In Isaiah 41, the Bible discloses an odd prophecy designed to mark the nearness of Christ’s Return to earth. The Lord says in Isaiah 41:19, “I will put the cedar in the wilderness, the acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert together with the box tree and the cypress, [Why?] (20) that they may see and recognize, and consider and gain insight as well, that the hand of the LORD has done this, and the Holy One of Israel created it.” Isaiah’s words actually amplify a prophecy appearing 9 chapters earlier when he said God would make the “wilderness a fruitful field and the fruitful field a forest” (32:15).
Imagine what this prophecy infers: if you’re imagining the appearance of thousands of trees in lush, verdant soil at the Endtime that is not the case! The land of Israel is 60% desert and 2800 years ago—long before modern irrigation—it was unimaginable that a forest of trees would cover that barren wilderness. In fact, when Mark Twain, the genius of satire and journalism, visited Israel in 1867 he described the terrain as “rocky and bare, repulsive and dreary . . . [with] hardly a tree or shrub anywhere . . . a hopeless, dreary, heartbroken land. . . .” <small>(Brackets mine.)</small>
Its barrenness is what makes this prophecy incredible! And Isaiah rushed to attach an urgent directive when his prophecy when he said: ‘When the day arrives that an abundance of trees appear in Israel’s desert people must: (1) see it, (3) recognize it, (3) consider it, and (4) gain insight. That’s a fourfold admonition against overlooking this prophecy!
Now, is there any verifiable documentation that an abundance of trees have emerged in Israel’s desert? Yes! Once the Jewish people began their worldwide repatriation and settled into their homeland they decided to plant trees! And according to the records of the Jewish National Fund, the Israeli’s have planted, not 100,000 trees; not 500,000 trees; not even a million trees. Since the early 1900s, Israel has planted more than 240 million trees! A direct fulfillment of a prophecy given 2800 years earlier! And Isaiah said when this sure sign of the times occurred, and the desert became a forest, people should recognize that “the hand of the Lord has done this”!
I want to posit a question. Why does the Lord issue this prophecy of trees appearing in Israel? What is its purpose? It is for the same purpose the Bible uses prophecy throughout its pages. It is to convince people that a sovereign God rules the world and knows exactly where He is leading it. He has provided mankind with a Savior, Jesus Christ. And all who call upon His name shall be saved from their sins. Yes, the Bible’s ability to peer into the future and see the invisible and disclose the unknown makes God’s Word entirely unique and completely trustworthy.
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