Bible prophecies fulfilled by Israel during ancient times

Below is a selection of Biblical prophecies involving the exile, preservation and re-gathering of the people of Israel during and after the time of the neo-Babylonian Empire.

The commentaries below are from the second edition of the book, 100 Fulfilled Bible Prophecies, by George Konig and Ray Konig, who are the authors and copyright holders of the material. The commentaries are reprinted here with written permission from the authors. The third edition, revised and expanded, of 100 Fulfilled Bible Prophecies is available through

Counting Abraham's descendants would be like counting the stars

Bible prophecy: Genesis 15:5
Prophecy written: As early as 1400 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: Throughout history

In Genesis 15:5, the Bible said that Abraham would have many descendants and that counting them would be like counting the stars. The fulfillment of this prophecy is obvious. In fact it is so obvious that it can be easily overlooked:

Abraham is the only person revered by large numbers of people throughout world as being their ancestor.

He is the father of the Jewish people, as explained in the book of Genesis, through his son Isaac, and through Isaac's son Israel.

Christians become descendants of Abraham through faith (Galatians 3:29), just as Abraham became the father of many nations through faith (Genesis chapters 12-17; Romans 4:18).

And many other peoples count themselves as descendants of Abraham, through his son Ishmael.

It also should be noted that the first part of his name, "Ab," means "father," and that his name was changed by God. The reason for the change is explained in Genesis 17:5, for which the NIV translation is: No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.

Genesis 15:5 (NIV):

He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars--if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."

Abraham's descendants would have their own country

Bible prophecy: Genesis 15:18
Prophecy written: As early as 1400 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 3400 years ago

The Bible's book of Genesis explains that about 4000 years ago, the Lord found a man who had strong faith. That man's name was Abraham. In Genesis 12:1-3, the Lord calls out to Abraham and chooses to reward him. In Genesis 15:18, the Lord said that Abraham's descendants would have their own country, and that this country would be between the river of Egypt and the Euphrates River. (People sometimes call this the Promised Land.)

Genesis also explains that this promise of land to the descendants of Abraham was inherited by Abraham's son, Isaac, and then by Abraham's grandson, Jacob. Jacob is the father of the 12 Tribes of Israel.

This prophecy of nationhood has been fulfilled about 3400 years ago, the Hebrew descendants of Abraham first established Israel. The Bible's book of Joshua explains how Joshua led the Israelites into the land that had been promised to them, as descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and established the nation of Israel.

The nation of Israel was later divided into two kingdoms, called Judah and Israel, about 2900 years ago. The kingdom of Israel lost its independence when it was conquered by Assyria about 2700 years ago. Judah lost its independence about 2600 years ago when it was conquered by Babylon.

Then, about 2000 years ago, the Romans scattered the Jews (or Israelites, or Hebrews) throughout the Roman Empire.

Starting in the late 1800s, many Jews from around the world began returning in large numbers to the land of Israel. In 1948, independence was declared for a modern state of Israel.

Genesis 15:18 (NIV):

On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river[1] of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates--

NIV Footnote: [1] Or Wadi

The promise of land to Abraham's descendants would be passed down through his son Isaac

Bible prophecy: Genesis 26:2-5
Prophecy written: As early as 1400 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 3400 years ago

In Genesis 26:2-5, we are told that God's covenant with Abraham would be inherited by his son Isaac rather than by any other child of Abraham. The prophecy repeats what is also prophesied in Genesis 17:18-19 and Genesis 21:12, but this time the promise is made directly to Isaac.

The covenant that God earlier had made with Abraham was to be inherited by Isaac. That covenant, which included the promise of land, also included the assurance that Abraham's descendants would be a blessing to people all over the world. Many scholars view that as a promise that the Messiah would be a descendant of Abraham, through his son Isaac.

Genesis 26:2-5 (NIV):

2 The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, "Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live.

3 Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham.

4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed,

5 because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions."

Jacob's descendants would inherit the land of Israel

Bible prophecy: Genesis 35:9-12
Prophecy written: As early as 1400 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 3400 years ago

In Genesis 35:9-12, Jacob is given a prophecy that his descendants would inherit the land of Israel. Jacob was the grandson of Abraham and was the father of the 12 Tribes of Israel. The prophecy was fulfilled when his descendants claimed the land of Israel as their country in about 1400 BC (about 3400 years ago).

Israel was later conquered by other nations and the people were forced into exiled. Many Jews returned during the past two centuries and re-established independence for a modern state of Israel in 1948.

Genesis 35:9-12 (NIV):

9 After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram,[1] God appeared to him again and blessed him.

10 God said to him, "Your name is Jacob,[2] but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.[3] " So he named him Israel.

11 And God said to him, "I am God Almighty[4] ; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from your body.

12 The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you."

NIV Footnotes: [1] That is, Northwest Mesopotamia; also in verse 26

[2] Jacob means he grasps the heel (figuratively, he deceives).

[3] Israel means he struggles with God.

[4] Hebrew El-Shaddai

God will never forget the children of Israel

Bible prophecy: Isaiah 49:13-17
Prophecy written: Between 701-681 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: Throughout history

In Isaiah 49:13-17, the Lord makes it clear that even though the people of Israel are to be exiled from their land, the Lord will never forget them, and the Lord would eventually bring the exiles back to their homeland.

Isaiah lived about 2700 years ago. At about that time, the Assyrians invaded the northern part of the land of Israel and had forced many of the people into exile. More than a century later, the Babylonians conquered the southern part of the land of Israel, bringing an end to sovereignty, destroying Jerusalem and the Temple, and forcing people into exile.

