Not all signs related to the return of Christ are negative (as are wars, famines, earthquakes, and so on) in nature. Many are very encouraging and exciting. There are seven events that have transpired and are continuing to unfold that are a part of the restitution and give evidence of the coming of Christ. They are:
- Israel would be restored as a nation in one day (Isa. 66:7-8; Zech. 3:9; Hos. 3:4-5).
- The land would begin to blossom and be fruitful (Isa. 35:1-8; 27:6).
- Water would break out in the desert for irrigation (Isa. 35:6-7; 41:18).
- Jerusalem would be in Jewish hands and expand its borders (Ps. 102:16).
- Jews from Gentile nations outside Palestine would return back to Israel (Isa. 43:5-6; Jer. 16:14-16).
- The early and latter rains would return in the last days (Hos. 6:3; Joel 2:23; Amos 4:7).
- The walls of Jerusalem would be rebuilt by strangers and the gates be open continually (Isa. 60:1-11).
Israel's restoration process began during the 1800s with the birth of the Zionist Movement, but it was manifested to the world on May 14-15, 1948, when David Ben-Gurion made a proclamation declaring a new state for Jews called Israel. Part of the proclamation read: "The State of Israel will be open for immigration of Jews from all countries of their dispersion." Within hours, Arab armies advanced toward the infant nation to abort the plan. Just as ancient Israel had to deal with seven nations living around them in Joshua's time (Deut. 7:1), in 1948 the Jews had to deal with troops from seven surrounding Arab nations who announced the Jews would be "thrown into the sea." A war of independence was waged in which Israel survived against amazing odds. Today they boast one of the most advanced militaries in the world.
One of Ben-Gurion's goals was to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah and make the desert blossom with vegetation. In 1953, at age 67, Ben-Gurion resigned as prime minister of Israel to pursue his dream. This former Israeli leader and his wife, Paula, moved into a three-room wooden prefab hut at Sde Boker in the desolate Negev Desert. It was a dry, empty, sun-baked landscape. Years later, Beersheba, the hometown of Abraham, became a large town, and today more than 54 farms are scattered throughout a region called the Arabah—the Negev and the southern part of Israel—producing tomatoes, peppers, melons and a host of fruits and vegetables. Today, the desert is blossoming.
Ben-Gurion and other early Israeli settlers were also responsible for laying water pipelines to assist in irrigation. Years later, U.S. satellites discovered a huge reservoir of water under the desert, which today is pumped out and is the lifeblood used in the drip irrigation process, enabling the desert to blossom with agricultural life.
In 1967, Egyptian military forces, headed by Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, threatened Israel and were planning an attack. Israel preempted the assault with an air campaign, destroying Egypt's air force while the planes were still on the runway. During this Six-Day War involving Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, Israeli paratroopers seized the eastern (Arab) half of Jerusalem. At this time, this section was known as the country of Transjordan. At the conclusion of the war, Israel annexed both East and West Jerusalem together, forming a united Jerusalem under Israeli control. At that moment Jerusalem was united as one city without walls and became the long-promised capital of Israel.
Although from 1948 to 1967 Jews continually immigrated to Israel from surrounding nations, the Russian Jews living behind the iron curtain were forbidden visas to exit the communist stronghold. In the latter part of the 1980s, with the approval of Mikhail Gorbachev, Jews received visas to return from the north country of the Soviet Union back to Israel, thus fulfilling the promises God gave them through Jeremiah and Isaiah thousands of years ago.
Years later, in the early 1990s, there was a sudden return of the physical rains that soaked the soil of Israel, thus replenishing and nourishing the farmland, the deserts and the Upper Golan Heights. As the windows of heaven were opened, once-dry riverbeds were flowing with fresh water. It was a sign of the return of the latter rains upon the land.
Today, the old city of Jerusalem is shared by the world's three monotheistic religions: Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Out of the eight gates built in the walls of the old city, only one, the Eastern Gate, remains sealed with large stones. All other gates are opened to citizens and visitors. Children are seen strolling along the streets continually amidst noisy buses and cars, occasionally darting in and out of the crowd that fills avenues throughout the day.
Perry Stone is the best-selling author of numerous books, including There's a Crack in Your Armor, The Judas Goat, and Unleashing the Beast, from which this article is adapted. He directs one of America's fastest-growing ministries, the Voice of Evangelism, and lives in Cleveland, Tennessee, with his wife, Pam, and their two children.