Born in a day
On the 14th of April 2021, we celebrate the rebirth of Israel as a nation. That day is called Yom Haätzmaoet, or Independence day. It is celebrated on the 5th of Iar, on the Jewish Calendar, which shifts every year compared to the western Gregorian calendar.
On May 14th 1948, Israel became a nation in one day, when she declared herself an independent nation. The nation was reborn and again lived in the land God had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and to their descendants. Over the following decades, her children came from all the lands where they were scattered and settled in the land until now they are more numerous then when they were first exiled.
Life denied, God’s will stands
Immediately after the declaration of independence, seven Arab countries and several non-governmental militant groups, launched a combined assault on the young Jewish nation.
With limited resources and fewer soldiers, the Jewish state should have been unable to withstand such an attack. But contrary to what many believed would happen, the Jews not only managed to repel the attack, but also drove the enemy back, allowing time for the number of people under arms to be increased fourfold, weapons to be brought in and, in the end, win the war.
The initial battle, between a group of less than twenty five thousand Jews (some of which drove to the front line in taxi’s) against the professional, fully equipped, Arab coalition of well over fifty thousand soldiers, was reminiscent of the story of Gideon, who vanquished the army of the Midians (who were numerous as the sand of the sea) with just three hundred men.
Many miracles happened in Israel’s war of independence, God’s hand was with His people. He did not forget His promise to the children of Jacob.
If you want to know more about this, please use this link < https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/17-miraculous-israeli-military-victories >
Since the war of independence in 1948 until 2009, Israel has fought 14 wars in her struggle to survive. Her neighbours were bent on her total annihilation with religious fervour. All wars were won by the small Jewish nation, who not only survived, but thrived and became the region’s most powerful nation in just the span of a few years.
A nation, started with one man
Today, at Yom Haätzmaoet, we celebrate the re-birth of the state of Israel.
Modern Israel is 73 years old, but the nation itself is much older. In fact, the nation of Israel is one of the oldest remaining nations in the world.
It all started with one man, and Gods move to give him promises and an undying faith to believe in them. That man, was Abraham.
Abraham lived in Ur of the Chaldeans, a place we know today as Iraq. It was there that God called him to go to a land that God would show him, a land God would give to the descendants of Abraham, a promised land.
After Abraham, the promises of God concerning the land were affirmed to his son Isaac and later to his grandson Jacob, who was renamed “Israel” by God.
A nation forged in the furnace of affliction
God had shown Abraham that his descendants would go into Egypt and would remain there four hundred years. They would be oppressed, but God would deliver them.
When Abraham’s grandson Jacob was old, he had twelve sons. Because of a great famine in the region, Jacob and his entire household of seventy souls went into Egypt, because only in Egypt, there was bread.
After the famine, the twelve children of Israel remained in Egypt and had children of their own, who again had children. The children of Israel propagated until their number was so great, that the Egyptians feared them and oppressed them. God grew the small tribe of seventy souls which entered Egypt into a nation of six hundred thousand men, not counting women and little children. (Exodus 12:37) until at the end of four hundred years, the children of Israel cried out, because of the bitterness of their bondage.
God then raised up a man called Moses and freed His people Israel from the tyranny and slavery of Pharaoh, by a mighty hand.
Israel went into the dessert and there God made a covenant with His chosen people, through the mediation of Moses. Israel was forged into a cohesive nation, with their own distinct religion. They became a single nation, consisting of twelve tribes and learned God’s ways, during the forty years in which they wandered the dessert.
After forty years, it was Joshua who led them over the river Jordan, into the land God had promised Abraham so long ago. They finally became a nation in their own land.
The tragedy of disobedience
When Israel went into the land promised to them by God, there were other nations living in the land. Strong nations, in fortified cities. God however was with Israel and they destroyed those other people completely.
Israel however was unable to take the land completely, because it soon left the believe and traditions established by Moses. They left the eternal God who freed them and made them to serve other gods, who are not gods, and in turn were left to themselves.
The remaining people in the land, which should have been completely destroyed by Israel, remained and oppressed the tribes of Israel. God was no longer with them to give them victory, rather God raised up judges over the span of several hundreds of years.
In that time, Israel would be oppressed, they would cry to God, God would send them a judge and the judge would lead Israel in victory. Then, after the judge died, Israel would again leave God and the whole thing would start again.
This went on until Israel demanded a king be placed over them. God gave them Saul of the tribe of Benjamin to be king of Israel. Saul however was not faithful to God and was proud. He went his own way and God forsook him. God chose David instead, a small boy, the youngest of his family, to be king instead of Saul. Saul later died in a battle with the philistines on the mountain of Gilboa, in northern Israel.
After the death of Saul, David became king. God loved David and called him a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14 ; Acts 13:22) . God promised David that there would always be a son of his descendants on the throne of Israel, pointing forward, to the Messiah Christ Jesus, who was of the line of David and who is King forever.
After David his son Salomon ascended and Israel reached its zenith, in power and might, in wealth and in standing. It was the unrivalled superpower of its day. Rulers from all over the world came to pay homage to king Salomon and Israel ruled the region either directly or by proxy.
In his old age however, king Salomon was led astray by his many wives and bowed down to idols. It was the beginning of the demise of Israel.
