I’ve done a lot of writing and speaking on the topic of why the Bible is true. But beyond the standard proofs for the Bible’s validity, if someone asked me to sum up in one word why a person should believe the Bible is trustworthy and, moreover, why it’s a supernatural book, that word would be: Israel.
When was the last time you remember meeting another “ite” referenced in the Old Testament? Any Amorites, Canaanites, Jebusites, Hittites, Midianites, etc., that you’ve recently encountered?
By contrast, the Israelites not only still exist, they are thriving, both in nations around the world as well as their own Middle Eastern country on the Mediterranean Sea. And their survival is no accident.
The specific promises God gave to preserve His special people are repeated twenty times in Genesis alone (12:1–3, 7–9; 13:14–18;15:1–18; 17:1–27; 22:15–19; 26:2–6, 24–25; 27:28–29, 38–40; 28:1–4, 10–22; 31:3, 11–13;32:22–32; 35:9–15; 48:3–4, 10–20; 49:1–28; 50:23–25). Despite what some Bible teachers assert, those promises and the covenant God made with Abraham were not conditional in nature (i.e. dependent on Abraham meeting any conditions), but rather unconditional.
This sounds ho-hum on the surface, but it has profound implications. On God’s covenant with Israel being unconditional, Dr. Renald Showers says, “If the Abrahamic Covenant is unconditional in nature . . . then every promise of that covenant must be fulfilled—including the promises that Israel would be given forever the land described in Genesis 15:18, and that the Abrahamic Covenant would be an everlasting covenant for Israel. This would mean that Israel would last forever as a people and that God has a future for that nation and its land. It would also mean that the biblical prophecies concerning the future of Israel and its land are to be interpreted literally.”
The Fulfillment of Painful Prophecies
Although the promise that God made with Israel regarding their future and inheritance are unconditional, that didn’t mean any unfaithfulness to God would go unpunished. Sadly, the painful prophecies contained in the Old Testament regarding Israel’s trials because of their disobedience have been fulfilled to a tee.
God told them that they would “become a horror, a proverb, and a taunt among all the people where the Lord drives you” (Deut. 28:37) and said to Israel that He would “scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth . . . among those nations you shall find no rest, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot; but there the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing of eyes, and despair of soul. So your life shall hang in doubt before you; and you will be in dread night and day, and shall have no assurance of your life. In the morning you shall say, ‘Would that it were evening!’ And at evening you shall say, ‘Would that it were morning!’ because of the dread of your heart which you dread, and for the sight of your eyes which you will see” (Deut. 28:64–67).
True to what God said, as Israel drifted away from the Lord, their neighboring enemies began to slowly take over their land. The book of 2 Kings (17:6; 18:11) records the first Diaspora (“scattering”) with Assyria and the second Diaspora occurring in 587 B.C. with Babylon (25:11). Jeremiah 52:30 records the third Assyrian Diaspora in 582 B.C, and then in 587 B.C., the Babylonians captured Jerusalem and took the Jewish tribes of Judah and Benjamin away. Afterwards the Jews were subjected to the Greeks and Romans.
Then came Israel’s rejection of their Messiah, Jesus, with Christ foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem, which happened in A.D. 70 at the hands of Titus and the Roman army: “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!” (Matt. 23:38).
Sadly, that was just the beginning of Jewish persecution. Islam rose in 600A.D and as a result, Jews in Arabia and North Africa were killed and oppressed. In the 11th century, the Crusades began against Islam, but Jews were also targeted, with one battle cry being, “Kill a Jew, save your soul.”
In the 1200-1300’s, the Israeli people were blamed for the Black Plague in Europe and literally one-half of the Jews were murdered because of that false charge. In the late 1400’s, Spain forced 800,000 Jews into the sea where they either drowned or died from exposure. In the 1800’s, Russian Jews were murdered or forced to immigrate if they didn’t join the Russian church. And during World War I, Russian Jews were accused of spying and sent to Siberia.
During that same period, nihilistic philosopher Fredrick Nietzsche wrote, “I know my destiny. Someday my name will be associated with the memory of something monstrous.” His words rang true as the Third Reich, partly influenced by Nietzsche’s philosophic worldview, ended up murdering 6+ million Jews.
The Biggest Comeback in History
Although Israel has suffered greatly, the Bible says: "Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Ps. 121:4). Scripture clearly declares that God would restore His people to their land and make them great again, all of it being done for His glory.
Some theologians of past centuries understood the Bible’s promises to Israel and looked ahead in faith to their restoration. For example, Scottish reformer Horatius Bonar wrote in 1847: “I am one of those who believe in Israel’s restoration and conversion, who receive it as a future certainty, that all Israel shall be gathered, and that all Israel shall be saved. As I believe in Israel’s present degradation, so do I believe in Israel’s coming glory and preeminence. I believe that God’s purpose regarding our world can only be understood by understanding God’s purpose as to Israel.”
The Bible says that God would “recover the second time with His hand the remnant of His people” and “gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (Is. 11:11-12).
Scripture declared that the regathering would be so important that it would eclipse Israel’s exodus from Egypt: “Therefore behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.’ For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers” (Jer. 16:14–15). Prophecies in Ezekiel (36:22–28; 37:11–14), Amos (9:11–15), and Zechariah (8:7–8) say the exact same thing.
Further, the Bible predicted exactly how it would take place: “Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she gave birth to a boy. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once? As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons” (Is. 66:7-8).
This is exactly what happened when God reestablished Israel as a nation. World War I prepared the land for the Jews as control of the land passed from the Turks to Britain. The Holocaust then motivated the Jews to return to their land and in May 1948, the nation of Israel was re-established. On May 14, 1948 Israel declared her independence and the nation was recognized and established in one day as the prophecy in Isaiah said. The very next morning, the nation was attacked, and her war of independence was fought just as the Bible predicted (with the birth pains coming after the birth).
What’s Next for Israel?
Bible scholar Dr. John Walvoord has written, “Of the many peculiar phenomena that characterize the present generation, few events can claim equal significance as far as biblical prophecy is concerned with that of the return of Israel to their land. It constitutes a preparation for the end of the age, the setting for the coming of the Lord for His church, and the fulfillment of Israel’s prophetic destiny.”
Despite being currently surrounded on all sides by enemies and hated by the descendants of Ishmael, Israel’s preservation is assured. Of Israel’s future, Zechariah says: “So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord. “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you”’” (Zech. 8:22–23).
So, if you want proof of the Bible in one word, as well as what’s easily the greatest prophetic fulfillment and miracle in our lifetime, it’s all wrapped up in “Israel."
Robin Schumacher is a software executive and Christian apologist who has written many apologetic articles, appeared on nationally syndicated radio programs, and presented at various apologetic events. He holds a Master's in Christian apologetics and a Ph.D. in New Testament.