Six Million Reasons … To Trust the Bible
Numbers do have meaning—to God and to people, literally and symbolically, individually and nationally. Scripture is replete with the use and significance of the numbers three, seven, twelve, forty, seventy, four hundred, one thousand and a few others. How could we tell time or be on time without numbers? Sixty seconds in a minute, sixty minutes in an hour, twenty-four hours in a day, seven days in a week, and so on.
In 2012, the world’s population passed seven billion. Scientists and leaders of nations the world over have become increasingly alarmed about the skyrocketing surge in population. How can they feed and house so many people? Will the water supplies maintain pace with the human, animal, and agriculture demands of this burgeoning populace? Can the environment withstand the pressures created by so many people? Will there be enough energy resources for light, heat, transportation, and entertainment? So many questions, so much concern … not enough answers.
The growth spurt of human population has been truly exponential. Which is, when applied to the population surge, just a fancy word that means: The more people that are born, the more people that are born. No, I’m not repeating for emphasis, nor did I hit the repeat key on my keyboard. In fact, I don’t even have a repeat key. Do you? Copy and paste, but no repeat.
Let the statistics prove my layman’s definition of exponential. In 1 AD the world’s total population was estimated to be 200 million.
1000 AD – 275 million
1500 – 450 million
1800 – 1 billion
1900 – 1.6 billion
1960 – 3 billion
1999 – 6 billion
2012 – 7 billion
It took 1800 years for the population to hit the one billion mark; but only 160 years for the population to reach 3 billion. In the year 1960, I turned fourteen years of age. You can do the math on how old I am; however, I’m still alive because I just hit publish to propel this Eye of Prophecy article through cyberspace! And, of course, I was alive in 1999 when the world’s population DOUBLED in just 39 years to six billion. In another twelve years or so, it increased another billion. Now that’s exponential! In fact, it gives a whole new meaning to the word, which is derived from the mathematical term, exponent. Which basically means the operation or phenomenon of multiplying a number by twice its amount or perhaps to the 10th power.
Since this article is not about concern over global overpopulation, I’m not going to debate the issues; except to say that I don’t believe there is or ever will be such a thing as too many people on this earth. That statement alone could take an entire article or more to defend, so I’ll simply defer to the Bible for support.
“So God created human beings (man) in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). We should always pay attention to God and his Messiah, Jesus. Had our ancestors listened to him, we would still be in that beautiful Garden of Eden. However, when God says something twice—which he sometimes does in Scripture—that’s a clear signal that we’d better listen real hard. When he says something three times in one sentence … well, that’s exponential! Read the verse again … no less than three times God says that he created human beings (male and female). Is the Lord repeating himself for dramatic emphasis? You can count on it.
So what is he saying? Easy question, bordering on stupid: God is our Creator, and we are unique from the animals because he created us in his image. Moreover, he created male and female, not male and male or female and female. But that’s another article for another time!
Defense #1: God created us and there were no conditions or requirements or stipulations or warnings whatsoever, at all—in any way, shape, or form—that we were to be careful not to overpopulate the earth.
Just the opposite. Scripture tell us: “Then God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it….’” (Genesis 1:28).
“Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! (Genesis 1:31a).
Defense #2: The Lord commissioned us to replenish the earth (with sons and daughters) … “be fruitful and multiply.” I see this as just the opposite of natural or unnatural forced population control. Just look at the Communist Chinese officials who (dictatorially) imposed the cruel law of only one child per family. No time to go into all the details in this article; suffice to say this abnormal, immoral law is a disaster. It has created far more problems than perceived overpopulation could ever generate. But that, too, is a different article for a different day.
Six Million Jews Gone, Six Million Found
Yes, numbers are meaningful; especially to an entire race of people who bore the brunt of unimaginable, incomprehensible terror and brutality at the hands of a ruthless and brutal government, whose malevolent objective was genocide of the Jewish people. Six million—nearly one-third of the world’s Jews and one-half of Jews in Europe—were systematically slaughtered during World War II. As long as I have breath and the ability to write, I will continually remind us of this gruesome fact. The Jews will never forget … neither should you and I.
But our great God always brings gladness out of sadness, laughter from lament, and hope through heartache. Although evil may triumph, it is always temporary. Though wickedness may flourish, it will inevitably fail. Despite incredible suffering of millions of innocent human beings, both Jews and Gentiles, God’s justice will one day reign supreme, satisfying those who have been so terribly wronged by the injustice of tyrants and terrorists and neighborhood bullies.
Just a couple of months ago, an Israeli census taken at Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) confirmed that in 2013 the Jewish population in Israel reached the six million mark for the first time since Israel’s statehood in 1948. Total population in Israel stands at 8,252,500, of which 6,186,100 are Jews and the remaining mostly Arab. New immigrants to Israel in 2013 totaled 16,884. Plus, 90,646 boys and 85,584 girls were born to Jewish parents. (Figures taken from Jewishvirtuallibrary.org).
