The powerful Ottoman Empire had held the Holy Land firmly in its grip for four centuries, right up until its surrender of the territory in December 1917. It was at that time, during the thick of World War One, that the British Empire wrested control from the Turks, turning their newly-acquired land into what became known as “Mandatory Palestine”—part of the British Mandate for the Middle East. Together with the Balfour Declaration—signed the same year—the British intended to provide a “national home” for the Jewish people.
Did you know that this event—to the very day of the surrender—was prophesied in the Bible?
In one of his signature works, The United States and Britain in Prophecy, Herbert W. Armstrong proves that the modern-day descendants of the tribe of Ephraim are the British, and that the tribe of Manasseh is the United States of America. He shows how the blessings of Abraham were withheld from these tribes for a prophesied total of 2,520 years. The period of withholding lasted from the fall of Israel—721-718 b.c.e.—to the early 1800s, when both the British Empire and the United States were catapulted to unparalleled heights of power.
But what about the tribe of Judah—the modern-day Jews? The Kingdom of Judah fell much later—officially in 604 b.c.e., with the final destruction of Jerusalem c. 586 b.c.e. Here again, we see a prophesied 2,520-year withholding period, followed by an incredible fulfillment of prophecy. The following is an excerpt from Herbert W. Armstrong’s booklet The Proof of the Bible (emphasis added).
Prophecy Concerning Judah
There is one prophecy concerning the Jewish people, that they were to be invaded and conquered, driven out of their own land and would be punished for a period of 2,520 years. (See Leviticus 26:14-39 and, for a full explanation, write for our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.) Now, put that together with other prophecies such as Haggai 2:20-22. Exactly 2,520 years from the time that they were invaded and the land of Palestine was given over to King Nebuchadnezzar in 604 b.c.e., the very nation to whom that land was deeded by God Almighty took possession of it.
That nation was not the Jewish people, but birthright people who descended from Abraham. The birthright means right of birth, and includes the possession of the land, that is, it includes material resources and possessions. The possession of the land that God promised to Abraham was handed on to Isaac, Abraham’s son, and then to Jacob. And then Jacob, just before he died, and when his eyes were so dim with age that he couldn’t see, reached out and conferred that same birthright, including the possession of the land of Palestine, not upon Judah, the father of the Jews, but upon Ephraim, and together with him his brother Manasseh, both sons of Joseph.
Joseph was one of the 12 sons of the ancient patriarch Jacob, who was renamed Israel. Usually you don’t hear of any tribe of Joseph because Joseph was given a double portion. And his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, each became a tribe. And so, rather, you usually read of the tribe of Ephraim and the tribe of Manasseh. When the name Joseph is occasionally used, it includes the two tribes.
How Prophecy Was Fulfilled
Ephraim was made the chief birthright holder. And so, 2,520 years from 604 b.c.e., Ephraim was to take Palestine again. Counting 2,520 years from 604 b.c.e. brings us to c.e. 1917.
When it comes to translating time and getting down to an exact day of the year 2,520 years after Nebuchadnezzar came down to Jerusalem and Palestine was surrendered to him, the Bible gives us the date in terms of the Hebrew calendar.
That calendar is set up according to the new moons, with every month being 30 or 29 days. Today many of us are living under what we call the Roman calendar or, as it was slightly altered by Pope Gregory, the Gregorian calendar. Actually, it is a pagan Roman calendar. The Roman calendar is all that most of us know because we’ve been born in a world that uses that calendar and no other.
A certain date according to the Hebrew calendar will coincide with a certain date on the Roman calendar one year, but the next year will be about 11 days earlier, or maybe about 18 days later in the year, because the Hebrew calendar—sometimes called the sacred calendar, which came from God—goes according to the moon and runs in 19-year cycles. The Roman calendar, by contrast, was concocted by men who tried to make it come out right every year, and they’ve never been able to make it do that!
So, when it comes to translating a certain prophesied date recorded in the Hebrew calendar (in this case the 24th day of the ninth month—see Haggai 2:20-22) to a date in 1917 according to the Roman calendar, it takes some effort to figure. I found the Hebrew date corresponded to Dec. 9, 1917, which was 2,520 years from the time Nebuchadnezzar accepted the formal surrender of the Jews in 604 b.c.e.
I looked and found that the Turks, who are Gentiles even though they, in part, descend from Esau, Jacob’s brother, possessed Palestine in 1917. Esau, remember, anciently possessed the birthright from Abraham through Isaac, but sold it for a bowl of red soup when he was hungry. The Turks surrendered Palestine to the British, on, what date? I had heard, and it had been published, that the date was Dec. 11, 1917. Dec. 11, 1917, I found, on further investigation, was merely the date on which General Allenby and his army made their triumphal march into the city of Jerusalem. But it was two days before, on December 9, that the Turks made the surrender.
That prophecy was fulfilled down to the very day, December 9. And it was on the equivalent date, in 604 b.c., 2,520 years before, that the Jews formally surrendered Jerusalem and Palestine to the Gentiles from Babylon. God Almighty has been able to keep His prophecies.
The Proof of the Bible
Mr Armstrong’s above-quoted booklet, The Proof of the Bible, establishes the authority of the Bible as a divinely inspired text. The above is just one of the many remarkably-fulfilled prophecies that prove the existence of God, as well as the authority of the Bible. As Mr Armstrong states in the booklet:
If One, in the Bible, speaking and claiming to be God, can make prophecies and tell what is going to happen in the future to nations, to cities, to empires, then if it actually happens in every case, and without a miss, you’ll know that was a real God speaking.
But, if it were some person writing this, some human mortal writing in ignorance, groping in superstition, making great boasts, and claiming that he could foretell what was going to happen to proud cities, to nations, to great empires, and then it never happens, you know that that man was merely writing make-believe out of his own imagination.
The responsibility is ours, then, to prove whether or not the Bible is an accurate and divinely-inspired text. And God even dares the skeptic to prove Him wrong:
I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done … Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob … Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods … (Isaiah 46:9-10, 41:21, :23).
Only a god could predict the future. The Bible professes a Being who can do just that. Is it true? Request a free copy—or read online—our booklet The Proof of the Bible to prove it for yourself.