“Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving…Who covers the heavens with clouds, who provides rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains!” (Psalm 147:7-8)
The slopes of Mount Zion (below), after the recent rains, are finally greening! Thank you for joining with us in prayers for rain. It fell again last night, and more is forecast for later this week!
Wednesday is Rosh Hodesh Shevat, the beginning of the 11th month in the Hebrew calendar. This month is mentioned by name in Zechariah 1:7, after which the prophet is told by an angel to proclaim:
Thus says the LORD of Hosts,
“I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and ZION…I will return to Jerusalem with compassion; My house will be built in it and a measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem…My cities will again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort ZION and again choose Jerusalem…For I will be a wall of fire around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.”
Below is an article we have just contributed for the Spring issue of the Polish Christian family magazine, Nasze Inspiracje. It regards a very significant anniversary which will take place in Israel this year. We believe this anniversary will indeed be of significance to all nations. Please pray grace for alertness to apprehend what the Lord will reveal to all of us about what He is doing during this important season!
Shalom! We have moved into a very special year in our land. This spring Israel will celebrate her 70th anniversary! On the 14th of May, 1948, a miracle occurred! The Hebrew people, who had for centuries been scattered throughout the world, were now, as foretold by their prophets, gathered back into their ancient land of promise. Their language had been restored. And on that afternoon in a hall in Tel Aviv, David Ben Gurion read in Hebrew the “Scroll of the Establishment of a State”—(“Declaration of Independence”), which included these words, “ [We do] HEREBY DECLARE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A JEWISH STATE IN ERETZ-ISRAEL, TO BE KNOWN AS THE STATE OF ISRAEL.” That evening at midnight, after over 2500 years, a nation under the sovereignty of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob once more came into being!
In the year 1948, May 14th fell on the 4th day of the 2nd month in the Hebrew calendar, the month of Iiyar. Since then, “Independence Day,” as with other festivals in Israel, has always been celebrated according to the Hebrew Calendar rather than the Gregorian. This means that this year the 4th of Iiyar falls on April 19th, which is when the primary celebrations will take place. But there will certainly be others as well on the 14th of May! In fact, there is a sense here that because it is the 70th anniversary, this entire year has something incredibly important about it! This anticipation is not only in Israel! This year Israel is expecting more tourists from the nations than ever before. Already, many hotels are finding themselves overbooked throughout the year!
Why is this 70th year so important? Why do so many people sense there to be something very significant about the number “70”? We certainly cannot explain all the reasons! But we would point out that the numbers “7” and “70” turn up at very significant times in the Hebrew Bible. Often, the number “7” in Scripture appears to signify “completion” or “fulfillment”. And 70? It is recorded in the Book of Genesis (46:27) that the number of sons of the house of Jacob (Israel) who came down to Egypt in the days of Joseph was seventy (Four-hundred years later, they would depart a mighty nation). In the early days after the Exodus, God met with “70 elders of the people” (Exodus 24:9). Is “70” a number related to beginnings and leadership which will expand? In the Book of Daniel (Chapter 9:24), there is a mysterious prophecy of “seventy weeks” for the Hebrew people and Jerusalem, which is related to “finishing transgression, making an end of sin, making atonement and bringing in righteousness.” In 605 BC, Daniel was among the captives of the southern kingdom of Judah when they were exiled to Babylon. 70 years later, they were released from captivity and allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild their Temple. Might the completion of this first 70 years of modern Israel signal a time for release, of a new freedom in the area of worship?
The last paragraph of Israel’s Declaration of Independence, signed 70 years ago this year, begins this way, “Placing our trust in the Rock of Israel, we affix our signatures to this proclamation…” This concept of Israel trusting in God as her Rock is very ancient. In the Book of Deuteronomy (Chapter 32), she was given a song in which over six times God is referred to as her “Rock”—her source of strength, anointing, salvation and protection. In many of the Psalms (18:2, 31, 47: 19:15) King David declares the LORD to be his Rock—his Deliverer, and Redeemer. As Israel wandered in the desert before entering Canaan, the LORD provided water for His people out of a rock (Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:8). In the New Covenant Scriptures, Rav Sha’ul (Paul), a First Century Messianic Jewish teacher, reveals that the Children of Israel had actually been strengthened during their wanderings in the desert by a spiritual rock which followed them—and that rock was their Messiah! (I Corinthians 10:4).
This brings me to a wonderful thing which has occurred during these first seventy years of our nation. Many, many Jews in Israel are awakening to the identity of their Messiah. Today there are tens of thousands of Messianic Jews living in Israel (a Messianic Jew is one who has come to believe that Yeshua/Jesus is the Jewish Messiah and Savior. Today, moving in the authority of their Messiah, Jews are rising into areas of influence within Israeli society—government, military, education, the arts. And in the schools, believing Israeli children are learning to pray for each other, and to share their faith with their schoolmates.
One thing more about “70”! In Hebrew there is a numbering system made up of Hebrew letters. The letter signifying “70” is ayin. Besides the number 70, ayin is also the Hebrew word for “eye”. As we move through this “ayin” year, may the “eyes” of many Israelis be opened to recognize and trust in their Messiah, Yeshua—the true Rock of Israel, mentioned in their Declaration of Independence seventy years ago this year!