Reaching the six million mark is a monumental milestone for Israelis and for Jews the world over. It’s a huge symbolic achievement, but it’s much more than figurative. It is a literal one-for-one representative replacement of men, women, and children ruthlessly removed forever from their families, from their people, and from the human race. It is the birth of one new baby at a time to replace moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and grandparents mercilessly eliminated by state-sanctioned murder, multiplied six million times.
The Rosh Hashana census listed the most popular names given to Israeli babies. For boys: Yosef, Daniel, and Uri. For girls: Tamar, Noa, and Shira. Precious names for precious children. Treasurable numbers each and every one.
The significance of these numbers certainly didn’t escape Israeli leaders. In a recent weekly Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke these words: “Israel’s population has passed eight million. No less important, for the first time in the history of the State of Israel, more than six million Jews live here. This number has great significance in light of our people’s history in the previous century as well as in the current one.”
The Prime Minister obviously was referring to the six million Jews murdered by the Third Reich of Hitler’s Germany, later labeled the Holocaust for the sheer magnitude of this genocide motivated atrocity. Netanyahu continued: “On the eve of our holiday, I would like to send out best wishes for a full and rapid recovery to the wounded IDF soldiers and citizens and at the same time send our deepest condolences to the families of the fallen. I would also like to commend the entire people of Israel for the determination and unity that they showed during Operation Protective Edge (the 50-day war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip).”
Prophetic Exponential Increase of God’s Chosen People
What is happening in Israel is astounding, but it shouldn’t be all that surprising. For God, himself, promised these things long ago through many prophets. In the case of the prophet Ezekiel, over 2,500 years ago.
“I will greatly increase the population of Israel, and the ruined cities will be rebuilt and filled with people” (Ezekiel 35:10). When God says that he will greatly increase the population of Israel, you can rest assured that will be an exponential expansion. Israel and the Jews are in the midst of such a population proliferation now. Currently, the average birth rate in Israel is 3.0 children for Jewish mothers … the highest birth rate in the world. Contrast that to the world average of 1.7 and you have nearly double the birth rate for Israeli woman.
Continuing in Ezekiel: “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘When I cleanse you from your sins, I will repopulate your cities, and the ruins will be rebuilt. The fields that used to lie empty and desolate in plain view of everyone will again be farmed. And when I bring you back, people will say, ‘This former wasteland is now like the Garden of Eden! The abandoned and ruined cities now have strong walls and are filled with people!’ Then the surrounding nations that survive will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruins and replanted the wasteland. For I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do what I say. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am ready to hear Israel’s prayers and to increase their numbers like a flock. They will be as numerous as the sacred flocks that fill Jerusalem’s streets at the time of her festivals. The ruined cities will be crowded with people once more, and everyone will know that I am the Lord’” (Ezekiel 36:33-38, italics for emphasis).
In 1867 Mark Twain visited Israel and wrote down his impressions entitled, Innocents Abroad. Some of his observations were remarkably similar to Ezekiel’s words from the Lord: “The fields that used to lie empty and desolate in plain view of everyone.”
Wrote Twain about Israel, “…A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds … a silent mournful expanse … a desolation … we never saw a human being on the whole route … hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive trees and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.”
And, he was amazed how tiny Jerusalem was: “A fast walker could go outside the walls of Jerusalem and walk entirely around the city in an hour. I do not know how else to make one understand how small it is.”
But no more. Not too long after Twain’s journey to the Promised Land that appeared anything but promising to him, Jews began to return to Israel (Palestine at that time). Exponentially, they increased in numbers soon after the Palestine Mandate of 1917; even more so after Israel’s Statehood in 1948, in which there were 806,000 Jews who lived in Israel.
Today’s Jerusalem is almost fifty square miles in size. Think you could walk around the city in one hour now? Hardly.
But there’s more: According to John as recorded in Revelation, he saw: “…the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). Then later, he watched as an angel measured the full range of the city. “When he measured it, he found it was a square, as wide as it was long. In fact, its length and width and height were each 1,400 miles” (Verse 16).
Roughly, the squared dimensions of this incredible city will occupy, as an example, well over half of the land mass of the United States. And that’s only the square miles on the land itself. Add another 1,400 vertical miles straight up and you get a city that could house billions of people. No matter how many it holds, there will be plenty of room for all believers in Christ, Jew and Gentile alike.
The present city of Jerusalem will continue to exist and thrive throughout the ages. But the New Jerusalem will far exceed the old Jerusalem in size and beauty and glory.
