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Borticus

Israel becoming a nation again.

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So an argument I hear for prophecy being fulfilled is Israel becoming a nation again in 1948. Said Christian goes to quote the book of Ezekiel where it talks about a reformed Israel. Are they onto something or is there something else at play here?

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Chasing prophecy, making it fit, finding justification for it is a fools errand. I don't bother with it anymore. What I do know about Israel is that today's Israel is an artificial creation made by the victors of WWII for political and financial reasons. I wonder if it should even count as the Biblical description of the "nation" of Israel.

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     Ezekiel was probably onto something.  He was writing around the time of the Jews being taken off to Babylon.  So a pretty early diaspora.  And he keeps trying to explain all the reasons it happened (ie. not keeping the rules, idolatry, etc.) and goes onto say that things will be restored (more than once).

 

     Is there any time since then when Israel was actually under its own rule?  Yes, for a short time.  When the Maccabees took control over Antiochus they ruled themselves.  A lot of people like to say they were under the control of the Romans during this time but that's not true.  They came under the control of the Romans when Pompey came in although they had a sort of mutual protection treaty with the Romans during this time (which is what brought Pompey in and, once in, they stayed especially since their power had grown considerably during this time).  Anyhow, in this window the Jews expanded their kingdom and their religion by sword just like many others have done.  This is the Israel we're all familiar with as far as territory goes.  It was a real glory days for them.

 

     Anyhow, if any time was to fulfill Ezekiel's prophecies it should have been then.  They had their own kings.  They had their kingdom.  They expanded their power.  Their religion flourished.  They could have rebuilt their temple however they liked (and Herod did although this is under the Romans).  To try to kick this whole can a couple more thousand years down the road just because nothing happened the first time around is just plain silly.

 

          mwc

 

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Ezekiel was talking about something he expected to happen soon. He made other prophecies that didn't come true.

 

It is also probable that many of the people who made the efforts to restore Israel were Christians and Jews who would have interest in it due to their religious beliefs and had likely read the Book of Ezekiel. If someone has a book of prophesies they believe in, and they decide to take the actions to fulfill the prophesies in that book, is that really such a miraculous thing?

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Here is an excerpt from a letter I wrote several years ago:

 

Modern State of Israel

Here I want to turn my attention to the claim that prophecy was fulfilled when Jews returned to their homeland in 1948. While this particular issue doesn't directly pertain to my loss of faith, it is often cited as alleged "proof" that the Bible was inspired by God, and as such I think the matter deserves some attention.

We read, "And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country" (Ezekiel 34:13). Further on we see, "Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all" (Eze 37:21-22). Passages like these are cited as having been fulfilled with the rebirth of Israel in 1948. But is this claim legitimate? Let's dig deeper.

Ezekiel goes on to say, "And David my servant shall be king over them" (Eze 37:24). Yet the new Israel does not have a king, it has a president. In addition, that president is not David, nor has he been established as a descendant of David (a fair interpretation of the prophecy). In fact, in Christianity it is Jesus who is supposedly given "the throne of his father David" (Luke 1:32), but is Jesus reigning in Israel now? Clearly, this is not fulfilled.

We also read, "And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel" (Eze 37:28), yet what heathen knows such a thing? Unless we categorize Christians as heathens, this is also unfulfilled.

Ezekiel also says, "The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand" (Eze 37:15-17). It goes on to explain, "Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and hey shall be one in mine hand" (Eze 37:19).

There we see a clear reference to "the tribes of Israel," yet the tribes of Israel remain completely undefined in modern Israel. There is no traced lineage establishing all 12 tribes. In fact, it was the Jews who returned to Israel. The term "Jew" is ultimately derived from a Latin word that means "Judean," or "from the land of Judea." If those who returned to Israel really were Jews (literally "Judean"), then that would mean that what we have represented in Israel today is people of the southern kingdom of Judah, and not those of the northern (and larger) kingdom of Israel (after the original kingdom of Israel was split in two). Therefore, the prophecy of joining all the tribes of the two kingdoms back together remains unfulfilled.

Another interesting point is that modern Israel does not have all the land that was supposedly part of the kingdom of Israel during the reigns of David and Solomon, and therefore the nation has not been fully restored.

While I have not extensively studied the current State of Israel, these points alone are sufficient to demonstrate that what we have in modern Israel is not a fulfillment of the Biblical prophecy in Ezekiel. Those who believe that it is a fulfillment of divine prophecy are simply engaging in wishful thinking.

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On 6/20/2019 at 9:51 AM, Borticus said:

So an argument I hear for prophecy being fulfilled is Israel becoming a nation again in 1948. Said Christian goes to quote the book of Ezekiel where it talks about a reformed Israel. Are they onto something or is there something else at play here?

 

Haha, don't worry man. I'm pretty sure that the fact that the State of Israel sanctions gay pride parades in the streets of Jerusalem rules them out as the fulfillment of prophecy.

 

But really, most of the prophecies about the refounding of Israel refer to the return from the Babylonian exile. To my knowledge this is how Jews view these prophecies. It's the Christians who invent the notion of "dual fulfillment," and inject Jesus into the prophecy like a square peg into a round hole.

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Christians sometimes do good things, like helping the needy.  Other times they can be safely ignored, like when they insist that you really ought to be going to church.  But their belief in the modern state of Israel is downright dangerous, as it influences our national policy, encourages the disenfranchisement of the Palestinian people, and perpetuates the conflict in the mideast.  I would say that it is the worst aspect of christianity in the present day, on a par with the crusades.

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