PROPHECIES CONCERNING ISRAEL
by Wayne S. Walker
Christians believe that the Bible is God’s divine message to mankind. One of the lines of evidence which corroborates this conviction is fulfilled prophecy. This article will begin a look at some specific examples of fulfilled prophecy. In Numbers 23:23 Balaam was speaking of Israel when he said, "…It now must be said of Jacob and Israel, ‘O, what God has done!’" As we examine prophecies concerning Israel, we are impressed with God’s ability to declare an event long before it took place and then bring it to pass. This causes us to say, "O, what God has done!" Here are three specific prophecies to illustrate this.
Balaam made his prophecies around 1500 B.C. In Numbers 23:10 he foretold that this nation of slaves coming out of Egyptian bondage would be come a countless people whose number would be as the dust. By around 970 B.C., during the reign of Solomon, it was said that "Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand of the sea in multitude" (1 Kings 4:20). Then in Numbers 24:22 Balaam predicted that Asshur (i.e., Assyria) would carry them away captive. This prophecy was fulfilled in 722 B.C. when the Assyrians conquered Samaria and the northern kingdom of ten tribes (2 Kings 17:5-18).
Moses also made some predictions about Israel’s downfall shortly after the time of Balaam. He said in Deuteronomy 28:41 that if they would not obey the law of the Lord, they would eventually be carried away into captivity. Some five hundred years later, all of Israel had been taken into captivity following the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C. (2 Kings 24:10-14). Next, Moses prophesied that during this destruction, the siege would be so bad that the Jews would eat the fruit of their own bodies. Again, five hundred years after the prophecy, Jeremiah confirms that this did in fact occur (Lamentations 2:40, 4:10).
Immediately following his predictions about Israel’s downfall, Moses then foretold the restoration of Israel after their captivity. In Deuteronomy 30:1-3, he promised that after all these things came on Israel and they returned to the Lord, God would bring them back from captivity. Over five hundred years later, in 536 B.C., Cyrus the Persian, who had conquered the Babylonian empire, allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:1-3). If there was ever any group of people on the face of the earth who could either substantiate or successfully refute the validity of prophecy, it would be the Israelites. And in every case, their history confirms it with amazing accuracy. (—taken from With All Boldness; May, 1995; Vol. 5, No. 5; p. 19)