History was made just days ago on May 14 when the United States officially opened its embassy in Jerusalem after being formerly located in Tel Aviv. The move was in accordance with a proclamation signed by President Trump last December 6 that stated the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. As festivities began on May 13, the eve of Israel’s 70th birthday, Jerusalem Day was also celebrated in remembrance of the reunification of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War.
To the joy and admiration of Israelis and those Americans who support his effort, President Trump kept his word. This was not like his predecessors. Past US presidents including Bill Clinton and George W. Bush stated their intentions to move the embassy but didn’t keep their word once they were took office in the White House. The main reason given for failing to move the embassy during their terms was out of fear that peace negotiations might be hampered. But President Trump decided to move ahead anyway and the timing couldn’t have been better.
The unprecedented move came at the same time Israel celebrated its 70 years of independence as a nation. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined in the momentous day by tying history with President Trump’s decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem. According to the Jerusalem Post (5/14/18),
Sixty-nine years after Israel declared Jerusalem as its capital, and 23 years after the US Congress passed a law mandating that Washington move its embassy there, the US formally opened its embassy in the city on Monday afternoon, in a move Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called “courageous” and “momentous.”
“What a glorious day. Remember this moment!” Netanyahu entreated the applauding crowd. “President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history. All of us are deeply moved. All of us are deeply grateful.”
For many Christians, the move not only has historical importance but could have prophetic meaning, as well. When Israel gained independence on May 14, 1948, it is believed that a prophecy, recorded by Isaiah the prophet over 2600 years ago, was fulfilled. After 2,000 years of its destruction, the new State of Israel was born. The Prophet Isaiah wrote,
Before she [Israel] travailed, she brought forth; Before her pain came, she gave birth to a boy. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born [travailed with] in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once? As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons,” (Isaiah 66:7-8, New American Standard Version, NASB).
In this passage, the woman who is giving birth symbolizes Israel and the land God has promised since the time of Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; 15:17-21; 17:1-8). On the day of Israel’s independence, President Harry Truman issued a statement that The United States recognized Israel as a sovereign state. Just prior to this, Britain’s control of the land ended when a United Nation’s mandate expired. Not more than 24 hours had elapsed when Israel’s independence was recognized. As the prophet wrote, the nation of Israel was brought forth at once, the land was born in a day, and many sons [children] came forth to live in the land once again as the scripture says.
It’s relevant to note that the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem comes exactly 70 years from the time Israel was born as a sovereign state. The number 70 could indicate a turning point of something special in regard to prophecy. In the Bible, important events transpired with the number 70. Jews believe it has sacred meaning for it is comprised of seven which is said to be God’s number of perfection and ten which is God’s number of completeness, for example, through his Ten Commandments. Thus, 7 times 10 indicate complete perfection in power and judgment.
So, there are numerous references to 70—for example, the 70 elders Moses appointed to accompany him for a meal on Mount Sinai where the law was given (Numbers 11:16; Exodus 24:9-11). Israel spent 70 years in Babylonian captivity because it disobeyed God’s laws as predicted (Jeremiah 29:10). The people were to keep 70 years of Sabbaths during Judah’s captivity in Babylon (Jer. 25:11). And Daniel 9:24 prophesied seventy sevens or 490 years determined upon Jerusalem when the transgressions would be fulfilled, sins ended, and everlasting righteousness to prevail. We are still in the process of this prophecy to be completed. Also, we could add the 70 elders that made up the Sanhedrin dating back to the establishment of the law (Exodus 24:1; Num. 11:16). And we are also reminded of the 70 disciples sent out by Christ in Luke 10. Jesus is also said to have given at least 70 parables in his many discourses during his earthly ministry. (BibleStudy.org)
In view of the sacred number 70, we can’t ignore the fact that Israel is celebrating three historical events—Jerusalem Day, its 70th birthday and the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem —simultaneously. In fact, we wonder, could we be turning a momentous corner that leads to the signs pointing us closer than we’ve ever been to Jesus’ return?
In regard to Israel, and more specifically, Jerusalem, Jesus said that when “these things” begin to take place, know that his coming is drawing nigh (Luke 21:28). In Luke 21 and Matthew 24, Jesus presents the Parable of the Fig Tree which is in reference to Israel’s budding forth as a nation. “These things,” therefore, are the timely events that will take place during Israel’s existence as a nation. This includes a perilous time among the nations amidst the talks of “peace and security,” (1 Thessalonians 5:3-7).
We note that in the process of arriving at a “peace deal,” the nations will all have a huge interest in peace between Israel and her neighbors. Some might find this hard to believe seeing that on the day the US embassy moved to Jerusalem, the terrorist organization, Hamas, was stirring up riots along the border of Gaza. They claimed to be protesting the move of the embassy to Jerusalem. But sources have reported that Hamas was using the occasion to create sympathy by sending women and children to the front lines of fighting. More than 60 Palestinians were reportedly killed. It is also reported that at least 50 of those who were killed by Israeli soldiers were alleged to be members of Hamas, and many were paid terrorists.
Even while this bloody scene took place, other nations were said to be interested in following the US in moving their embassies to Jerusalem, too. Just two days after the US made it’s move, Guatemala joined in the move. More countries are interested in moving their embassies to Jerusalem including Paraguay, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Honduras. It looks like the US started something that will enable Jerusalem to gain more and more attention in the world. Could it be why Jerusalem is spelled, J-e-r-U-S-A-l-e-m? One ponders, will the USA have much more to do with prophecy being fulfilled in JerUSAlem?
If other nations follow suit, this would bring more focus upon Jerusalem and the role it will play as an “international city” in the last days before Jesus comes. According to prophecy, “all nations will be gathered together in Jerusalem” before the great and final battle takes place and just when Jesus appears from heaven to save Israel and the world (Joel 3:1-3; Zechariah 14:1-8; Revelation 16:13-16). The more the nations invest in Israel with Jerusalem as the officially recognized capital, the more they will be attracted to the benefits they will receive for investing in the blessing of God and his people (Gen. 12:2-3).
Indeed, the recent events concerning the US embassy in Jerusalem and the 70th birthday of Israel are awesome and breathtaking as we eagerly anticipate the return of the Lord. We are compelled to be ready as we see the signs taking place before our very eyes. In view of these events, let us keep our eyes on the prize promised to all those who are prepared for that wonderful Day.
As we reflect upon the recent news in Israel, here is the Israeli National Anthem, Hatikvah: http://youtu.be/1DPqNHkm1bM
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