Misreading Prophecy: The Jewish State

From the February 2000 Trumpet Print Edition

Misreading biblical prophecy can have terrible consequences.

When large groups of Zionist Jews first immigrated to Palestine around the turn of the 20th century, many felt they were fulfilling the prophecies of Israel being restored to the Promised Land (for example, Isa. 14:1-3; Jer. 23:7-8; Ezek. 39:25-28).

They were wrong. In fact, the Jews are only one tribe (Judah) of the ancient nation of Israel. The fulfillment of those prophecies will include the other, “lost” tribes of Israel. In addition, they refer to a time after Jesus Christ’s Second Coming. So, many Jews were basing their modern “exodus” on an erroneous interpretation of Scripture.

Herbert Armstrong knew that and predicted, based on correct understanding of prophecy, that the mistake would cost the Jews dearly. He wrote this in the June 1948 Plain Truth, just days after the official establishment of the modern nation of Jews called “Israel”: “In God’s own due time the Jews are to be released from their persecutions, their harrowing trials, and be reestablished within Palestine in peace! But this is not that prophesied regathering of Israel!

“This is merely a blundering human effort to do for themselves, before the time, what they will have to wait for God to do for them.

“And this present movement, setting up a nation of Jews and calling it ‘Israel,’ can only lead to more bloodshed and more troubles!”

Other prophecies do indicate that Judah would found a nation in this end time, but every one of them associates that little nation with violence—never peace! (see main article).

How poignant are Mr. Armstrong’s words, with half a century of history to look back on. The State of Israel has faced virtually uninterrupted conflict since its inception, flaring up in five full-out wars (1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 and 1982). Finally, this past decade has seen a war-weary people slowly and painfully giving up piece after piece of hard-won land in exchange for promises of security—a security that will never come. That is, until God’s time.