Israel's enemies protest and oppose the Jewish people's determination to defend themselves and to live in the land that God gave to them, and the rest of their family, long ago - in God's eyes, the matter has been settled. Israel's enemies are eventually going to accept that reality, one way or the other, because according to God's Sacred Word, many more people of Israel, not just of the tribe of Judah, known to the world as Jews, who are the first to return, but of all of the tribes, are coming home, under God's protection. On that day, when the Messiah rules with a rod of iron (Psalm 2:9, Revelation 19:11-16) from Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:16-19), the world will know the True God, and His Son (Who, ironically, many of the people of Judah today still refuse to recognize, even though He was one of them - see Hate Jews?), and the world will then, at long last, be a place of peace and justice for all nations. No more war, no more tears, no more hate, for anyone. All of Abraham's children, physical (see Isaac and Ishmael) and spiritual (Galatians 3:6-9), all nations, including the "Palestinian" people, will live in peace and security in their own homelands (Micah 4:3-4).
"Israel" and "Judah"
One of the most misunderstood subjects of Bible study involves the total political division of "Israel" and "Judah" that occurred at the time of King Rehoboam. Before then, all twelve tribes of Israelites were a united kingdom through the reigns of David and Solomon, but after Solomon's death they split into two completely separate and independent kingdoms - the southern kingdom of "Judah," consisting of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, with part of Levi since the Levites were distributed among the other tribes (1 Kings 12:23) with their capital at Jerusalem, and the northern kingdom of "Israel," consisting of the other ten tribes (Reuben, Simeon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Ephraim and Manasseh (Joseph was divided into Ephraim and Manasseh), with part of Levi since the Levites were distributed among the other tribes), with their capital up in Samaria.
Israel and Judah were never united again (see Kings of Israel and Judah). Surprisingly, they even fought wars against each other from time to time (see Jews At War With Israel). A very important fact that many do not realize is that Judah, that is, the Jewish people of today, are only one of the tribes of Israel - while all Jews are Israelites, not all Israelites are Jews.
Because of their forsaking of Him, God permitted the two kingdoms to be destroyed. First, the northern kingdom of Israel was gradually conquered by the Assyrians (see Ancient Empires - Assyria), and by 721 B.C. they had practically all been taken into exile to Assyria (2 Kings 17:1-23). The vast majority of them never returned, and have become known as the "Lost Ten Tribes of Israel."
Then, about 135 years later, by 586 B.C., the southern kingdom of Judah was completely conquered by the Babylonians (see Why Babylon?), and the people of Judah were taken into captivity to Babylon. The original Temple of God in Jerusalem was destroyed at that time (see Temples). The people of the southern kingdom of Judah however did return after the Babylonians fell to the Persians (see Ancient Empires - Persia), and their descendants have become the Jewish people of today - but that return in the time of Nehemiah, or the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948, were not the fulfillment of the many prophecies dealing with the future (as the context of the prophecies clearly show) gathering of all of Israel, Israel and Judah, to the land of Israel.
The Coming Gathering of Israel and Judah
There are many Scriptures which describe, in great detail, the future gathering of Israel and Judah. Examples:
"Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her who is in travail, together; a great company, they shall return here. With weeping they shall come, and with consolations I will lead them back, I will make them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble; for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born. Hear the word of The Lord, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands afar off; say, 'He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.'" (Jeremiah 31:8-10 RSV)
"Thus says The Lord God: Behold, I am about to take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel associated with him; and I will join with it the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, that they may be one in my hand. When the sticks on which you write are in your hand before their eyes, then say to them, Thus says The Lord God: Behold, I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from all sides, and bring them to their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; and they shall be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms. They shall not defile themselves any more with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions; but I will save them from all the backslidings in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God." (Ezekiel 37:19-23 RSV)
"They shall beat their swords into plowshares"
"He shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide for strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid; for the mouth of The Lord of hosts has spoken." (Micah 4:1-4 RSV)
Fact Finder: Does the prophecy of Daniel's Statue refer to a great "mountain" that will fill (i.e. govern) the whole earth?
Daniel 2:35 (see all of Daniel 2:31-45)