As Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, approaches this week, it is customary to look back and reflect on the previous year. Between Sunday and Wednesday, Breaking Israel News will present a series of Top Lists recalling some of the most significant Biblical and Israel stories of 5777. On Sunday, we looked back on 5777’s biggest stories of redemption: the year’s top 10 articles demonstrating that the Messiah is on his way. On Monday, we revisited the top 5 Biblical prophecies fulfilled in Israel and around the world this year. On Wednesday, the series concludes with the year’s top 5 stories of how the Bible comes to life in spectacular images and events worldwide.
There were no cell phones in Biblical times, but many of those miraculous events are reappearing in modern times and are being faithfully recorded and shared on the internet. The visual proof is undeniable, as videos surfaced showing God’s glory being revealed through the wonders of nature. For those who love the Bible and have the eyes to see, there is no greater pleasure than seeing its timeless stories come to life.
1. Biblical Pillar of Cloud Appears Over Golan, Proving Hand of God Protects Israel From ISIS [WATCH]
Just a few days after Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists attacked IDF troops on the border between Syria and the Golan in December, a massive pillar-shaped cloud appeared. Witnesses to the strange phenomenon noted that the cloud remained in place, confounding any ISIS troops who may have considered threatening Israel but halting exactly at the Israeli border. The video went viral, with a multitude of viewers calling it a reenactment of the pillar of smoke that protected the Children of Israel in the desert during the Exodus. The divine cloud seems to be as effective as ever. Though a vicious civil war just to the north of Israel has claimed over 300,000 lives, the Golan remains blessedly untouched with only occasional spillover fire disturbing the serenity.
A red heifer, necessary for ritual purification, is one of the final elements missing for reinstating the Temple service. Incredibly rare, only nine red heifers were ever found from the time of the Tabernacle until the destruction of the Second Temple. The requirements are stringent, and one potential candidate being raised on a farm in New Jersey was disqualified in 2015 when it gave birth. So it was astounding when, in February of this year, two red heifers were discovered, one in Mexico and the other, just ten days later, in West Virginia. The Heifer in Mexico was visibly unfit due to an ear tag attached soon after birth that created a disqualifying blemish, and it is unknown whether the Temple Institute investigated the suitability of the Virginian candidate. Nonetheless, the sudden plethora of viable red heifers seems to indicate the era in which they will be needed is imminent.
A river that meandered through a village in a lush corner of Indonesia suddenly turned shockingly blood red in August. Once the vibrant centerpiece of life in Pematangsiantar, the Bah Bolon river became a horror to behold, with dead fish floating in the bloody broth. No explanation could be found and local experts were as dumbfounded as Egypt’s chief charlatans. Though not entirely rare, the vision of red rivers always evokes the archetypal first encounter between Moses and Pharaoh.
Farms-strikes-acrossers and scientists have utilized modern methods to diminish outbreaks of locusts, but the eighth plague from the Book of Exodus was recreated twice last month. In Russia, a remote agricultural region was demonstrated by locusts and desperate locals took to catching the insects in flight to use as fish-bait. Officials in Trinidad were perplexed by unprecedented swarms. In a distinctly Biblical manner that seemed intended to annoy, the bugs turned up everywhere: in clothing, inside vehicles, everywhere they could crawl or fly.
Irma became a Category 5 hurricane, the strongest ever recorded over the Atlantic Ocean. Its winds, recorded at over 190 MPH, were strong enough to blow away entire sections of the ocean in Florida and the Bahamas in precisely the manner the Bible describes the splitting of the Reed Sea. In the same manner the Children of Israel walked away from Egypt, residents walked on dry land in places that had always been underwater. Boats were left high and dry and a visual reminder of the power of God’s hand that hadn’t been seen since the Exodus was once again revealed.