Happy Birthday Israel!
This year the modern state of Israel will celebrate its 70th Birthday! Israel is the only nation or people group in history to return to life after 2,000 years of exile. The date of Israel’s rebirth is May 14, 1948 on our modern calendar. On the biblical calendar it was Iyyar 5, in the year 5708 after Creation. This year Iyyar 5 falls on April 20, 2018 and marks the 70th anniversary of the modern state of Israel.
After the resurrection of Jesus, the Temple in Jerusalem stood until 70 AD. Although the Jewish people were under Roman rule, they could still worship the one true God. Once the Temple was destroyed by the Romans, the Jewish people were killed, taken captive or escaped the land. In 132 BC the Romans renamed the land, formerly known as Judea and Samaria, Palestine as an insult to the Jewish people. In the 1900 years that followed, the land would change rulers several times. Following the Romans came the:
- Byzantine rulers
- Muslim Caliphates
- Christian Crusaders
- Mamluk rulers
- Ottoman Empire
- Permanent Homeland
The British defeated the Ottoman Empire during World War 1. After the war, the entire Middle East was divided with the Holy Land coming under British control.
In 1917, the Balfour Declaration was signed into law, giving the Jews a permanent homeland while also providing the Palestinian Arabs land which they could call home. To keep the peace, British troops were stationed in the land. However, this did not bring the peace they had hoped. Following World War 2 and the Holocaust, many Jews migrated to Palestine causing even more unrest. Finally, on the morning of May 14, 1948 the last of the British troops left.
In One Day a Nation was Born
On the afternoon of May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion, the Prime Minister, declared Israel’s independence. The day following this declaration, five Arab armies attacked this newborn country. Vastly outnumbered and out gunned, the God of Israel protected them and within a few days they had defeated the armies that came against them. Many saw this as a fulfillment of prophecy found in Isaiah:
Who has ever heard of such things?
Who has ever seen things like this?
Can a country be born in a day
or a nation be brought forth in a moment?
Yet no sooner is Zion in labor
than she gives birth to her children.
The nation of Israel was indeed a nation born in a day! But was this a fulfillment of prophecy?
The Rebirth Promised
Up until 1948, the possibility of Israel ever becoming a nation again seemed virtually impossible, but we serve a God of the impossible. Several of the prophets recorded God’s promise to return His chosen people to their land:
In 2005 our family visited Israel, and while there we saw these prophecies fulfilled with our own eyes. Standing at the Western Wall praying, you could see the diversity of the Jews who had come from various locations across the globe.
Pray for Peace
God is not finished with the nation He has brought back from the dead. Although many of those living in the holy land do not know Jesus as the Messiah, we remain hopeful as we know this is changing each day. Today we can pray as we are instructed in Psalm 122:6-7:
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.”
As we celebrate the birthday of Israel, let us never forget to pray for those living in Israel, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ who seek to share the Gospel with those living in that special land.
Have you ever visited Israel? If so, what was your favorite part? If not, would you like to go?
Learn more about the Biblical Calendar.