone knows that the world is ridding itself of oppression and slavery. We are witnessing a decline in the number of tyrannical dictatorships, in oppression and evil, and a steady rise in the number of democratic states. We are seeing an increase in the education level of humanity – from 10% literacy worldwide to 87% (Isaiah 11:9: “for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea”).

Wicked regimes still exist, as do exploitation and ignorance. When we study the laws that govern the world, we find that we are working and moving in the right direction. We need to know the outline in order to make sure that we are directing our efforts in the right direction and not in the wrong direction. The fact that there is an outline and a pattern to global culture and to the culture of the Jewish people does not absolve us of responsibility, but rather the opposite. God laid out the path, but the work must be done by us.

When there is an outline and a life plan for the Jewish people and for the world, we can foresee the rest of the process. The process of aliyah to Israel that has been underway for over a century will not cease. God does not do things halfway (Isaiah 66:9). The building of the land and of Jerusalem will continue. The victory over our enemies will continue, as will the cultural and moral development of the world.

Our role as a people is to understand this plan and to work together with it, not against it. Our role is to bring blessing to humanity: “and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). For this we were chosen, for this Eretz Israel was chosen, for this Jerusalem was chosen. In the name of God, we shall do and we shall succeed.

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu is the Chief Rabbi of Safed, head of the rabbinical court to investigate complaints of sexual harassment in the religious-Haredi sector, a member of the Chief Rabbinate Council, and President of the Association of Community Rabbis in Israel.