Despite the hardships, verses 15 and 16 remind us that the Lord will never forget the people of Israel. In fact, it says that even if a mother could forget her child, the Lord would not forget his children, for they are "engraved" on the palms of his hands. And, verses 17 and 18 show that the descendants of Israel would return, as they did after the fall of the Babylonian Empire.

Isaiah 49:13-17 (NIV):

13 Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

14 But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me."

15 "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

17 Your sons hasten back, and those who laid you waste depart from you.

The people of Israel will never be completely destroyed

Bible prophecy: Leviticus 26:44
Prophecy written: As early as 1400 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: Throughout history

In Leviticus 26:44, the Bible said that God would never allow the people of Israel to be completely destroyed.

During ancient times, 10 of the 12 Tribes of Israel were decimated by the Assyrians. And the Babylonians later persecuted what was left of the people of Israel. But, instead of assimilating or perishing, some of the people eventually returned to their homeland and recover their way of life.

The recovery was very complete, complete enough that Jerusalem again had been restored as the center of Jewish life. And the followers of Jesus were able to begin a process in Jerusalem by which Christianity later spread throughout the world.

Leviticus 26:44 (NIV):

Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking my covenant with them. I am the Lord their God.

God promised to restore the Jews

Bible prophecy: Isaiah 27:12-13
Prophecy written: Between 701-681 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 2600 years ago

In Isaiah 27:12-13, the prophet said that the exiled Jews would return to their homeland. During the time of Isaiah, about 2700 years ago, the Assyrians were conquering the northern part of the Jewish homeland and forcing many Jews into exile. A few hundred years later, the Babylonians did the same to the southern part of the homeland. Many Jews did return during the centuries that followed. They rebuilt the Temple and worshipped at the Temple.

But, in 70 AD and in 135 AD, the Romans suppressed two uprisings among Jews in Jerusalem, who fought, unsuccessfully, for independence from the Roman Empire. After each of the uprisings, the Romans exiled hundreds of thousands of Jews. After the second uprising, the Romans temporarily banned Jews from living in Jerusalem. But the Jews have been returning in large numbers since the late 1800s.

Isaiah 27:12-13 (NIV):

12 In that day the LORD will thresh from the flowing Euphrates[1] to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, O Israelites, will be gathered up one by one.

13 And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.

NIV Footnote: [1] Hebrew River

Enemies would move into the land of Israel

Bible prophecy: Leviticus 26:32-33
Prophecy written: As early as 1400 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: Beginning in about 721 BC

In Leviticus 26:32-33, as well as in other prophecies of the Bible, we learn that the people of Israel would be persecuted in the nations to which they would be driven during their exile, and that the land of Israel would be in ruins.

Here, though, we also learn that enemies would reside in the land of Israel during and after the time of exile (Leviticus 26:32).

This fulfillment of this prophecy began about 2500 years ago when Jews began returning from their Babylonian exile.

As explained in the Bible's book of Nehemiah, the returning Jews were met with hostility from foreigners who were residing in and around Jerusalem. In the early chapters within the book of Nehemiah, the foreigners taunt the Jews as the Jews seek to rebuild Jerusalem, which had been destroyed earlier by the Babylonians.

Nehemiah confronts the foreigners, telling them that the Jews will be successful in rebuilding their fallen city:

I answered them by saying, "The God of heaven will give us success. We his servants will start rebuilding, but as for you, you have no share in Jerusalem or any claim or historic right to it" (Nehemiah 2:20, NIV translation).

Nehemiah organized an effort to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem and the project was completed in 52 days, as explained in Nehemiah 6:15-16.

Whereas Leviticus 26:32-33 speaks of the punishment through exile and destruction, other verses within the 26th chapter of Leviticus speak of forgiveness and restoration. Nehemiah played an important role in the restoration of the land and people of Israel after the fall of the Babylonian Empire.

Leviticus 26:32-33 (NIV):

32 I will lay waste the land, so that your enemies who live there will be appalled.

33 I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins.

The Jews would survive Babylonian rule and return home

Bible prophecy: Jeremiah 32:36-37
Prophecy written: Sometime between 626-586 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 536 BC

Jeremiah was one of the prophets who warned the people of Judah that they would be forced into exile by the Babylonians. In Jeremiah 32:36-37, he prophesies to the people that they will survive that their exile in Babylon and return home.

Babylon had defeated the Assyrians in a decisive battle, ending in 612 B.C., at Nineveh. And then, in 609 B.C., the Babylonians captured the last Assyrian king. The Assyrians had an empire that had included the land of Judah but now the Babylonians had seized control of the empire.

In an effort to show the people of Judah that Babylon was now their new master, they began a process of forcing key residents into exile, as early as 605 B.C. More deportations took place in later years, culminating with the wholesale destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 586 B.C.

Jews began returning to their homeland after the Babylonian Empire was toppled in 539 B.C., by a coalition of Medes and Persians.

Jeremiah 32:36-37 (NIV):

36 "You are saying about this city, 'By the sword, famine and plague it will be handed over to the king of Babylon'; but this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says:

37 I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety.

The people of Israel would return to their land

Bible prophecy: Ezekiel 34:13
Prophecy written: Between 593-571 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 2600 years ago

Like Jeremiah, the prophet Ezekiel also lived during the time that the Babylonians ruled over the people of Judah, and he too was one of the Jews who were taken to Babylon as captives. In Ezekiel 34:13, he prophesied that God would gather the exiles from the various nations to which they had been scattered and that he would restore them to "their own land."

Ezekiel 34:13 (NIV):

I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land.

Notes: The commentaries above are summaries from the book 100 Fulfilled Bible Prophecies. Copyright © Ray Konig.

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