In the Bible, the writings of Deuteronomy 28-29 are all about the blessings of obedience and the curses of disobedience. The Lord told Moses about the joy and prosperity the Israelites would receive if they followed His ways.
God also made clear the outcome of wandering from His instruction. These words were spoken to the people of Israel before they entered the Promised Land.
The Biblical Prophecy of Promised Blessings and Curses in the Land of Israel
The promised blessings shown in Deuteronomy 28:1-14—associated with obedience—dealt with the land, its abundance, and how the Lord would cause any enemy that came against the nation of Israel to fall.
The Lord also gave clear warning in the following 54 verses of chapter 28, against walking misaligned with the covenant, stating that a number of curses would fall on the people and the land as a result.
God wanted to be very clear about the Land Covenant that He was making with the Hebrew people. He promised an everlasting ownership of the land. However, how they got to enjoy and live in the land depended on how they walked with God in His covenant ways. If they were not careful to obey His commandments and statutes…
“You shall carry much seed out to the field but gather little in, for the locust shall consume it. You shall plant vineyards and tend them, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. You shall have olive trees throughout all your territory, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil; for your olives shall drop off. You shall beget sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours; for they shall go into captivity. Locusts shall consume all your trees and the produce of your land.”—Deuteronomy 28:38-42
How Was the Prophecy of Deuteronomy 28 Fulfilled?
The Bible said Israel would become a wasteland. The biblical prophecy of the curses contained in Deuteronomy 28 were certainly fulfilled.
The Ottoman Empire ruled the entire Middle East region in the early 1500s. Following the Ottoman conquest in 1517 AD, Israel’s land was divided up into four districts. During this time period, the land was widely neglected. Slowly, deserts began to overtake the great forests and vineyards of the land.
Those who remained in the area were heavily taxed and became impoverished.
The condition of the Jewish people and the land reflected the curses that were recorded in Deuteronomy 28.
Mark Twain, Deuteronomy 29, and Biblical Prophecy
Mark Twain, who visited the land of Israel in 1867 (referred to as Palestine at the time), described Israel as a “…desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds—a silent mournful expanse… We never saw a human being on the whole route… There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.”
After reading Twain’s observation of the land, let us look at Deuteronomy 29:22-23…
“[S]o that the coming generation of your children who rise up after you, and the foreigner who comes from a far land, would say, when they see the plagues of that land and the sicknesses which the Lord has laid on it: ‘The whole land is brimstone, salt, and burning; it is not sown, nor does it bear, nor does any grass grow there…’” (emphasis added)
The New International Version says, “The whole land will be a burning waste of salt and sulfur—nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it…”—Deuteronomy 29:23
You cannot deny the similarities in description between the Bible verses and Mark Twain’s report. What’s more is that, when the first account in Deuteronomy was recorded, the Promised Land was considered “flowing with milk and honey”—an abundant, fruitful land.
These two accounts bring us to the next chapter in Deuteronomy that reveals another revelation and prophecy about the Jewish people and their land.
The Hope of Returning to God
The biblical prophecy associated with Israel’s land did not stop with Mark Twain’s observations—because the ultimate prophecy of complete restoration was yet to be fulfilled!
“…so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.”—Acts 3:19-21 (emphasis added)
The desolate land began to flourish again—just as God had promised—when the Jewish people returned and re-established the nation. This prophecy was fulfilled in 1948 with the rebirth of Israel—just over 80 years after Twain’s “desolate” study of the land!
“Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you, and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you.”—Deuteronomy 30:1-3 (emphasis added)
What God Is Doing Now with the Land of Israel
God’s work is all about repentance and restoration. He longs to see His chosen nation return to Him, and promises that they will in His time. God promised that when the Jews returned to the land they would prosper and multiply.
Israel consistently ranks high among the world’s economies in terms of its technological readiness, venture capital availability, and the quality of its research organizations. The country ranks first in availability of scientists and engineers, number of start-ups per capita, and venture capital investments per capita.
How could this be? There is only one explanation: God is behind this nation. He is preparing this land and the people for His return.
Mark Twain likely had no idea of the role he would play in biblical prophecy, but Believers everywhere are beginning to see the connection as well as the rapid increase of Israel’s prosperity.
Therefore, we must understand that whether or not we take part in biblical prophecy, God’s Word will come to pass. The beautiful part of it all is that we can be on God’s side of prophecy and its fulfillment. And when we are, we are abundantly blessed.
Discover why more and more Christians are supporting Israel. Take a journey through Israel’s spiritual journey to prophetic fulfillment—download our FREE infographic HERE!