“So said the Lord of Hosts: Old men and old women will again sit in the squares of Jerusalem, each man with his cane in his hand due to advanced age. The squares of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in its squares. So said the Lord of Hosts: If it will be wondrous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in those days, will it be wondrous also in My eyes? – the utterance of the Lord of Hosts.” Zechariah 8:4-6
These verses describe a return to normal life in Jerusalem at the time of the ingathering of Israel and the rebuilding of the city.
On a personal note, I live in Israel just outside of Jerusalem. My in-laws used to live in Jerusalem. When my children were young, we would regularly take them to Jerusalem to visit their grandparents. On one of these visits, years ago, we walked together to a large park with a playground a few minutes away from my in-laws’ apartment. As we sat by the playground it occurred to me that we were not only witnessing but fulfilling this prophecy of Zechariah. Here were the children playing. Sitting a few feet away were the aging grandparents. Zechariah’s distant vision of the future was our present-day reality.
What’s the great miracle here?
One question that emerges from these verses is why Zechariah refers to this as such a great miracle. After describing this future scene, we read:
If it will be wondrous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in those days, will it be wondrous also in My eyes?
While this is a wonderful prophecy of the restoration of Israel, there are certainly many far more supernatural and remarkable prophecies in the Bible that are not emphasized in the way that this one is.
Zechariah describes something as simple and normal as elderly men and women sitting in the streets of Jerusalem while children play there. This is not what anyone would describe as a supernatural or miraculous occurrence. Why does Zechariah follow this vision with a verse declaring the extremely extraordinary nature of this scene? What is so wondrous about elderly people and children living their lives in Jerusalem?
The miracle of the State of Israel
The return of the Jewish people to their ancestral homeland after almost 2000 years of exile is unprecedented in history. To call it improbable is an understatement. The history of Israel is a miracle by every definition of the word. In fact, it may be the greatest miracle the world has ever seen.
What is the definition of a miracle? Simply put, a miracle is the breaking of the rules of nature for God’s purposes. When we think of miracles we tend to think of the sudden instantaneous miracles like the plagues of Egypt. But some miracles take time and perspective to see them. No other nation in history has ever gone into exile for a long time and then returned to its homeland to reconstitute itself as a nation. None. The prediction throughout the Bible that the people of Israel will return after many centuries of exile is not only improbable. It is, historically speaking, impossible. Like water running uphill, the history of the Jewish people breaks the rules of nature.
Miracles are how God reveals Himself in the world. By breaking the rules of nature for His purposes, God shows that He is the master of the world. Only the master of nature can break the rules of nature; for example, to make the Red Sea split or to make water flow from a rock. The same is true of history. History, like nature itself, has rules. Moses prophesied that one nation, chosen by God, will break all the rules of history; that their national history will be unlike any other. Then, when Jewish history unfolds just as Moses said it would, God’s mastery over history is clear for all to see.
In 1948, the Jewish people created the State of Israel in their ancient homeland. They took possession of their land thousands of years after being exiled from it. Since then, millions of Jews have emigrated to Israel from every corner of the earth. And in the last two decades, Israel has become one of the most powerful and successful economies in the world. Let’s look again at that prophecy of Moses:
Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors. – Deuteronomy 30:3-5
Every detail in this prophecy has been fulfilled in our days. There is no greater proof of the truth of Biblical prophecy and of God’s control of history, than the history of the Jewish people and the State of Israel.
This is the answer to our question above. What is so miraculous and supernatural about old men and old women sitting in the rebuilt city of Jerusalem as children play? Everything about that scene is miraculous. This is a miracle that took 2000 years of history to create. And unlike sudden miracles like the Ten Plagues or the Splitting of the Sea, this miracle is not a brief event that is gone once it has occurred. It is a miracle that continues to develop every day. It is truly wondrous in our eyes.
The impossibility of the return of Israel and the rebuilding of Jerusalem is the greatest miracle of history. It is cloaked in normal life. When we take a long-range historical view of God’s plan, we see the State of Israel and the ingathered people of Israel as truly “wondrous in our eyes.”
Israeli soldiers are risking their lives to protect us all from Islamic terrorism. But they need our help. Sign up for Israel365 Action to receive updates on how YOU can help fight Hamas and its supporters in the United States and around the world.