First, it is good to get an idea of what Israel (then called Palestine) looked like prior to the 20th century. Mark Twain provides a vivid biopic snapshot :
Excerpts from The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain, 1867:
Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, I think Palestine must be the prince. The hills are barren, they are dull of color, they are unpicturesque in shape. The valleys are unsightly deserts fringed with a feeble vegetation that has an expression about it of being sorrowful and despondent. ... It is a hopeless, dreary, heart-broken land.
Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies. ... Nazareth is forlorn; about that ford of Jordan where the hosts of Israel entered the Promised Land with songs of rejoicing, one finds only a squalid camp of fantastic Bedouins of the desert; Jericho the accursed, likes a moldering ruin, today, even as Joshua’s miracle left it more than three thousand years ago; Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and their humiliation, have nothing about them now to remind one that they once knew the high honor of the Saviour’s presence; the hallowed spot where the shepherds watched their flocks by night, and where the angels sang Peace on earth, good will to men, is untenanted by any living creature, and unblessed by any feature that is pleasant to the eye.
Renowned Jerusalem itself, the stateliest name in history, has lost all its ancient grandeur, and is become a pauper village, the riches of Solomon are no longer there to compel the admiration of visiting Oriental queens; the wonderful temple which was the pride and glory of Israel, is gone, and the Ottoman crescent is lifted above the spot where, on that most memorable day in the annals of the world, they reared the Holy Cross.
The noted Sea of Galilee, where Roman fleets once rode at anchor and the disciples of the Saviour sailed in their ships, was long ago deserted by the devotees of war and commerce, and its borders are a silent wilderness; Capernaum is a shapeless ruin;
The Regathering in Isaiah
Let’s look at this passage closely:
(Is. 11:11-12 NASB) Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recoverthe second time with His hand the remnant of His people, who will remain, from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12 And He will lift up a standard for the nations, and will assemble the banished ones of Israel, and will gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Today, we see that there has been an exodus from these specific countries that Isaiah had predicted:
Statistics on Regathering from the Nations
Jewish Population (1948)
Jewish Population (Today)
A few hundred.
Assyria & Babylon
(modern day Iraq)
Fewer than 10!
(modern day Syria)
Fewer than 100.
(modern day Persia, then Iran)
20,000 to 25,000.
The Regathering in Jeremiah
(Jer. 31:38-40 NASB) “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when the city will be rebuilt for the LORD from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39“The measuring line will go out farther straight ahead to the hill Gareb; then it will turn to Goah. 40“And the whole valley of the dead bodies and of the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be holy to the LORD; it will not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever.”
The Regathering in Ezekiel
(Ezek. 37:11-12, 14, 21-22, 25 NASB) “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel… 12I will bring you into the land of Israel… 14I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken and done it,” declares the LORD… 21Behold, 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 22and I will make them one nation in the land… 25They will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons’ sons, forever; and David My servant will be their prince forever.
The Regathering in Zechariah
(Zech. 10:8-10 NASB) “I will whistle for them to gather them together, For I have redeemed them; And they will be as numerous as they were before. 9“When I scatter them among the peoples, They will remember Me in far countries, And they with their children will live and come back. 10“I will bring them back from the land of Egypt And gather them from Assyria; And I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon Until no room can be found for them.
This cannot refer to the first exile, because this book post-dates the exilic period! Gleason Archer dates Zechariah’s book between 520 and 480 B.C. Liberal scholars date this book even later. Also, Zechariah mentions the “far countries”—not merely Egypt and Assyria (c.f. Zech. 12:6).
The Regathering in the New Testament
(Lk. 21:24 NLT) They [the Jews] will be brutally killed by the sword or sent away as captives to all the nations of the world. And Jerusalem will be conquered and trampled down by the Gentiles UNTIL the age of the Gentiles comes to an end.
The operative word here is “until…” The Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70. However, while the Jews were going to be temporarily removed from the land, they would ultimately receive the land in the end. At the end of history, Zechariah pictures Jerusalem being in the hands of the Jews (Zech. 12 and 14).
Remarkably, the regathering of the nation of Israel was predicted –not just in one passage –but in dozens of passages in the Bible. It appears that multiple authors in the Bible (both Old and New Testament) believed that God would restore the nation of Israel as a sovereign state on their original land. In the last fifty years, we have seen this prediction come to fruition. John Walvoord comments, “The restoration of Israel to its ancient land and its establishment as a political government is without parallel in the history of the world.”