It is not really possible to exaggerate why David Ben Gurion’s declaration – 60 years ago this May, of the independence of the State of Israel for the people of Israel – is one of the most important historical happenings ever to impact the world.
Why was the creation of Israel on May 14, 1948 so significant?
It was important on many levels for the Jews themselves, but not only for the Jews:
It marked the arrival of the Jewish people at a – for them – long-feared unreachable milestone in their millennia-old history – the end of their worldwide Diaspora or dispersion.
It signified the total failure of Adolf Hitler – and the myriad antisemites before him: the Vatican, the Crusaders, the Inquisition, the Cossacks, the rulers of Austria, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Belgium, Slovakia, The Netherlands, France, England, Poland, Bohemia, Russia and all the other nations that expelled their Jews – to do away with God’s Chosen People.
It established a port of safety – a haven – for a nation whose people for 2000 years had been denied acceptance and lived precariously virtually wherever they sought to dwell among the gentiles.
It gave a long-scattered people a single address – a home of their own in which they were reconstituted and could once again build themselves up as a nation in their own right.
Within that homeland the Jews, who had been always at the mercy of their host nations, could organize their own defense and victoriously withstand, as they have often had to do, the onslaught of millions of their foes.
Ask the Jew living in Israel today why the creation and existence of his or her homeland is so important to them, and you will receive these and perhaps a few other, similar, answers.
Of as great significance as all these reasons and, in the thinking of millions of Bible-believing Christians around the world of even greater import, is Israel’s rebirth for the following reasons:
It underscores and proclaims aloud for all the world to hear, God’s faithful keeping of His covenant and His word.
It heralds the approaching end of this age, the coming of Messiah and the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth.
Apart from the coming of Jesus, Israel’s rebirth – an event without precedent in the history of nations – is the most dramatic fulfillment of prophecy ever to have taken place.
It adds enormous weight to the veracity of the Bible.
Perhaps the most important thing for Christians about Israel’s rebirth and preservation is the message it sends about the absolute and unshakeable faithfulness of God.
Conversely – those Christians who will not see modern-day Israel as the fulfillment of that prophecy, and as a nation whose future is guaranteed by God, cannot themselves be very secure in their own salvation. For if God could change His mind about who should be His Chosen People, then He surely can change His mind about who is saved and who is not?
Accurately speaking, what took place 60 years ago was not the creation of the Jewish nation but its resurrection in its ancient homeland, as foretold by its ancient prophets.
Questioning one of those prophets concerning the future of His people, God says:
“What do you see, Jeremiah?” And I said, “I see a rod of an almond tree.” Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it.” (Jeremiah 1:11-12)
The Land of Israel, the Bible further tells us in Deuteronomy 11:12, is “a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year.”
He has, indeed, been jealously guarding His Word concerning this land, and His intention to restore its people to the land, and to Himself.
Although the return of the Jews to their land began in serious a little over a century ago, the restoration of the land to the Jews really only took place with any sense of certainty 60 years ago.
And during these past 60 years the Jews have continued to come back to their land from literally the four corners of the earth even as, for 60 years, the forces of hell have been working to reverse and so thwart this process of restoration.
Despite the incessant battle for survival and the overwhelming international prejudice against the Jewish state, in May 2008 the Jews of Israel will be able to proclaim as they sing and dance once more on the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv: “Am Yisrael chai.” (“The nation of Israel lives.”)
And those of us who love Israel, who prefer Zion above our chief joy and who pray for the peace of Jerusalem, will sing and rejoice with them.