Pointing to the side of a cliff, the guide identified the entrance to the cave where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.
With the Dead Sea and a brisk wind at my back, I gazed westward across the narrow ravine at that cave opening and wondered at the marvelous care of the Almighty.
He had kept those scrolls hidden and intact for more than two millennia! They were discovered less than 24 months before Israel declared her independence.
Among other portions of the Bible found was the entire Book of Isaiah, proven to have been copied 200 years before Christ.
There are no appreciable differences in that scroll copied more than two millennia ago and the Book of Isaiah in our present Bible. What a glowing example of God keeping His Word pure these thousands of years!
On May 14, 1948, Israel proclaimed its independence and modern Israel was born. Though it came about amid strife and violence, it was still a very important day for Israel and for the fulfillment of many predictive Scriptural references.
Israel had gone nearly 2,000 years without a homeland. It is significant that only about two years earlier, the Dead Sea Scrolls were found at Qumran.
Immediately after Israel declared independence, several Arabic countries, including Jordan, Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon mobilized for war. Though vastly outnumbered, Israel was better armed.
Israel quickly repulsed the Arab armies, but at a great price — the Israelis lost a high number of their forces, but gained more land than the partition plan of the United Nations had provided. They gained 78 percent of Palestine and uprooted 750,000 Palestinians.
In early 1967 Syria and Egypt prepared to attack Israel again, boasting that it would push the little country into the sea. The war that followed is called the Six Day War, because Israel completely routed the enemies in six short days.
Just a few weeks afterward, a book, Strike Zion, was published about the event. At that time, it was the quickest period for a book to be published after an historic event of that magnitude.
The volume discussed happenings during the short war that appeared to have come about by a direct intervention of God. I was in Israel three years afterward and saw burned-out tanks and other war equipment by the roadside — silent witnesses to the sweeping victory of the Jews.
Back to the founding of the nation, the new Israeli Knesset (parliament) met on May 15, 1948, the day after becoming a nation. At the desk of every member was a photocopy of Isaiah 40 from the Dead Sea Scrolls. That chapter, directed to Israel and yet to be fulfilled, begins as follows:
“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim together that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins” (vv. 1, 2).
What a beautiful promise to a people who for centuries have been hounded, tortured, and killed. May God speed the day of that biblical prediction’s fulfillment.