shalt possess it." (Deuteronomy 30:3-5) "...the LORD will...assemble the dipersed of Israel, and gather together the scattered of Judah from the four corners of the earth." (Isaiah 11:11-12 Jewish Publication Society of America) There were relatively brief periods of captivity forced on the Jews by the Assyrian empire and, later, by the Babylonian empire. Much of the population was carried captive to Babylon for about seventy years, with a large number of escapees fleeing in the other direction, to Egypt, around the sixth century B.C. But the real scattering of the Jews to the four corners of the earth was yet future. Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, repeated the prophecy in these words: "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword and be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." (Luke 21:24) Within the lifetime of those who witnessed Christ's crucifixion, a Jewish uprising against Rome was crushed brutally by the imperial armies. The Romans demolished Jerusalem and its temple and sold the Jews into slavery throughout the empire, scattering them to the four corners of the earth, into all the nations. Normally, that would have spelled the end of the Jews as a people and Israel as a nation. To all appearances, there would never again be a Jewish state in Palestine. The Romans ruled the ruins of Jerusalem until the empire began to fall apart. Then the eastern empire ruled from Byzantium. With the rise of Islam, Muslims took control. The land changed hands as European Crusaders and the Arab warriors of Islamic Jihad pushed each other back and forth over the war-torn terrain. For hundreds of years -- nearly two thousand years, in fact -- Gentiles trampled upon Jerusalem. Would the Jewish state ever be restored? You must be joking!!! Only a miracle could bring that about.
However, that miracle had been promised in biblical prophecy. Although it took two world wars to accomplish it, the miracle occurred as the hand of God pushed world events in that direction, and the prophecy was fulfilled. World War I was still raging, and the Ottoman Turks still held Jerusalem when, on June 4, 1917, Jules Cambon, Secretary General of the French Foreign Ministry, wrote this in an official letter to Jewish Zionist leader Nahum Sokolow:
... it would be a deed of justice and reparation to assist, by the protection of the Allied Powers, in the renaissance of the Jewish nationality in that Land from which the people of Israel were exiled so many centuries ago. The French Government, which entered this present war to defend a people wrongly attacked, and which continues the struggle to assure victory of right over might, cannot but feel sympathy for your cause, the triumph of which is bound up with that of the Allies. I am happy to give you herewith such assurance.
Five months later, on November 2, 1917, British foreign secretary Arthur James Lord Balfour wrote a letter to a Jewish peer in the House of Lords, a letter that has since been dubbed "the Balfour Declaration":
Foreign Office November 2nd, 1917 Dear Lord Rothschild, I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet. "His Majesty's Government view with