Salomon’s descendants fell from bad to worse and became so evil, that they exceeded the nations God had destroyed before them in wickedness.
God split the kingdom in a northern kingdom of ten tribes, called Israel and two tribes in the south, called Judah. The kingdom of Israel was later exiled from the land by the Assyrians and was subsequently dispersed over all the earth. They mingled with the peoples in the lands where they settled, until they were no longer a defined tribe.
The kingdom of Judah held out a little longer, because of the mercy of God, who raised some righteous kings, but at last, she too was exiled to Babylon.
Seventy years she remained there and when she returned there was no king, nor kingdom. Instead she was a subservient nation, ruled by governors, first under Medio-Persian rule, then under Greek rule and finally under Roman rule.
It was the Romans finally who, in 70 AD, after a Jewish insurrection, destroyed the second Temple and sent the Jews into an exile which lasted almost two thousand years.
Return to the land, a prophetic sign
Then, on May 14th 1948, God again turned to Israel and re-established them in the land of promise. God remained faithful to His promises to the descendants of Jacob.
The prophet Isaiah foresaw this great event when he wrote: “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? For as soon as Zion was in labour she brought forth her children. (Isaiah 66:7-8)
Israel’s restoration, a marker in time on God’s Calendar.
In Acts 15:14-16 James quotes the prophet Amos saying: “After this I will return, and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen; I will rebuild its ruins and I will restore it, that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old.’
In Amos chapter 9, the prophet lays out the plan of God: the exile of Israel from their land, the diaspora among the nations, the return to their land in 1948, the ensuing wars with their neighbours and the purpose of this all, namely so that it would serve as a sign, to all the gentiles who are called by the Name of the Lord, to seek Him. Those Gentiles Amos mentions, that’s us, the Christians, who are called by the name of Jesus !
The restoration of the nation of Israel is a clear and unmistakable sign, that God is making an end of His plans and His coming will soon be upon us. As is written: That generation shall not pass away until these things take place. (Matthew 24:34)
Daniels seventieth week
Other Bible prophecies also tell us quite clearly about God’s dealings with Israel, in the past, the present and the future.
The prophet Daniel describes a revelation he received from God, that there would be a period of seventy weeks for the Jewish people, until all the visions and prophecies would culminate in the establishment of total righteousness and the forgiving of sin in an earthly kingdom. This was a direct promise of the millennial (thousand year) kingdom Jesus Christ will establish when He returns.
The weeks referred to in Daniels prophecy are periods of seven years. Seventy weeks then equals four hundred and ninety years. According to prophecy, Sixty nine of the seventy weeks would be fulfilled and then Messiah (Christ-Saviour) would be cut off (killed) but not for something He did.
Sixty nine weeks equals four hundred and eighty three years. Calculating sixty nine years from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, we come to the years in which Jesus Christ ministered on earth, was crucified for the sins of the world and was raised by God, fulfilling the prophecy of the anointed one who was cut off (killed) but not for Himself.
After Christ died and was resurrected, the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and the prophetic clock of the seventy weeks stopped.
One week now remains to be fulfilled. The prophecy to Daniel clearly explains that the people who destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem (the Romans) will one day rally behind a prince, a ruler which the Apostle John refers to as antichrist, who will establish a covenant with many, for one last week. He shall lead the world and Israel into a great deception, until Christ comes and puts a total end to him.
According to Gods prophetic clock, we currently live in the great interlude, between the sixty ninth and seventieth week. That clock will start ticking again, when, the antichrist establishes a covenant with many, in which the Jews are allowed to rebuild the Temple, on the temple mount in Jerusalem. It will shortly thereafter be followed by the time of Jacob’s trouble.
Israel’s future, true liberation
In Daniels prophecy, God promises that at the end of the seventy weeks, He will make all things right for the Jews and for Jerusalem. Transgressions will end and so will sin. There will be reconciliation and everlasting righteousness.
God is setting the stage for the events of the last week of Daniels prophecy. In 1948, God set up a banner in the promised land which was again known as Israel. He brought His people home from all over the world, as was written in Amos 9:14:
“I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit.”
God has indeed fulfilled His promises to the Jews, to bring them home, from the lands to which He scattered them. (Ezekiel 36:24) God will now fulfil with haste, those promises which remain. (Ezekiel 36:25-31).
God is doing all of this, not because the Jews are holy, or because they are more righteous, far from it ! No, because of their general unbelief in Jesus Christ, they are without excuse, but God will glorify His Name in all the earth.
That is why God says to them:
“It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things,
but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned
among the nations where you have gone.”
And also “It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord GOD;
let that be known to you.
Be ashamed and confounded for your ways,
O house of Israel.”
(Ezekiel 36:22 ; Ezekiel 36:32)
14th of May, a day of celebration also for us.
God has made true on His promise to the Jews to scatter them to the nations and He has made true on His promise to gather them back to the land.
The return of Israel to her land is the most momentous event on God’s prophetic clock, since the crucifixion, death, resurrection and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The resurrection of Israel shows to the followers of Jesus Christ and to the world, that we have reached the final chapter of the book of history. It shows that the return of the King is imminent. It shows that our blessed hope is almost upon us.
Now that’s a cause for remembrance and celebration !