There is faith and there is unshakeable faith. Renowned Bible teacher Derek Prince once said of scripture, “Every word of it is true.” The creation story, the flood, the prophet Elijah’s ascension to heaven in a flaming chariot and Zechariah’s apocalyptic vision of mountains of bronze… All literally true in Prince’s eyes, no hedging or reliance upon symbolism, allegory or figurative language.
Throughout the centuries, there may be no Bible theme that has challenged men’s faith more than the Old Testament’s multiple and explicit promises of the restoration of Israel. “Thus says the Lord G-d,” one prominent example begins…
Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel…(Eze 37:21-22)
As clear and unambiguous as this and many similar Old Testament verses may seem, consider the problem its promises eventually posed to men of good faith two millennia after they were recorded. In 1520, when Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation, the Holy Land was not only absent a restored Israel, but was part of the sprawling, Islamic, Ottoman Empire which spanned nearly a billion acres and included vassal states in Eastern Europe and North Africa.[Read more…]