What do you picture when you think of Israel? A land flowing with milk and honey? Perhaps an exotic local? Or the place Jesus walked?
Israel has been many things throughout time, but as Mark Twain wrote of it in 1867, “Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, I think Palestine [Israel] must be the prince…”
Yet, what Mark Twain and others—including many before and after Twain’s time—thought of Israel, has become less and less true as years pass. In fact, it has gone from a desolate, forsaken land to an oasis of God’s blessings; because, as the prophets of the Word foretold, the Children of Israel have returned!
Israel 100+ Years Ago:
As indicated above, Mark Twain had little positive to say about the land of Israel. In fact, as far as can be found in the letters and journals he kept during his trip there, even the one or two positives he wrote were tinged with a deep level of lackluster impression. So much so, that while other accounts agree with his view of the land, it might be easy to believe that Mark Twain was taking extreme liberties in his recounts. If merely to tantalize those who would read the 51 contracted short stories from his trip.
Yet, the accounts were—despite his moments of ill humor and desire to discredit God—largely, and if not entirely, true. Israel was a wasteland, and only a true zeal for the Word of God could somehow alter the light of that fact—and Twain was hardly a man given to belief in God, let alone seeing the world around him through the eyes of Heaven.
“Its banks, and those of the brook are respectably adorned with blooming oleanders, but the unutterable beauty of the spot will not throw a well-balanced man into convulsions, as the Syrian books of travel would lead one to suppose.”—Mark Twain writing about the river Dan soon after passing into Israel
“The further we went the hotter the sun got, and the more rocky and bare, repulsive and dreary the landscape became…There was hardly a tree or a shrub any where. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.”—Mark Twain
“Palestine [Israel] is desolate and unlovely.”—Mark Twain
We could quote Mark Twain for pages, providing Israel the equivalent of a one star review with his only positives—tinged with negativity of course—being for a little section of the Dan, and the walls of the Old City in Jerusalem.
However, due to pictures taken in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s which show a barren land with rough, rocky, dirt roads, a few Bedouin tents, no real plant life to speak of even around Jerusalem, the Jordan River, and the Sea of Galilee… we have proof positive. Mark Twain was not lying.
In fact, even 600+ years before Mark Twain or any photographers would document the land, one Jewish man, Rabbi Moses ben Nachman, known as Nachmanides, gave Israel a less than glowing review. For, even in the 13th century, Israel was apparently already in poor condition…
“Many are Israel’s forsaken places, and great is the desecration. The more sacred the place, the greater the devastation it has suffered. Jerusalem is the most desolate place of all.”—Nachmanides
Yet, despite Nachmanides writing about the sad state of the land that he had fled to from Spain in 1267, Nachmanides saw this as a fulfillment of God’s Word. As Leviticus—likely chapter 26—being brought to life!
Of the desolation Nachmanides wrote that it, “constitutes a good tiding, proclaiming that during all our exiles, our land will not accept our enemies… Since the time that we left it, [the land] has not accepted any nation or people, and they all try to settle it… This is a great proof and assurance to us.”
Israel in the 20th and 21st Centuries:
Since Israel once again became a nation on May 14, 1948, the land has quickly become unrecognizable when compared to the pictures taken half a century prior. Indeed, Mark Twain, had he seen the Israel of 1867 placed next to Israel even in 1967, would have been dumbfounded. Because, despite the six day war of 1967, the land was already beginning to flourish in ways it had not since biblical times!
Yet, even if we were to compare the Israel of 2000 to the year 2020, we would find drastic shifts. Shifts in how water is used and even produced—such as through desalinization, a process of removing salt from salt water. Shifts in the growth of cities. The ability to safely, quickly, and easily get from one city to another. Shifts in how they do medicine and create technology—becoming leaders in these areas. Shifts in the water levels of places such as the Galilee—reaching, in Spring 2020, the highest water levels in 16 years, with potential to fill more. Shifts in plant life and agriculture…
On and on we could speak of the positive shifts in Israel in the past 20 years. However, through the glory of God and fulfillment of biblical prophecy, the number and incredible nature of these shifts are only increasing! It is a blessing to be living in days where beautiful prophecies from Ezekiel 36, Amos 9, Isaiah 35, AND Isaiah 49 are coming to pass! It is a blessing that we can not only witness them, but be a part of their fulfillment!
Some of these prophecies speak of the Jewish people returning from all the ends of the earth, which has and continues to occur! Through Aliyah—where Jewish people are helped by Israel to return—through the support of Gentiles, and through God’s divine assistance!
Others speak of how the land will become beautiful, how the cities will be built up, and wealth and favor come to Israel. From one end of Israel to the other the land is indeed beautiful, with cities being restored and built up, and wealth and favor pouring in!
While still others speak of the Gentiles assisting the Jews in rebuilding the land of Israel; from cities to agriculture. This is where My Olive Tree, through the support of people like YOU, has been blessed to be a part of prophecy fulfillment…
Through your generous support we have planted trees and other producing plants in the King’s Valley region of Jerusalem in preparation for the return of our Messiah. We have planted to honor and remember Holocaust victims and survivors. We have planted olive trees and grape vines in the desert, causing the desert to bloom like a rose! (See Isaiah 35.)
It is an honor in itself to be a part of God’s Word in such a physical way, but there are also promises that come when we bless Israel, ranging from peace to prosperity! It is a gift that keeps on giving, not only to those who enjoy the plants in the Holy Land, but to God as an offering of honor and love, and to us, as He in turn gives back to us beyond what we planted!
My Olive Tree is honored and humbled to play a part in all of this and we pray that you too might be blessed by it. And to all those who have sponsored a tree or vine, or supported My Olive Tree in any way, we say Toda Raba (thank you very much).
Your support matters!
If YOU would like to sponsor an olive tree, then click HERE!
If YOU would like to sponsor a grape vine in the Negev Desert, then click HERE!
If YOU would like to learn more about how you can become a part of prophetic fulfillment, then click HERE!