Evangelical Christians from many countries of the world comprise the majority of foreign tourists visiting Israel each year. Most of them are going to Israel for the first time, and what they primarily want to see are the ancient Biblical sites. They have read about Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, and other places in their Bibles. So they arrive with excitement and anticipation in the Holy Land, anxious to see these ancient Biblical places.
The fact that these ancient sites are still in existence for tourists to visit is what we might call, "Biblically significant." They were places of importance in Israel centuries ago during Biblical history. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived there. David and Solomon reigned there. Jesus and His disciples ministered there. And amazingly, two or three thousand years later, these ancient Biblical places are still real, existing and thriving places.
Most Christian tourists who visit Israel go back home feeling like they have a new and better understanding of their Bible than ever before. When they return home and read their Bibles, they have a special feeling of identification with the Bible lands and people. They can read about Jerusalem, Beersheba and Caesarea and say, "I've been there." They can read about the Mount of Olives, the Jordan River and the Sea of Galilee and think, "I've seen those places, so now I know something of what they were like in Bible times."
On my first visit to Israel I was with a Christian tourist group. Upon arrival, we went first to Jerusalem, as most tourist groups do. After seeing the many ancient and modern sites in the Holy City, our group went straight to Jaffa to see the ancient port city. When we went up to the little park on the northern end of Jaffa, we looked out and beheld for the first time the beautiful, modern city of Tel Aviv, with its picturesque shoreline and its majestic skyscrapers.
I was so overwhelmed that I declared, "Wow! Look at that! Isn't that great!" Then a young man standing beside me commented, "That's just a modern city. It has no Biblical significance."
I was somewhat stunned, and replied: "No Biblical significance? What are you saying?" Then I added: "God promised in the Scriptures that He would regather His scattered Jewish people back to their ancient homeland, restore the ancient nation, and preserve and bless it. That beautiful, modern city you see is a picture of the miraculous fulfillement of God's promises to the Jewish people. And to me, that's tremendously Biblically significant."
Certainly, the very existence of the modern nation of Israel is the greatest "Biblically significant" reality of today. The Bible prophets specifically foretold that the Jewish people who were scattered around the world among hostile nations as punishment for their disobedience to the God of Israel, would one day be regathered from among those nations back to their own ancient homeland.
No only did God promise to regather the Jewish people, He also promised to restore their ancient nation, and also to preserve and to bless and prosper it. Who would have believed that a nation that disappeared two thousand years ago could again become a restored and thriving nation this many years later? It has never happened anywhere else in all the history of mankind.
This is the great "Biblical significance" of Israel today. God told us through His Biblical prophets that it was going to happen. And it did!
So the land, the nation, and the people of Israel, both ancient and modern, are all "Biblically significant."
In fact, much of what is occurring in Israel today is also Biblically significant. Jewish people are still returning home to Israel from the four corners of the earth. God is continuing to Divinely preserve the nation from destruction by its Arab-Moslem enemies. And God has blessed and prospered the tiny, young nation to become a marvel of agricultural, scientific and technological development.
Yes, God is still working out His "Biblically significant" prophecies in and through Israel today.
Dr. Al Snyder is a former professor of Communications at Liberty University in Virginia and North Greenville University. He has done extensive missionary work in Israel and Africa.