I would surmise that Mark Twain was perplexed and disappointed and also surprised by what he saw in Israel and Jerusalem. Whether he had read the remarkable prophecies of Israel’s inevitable return to the land is unknown … my hunch is that he had not. What I’ve read from and about Samuel Clemens would suggest that not too many things really took him by surprise. He had seen and experienced life, like few others. But I can virtually guarantee his utter astonishment, should he be able to revisit Israel today! And if someone told him that all this had been foretold by the ancient Jewish prophets, I’d like to think that he would have immediately searched the Scriptures for confirmation.
Ezekiel’s astounding prophecy proclaims that in those last days the city of Jerusalem would be filled and crowded with people. Once again, we are witnessing in our generation the fulfillment of that prediction, the accomplishment of God’s divine purpose for Israel and the Jewish people. Nothing or no one will stop God’s magnificent purpose for the Church and for Israel. And this plan is close, very close to fulfillment. Which is why I’m convinced we are living in the Omega Generation … the last generation that will experience the Rapture of believers, spiritual salvation of the Jews, and permanent, never-ending possession of the land.
Final physical restoration of all Jews to Israel will shortly follow and overlap with their individual and national redemption as prophesied by Ezekiel: When I cleanse you from your sins, I will repopulate your cities…. The cleansing began when the first Jew in the first century accepted Christ as his/her Savior. And, since 1967 there has, indeed, been a rapid resurgence in the number of Messianic Jews the world over. The cleansing will be complete when Christ rescues Israel from annihilation in the valley of Megiddo at the end of the seven-year Great Tribulation.
Through Israel, God Blesses All Peoples
“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you’” (Genesis 12:1-3).
By far, the greatest blessing flowing from God’s promise to the father of the Jewish people, Abraham, is the birth, death, and resurrection of Messiah Yeshua … born from the tribe of Judah, through the lineage of King David. But it doesn’t stop there. Before our very eyes and continuing far into the future—indeed, forever—the people and land of Israel will be a source of blessing to all people on the earth. Their medical, scientific, agricultural, economic, humanitarian, and cultural innovations, discoveries, and developments are nothing short of astonishing. Once again the land of Israel has blossomed and the world is a better place for it.
Six million Jews taken by force and removed from the face of the earth at the hands of depraved wicked men by shooting, hanging, starvation, and gassing. Six million Jews taken by the sovereign hand of God; transported to or birthed in the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as descendants of these Patriarchs. Six: the number of man, tragically and triumphantly represented by a special people chosen by God to bring truth, light, and salvation to the earth.
Seven billion people on this planet. Seven: the Divine number of God representing completeness, providence, sovereignty, and the final judgment of God on all that is wrong with this world. Six (million) and seven (billion) arriving on the scene of history together for the first time ever. For such a time as this. Many epic events in history have been associated with fulfillment of prophetic numbers found in Scripture. Biblical numbers don’t lie or even mislead. They are reliable reminiscent records of the past and sure statistical signs of the future. We would do well to heed these records and signs.
Now then, for those readers who didn’t want to bother with the math of my age (who can blame them!), I turned sixty-eight this past September. And this blog is the sixty-eighth weekly article posted consecutively since the Eye of Prophecy site began in July, 2013. For that, I am grateful to the Lord. Granted, these numbers are significant only to me, but then we all have special numbers and dates that are meaningful just to us.
Yet, the entire nation of Israel recognizes and cherishes each and every Jew living in the land promised to them by the true and living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Also the God of all Gentiles who believe in Messiah Jesus, who have been grafted into the tree of Israel through his awesome sacrifice. The untimely loss of even one Jew is traumatically felt by the soul of the entire nation. They weep together, but they also rejoice together.
Things to Ponder
“The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it” (Genesis 2:15). From God’s original design that men and women must take care of the land in which they live, we can accurately and reasonably conclude that we are to manage our resources. And we are to govern and be governed by those who at least acknowledge the sovereignty of Almighty God, Maker of Heaven and Earth and all living things, as the source of all blessings and well-being … rain, crops, housing, transportation, all things pertaining to freedom. For life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness so profoundly expressed in the United States Declaration of Independence.
Yes, we should manage and control our resources the best we can, seeking God’s counsel and direction in all things. But we are not to control people, in the sense of manipulation or domination; and certainly not the number of people. If we seek God, if we draw near to him, we will find him. And he will give all that is needed to support individuals, families, cities, states, and nations … no matter how many people there are.
How much better would this world be if more believers were as passionately active for truth and life, as terrorists and tyrants are for lies and death? And for Christians to share their love for the truth of God’s Word and the sanctity of life as ardently as those who claim that a union between a man and a woman is not the only way ordained by God, or that the Right to Life belongs exclusively to the mother of an unborn child … not to the God who created life.
As a born again believer in Messiah Jesus, I ultimately don’t decide what is right and good. I let God’s Word decide for me. If I do that, then I can never go wrong. With an extremely strong conditional emphasis on IF.
May God richly bless you.
Sha’alu Shalom Yerushalayim. Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.