The British began to remove their troops towards the end of April 1948. On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion, the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, announced the formation of the new state of Israel. He said,
“The Nazi Holocaust, which engulfed millions of Jews in Europe, proved anew the urgency of the reestablishment of the Jewish State, which would solve the problem of Jewish homelessness by opening the gates to all Jews and lifting the Jewish people to equality in the family of nations.”
Ben Gurion saw the horrors of the Holocaust as paving the way to the birth of a Jewish State, and he was not alone in making such a suggestion. Would the miracle of the recreation of Israel ever have happened without such an atrocity on a scale that we can still barely comprehend? These questions are impossible for earth-bound humanity to answer, but again, we see the closely bound bitter and sweet, almost too close for comfort.
And what was a day of astonishing joy for the Jewish people was also a day of sorrow and anguish for the Arabs who suddenly no longer owned the land they had been living in for generations. Again, joy and pain uncomfortably closely together. While we can rejoice in God’s fulfilled promises and a new start for Israel, we also know that this day is not an easy one for all of her inhabitants. God still cares deeply for all the peoples of this area and seeks to give them their blessing, hope and salvation. Many Arab Christians will struggle with celebrating this day, but there are numbers of Arab believers who truly rejoice in God’s physical restoration of Israel, and seek her spiritual restoration promised in the scripture. This too, is a miracle, and the handiwork of an awesome God.
For God had determined that he would regather his people and plant them back in the land he had chosen for them. And he promised that it would happen in one day flat:
“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. Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the LORD. “Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?” says your God. “Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn over her.” (Isaiah 66:8-10)
The Amplified Bible notes about this verse give this comment:
“Never in the history of the world had such a thing happened before–but God keeps His word. As definitely foretold here and in Ezekiel 37:21, 22, Israel became a recognized nation, actually “born in one day.”
After being away from their homeland for almost 2,000 years, the Jews were given a national homeland in Palestine by the Balfour Declaration in November 1917. In 1922, the League of Nations gave Great Britain the mandate over Palestine. On May 14, 1948, Great Britain withdrew her mandate, and immediately Israel was declared a sovereign state, and her growth and importance among nations became astonishing.”
Worth The Wait
“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false.
Though it lingers, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:3
The church fathers struggled to know how to interpret the numerous references to Israel after hundreds of years had gone by, and the nation of Israel was apparently no more. After the destruction of the temple, the Jewish people were scattered far and wide, and with every passing century it seemed less and less likely that the situation would, or could, ever change. How to make sense of those promises for this nation that seemed to have disappeared for good? The solution they landed upon was to claim all the references and promises should be transferred to the church. Israel had rejected the Messiah, so God had rejected them, and now the church must surely be the true Israel.
“I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means!”
Paul strongly rejects this way of thinking in Romans 11, but it’s easy to see why it did look like a forlorn situation. You and I have the privilege denied to millions of believers who have lived and died before us – we know that this prophecy has indeed finally come to pass. We can know that God’s promises to Israel still stand. God promised to regather the exiles from the four corners of the earth, and he promised to re-establish Israel. It just took an awfully long time. People gave up and got confused during the wait. What a great reminder this is for us to hold on to God’s promises and not give up! Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come.
On May 14th, 1948, Israel was ‘raised from the dead’ after 1900 years by declaring itself a nation. When Israel was to become a nation again, God had prophesied that the city of Jerusalem would become a major problem for the international community leading up to an invasion of Israel.
Zechariah 12:3 (NKJV)
“And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.”
The U.N. spends 40% of its time on what to do about Jerusalem. The Muslim nations are irate that Israel is in control of Jerusalem (and went ‘ballistic’ when the U.S. moved its embassy to Jerusalem officially recognizing it as the capital of Israel).
However, God had not ‘forgotten’ His promises to His people, and His prophecies for them and their land and in November of 1917 it began to be fulfilled with The Balfour Declaration.
The Balfour Declaration said that the British government (the most powerful nation in the world at that time) endorsed the establishment of a homeland in Palestine for the Jewish people. The Jewish people were very excited at the prospect of having a nation again in their ancient homeland.
However, the British government dragged its feet and in May of 1939 the British government altered its policy in a White Paper recommending a limit of 75,000 further Jewish immigrants to the land with a total end of Jewish immigration by 1944—unless the resident Palestinian Arabs of the region consented to further Jewish immigration (they had to know there was no way the Arabs living in the land would ever agree to that!).
Zionists condemned the new policy, accusing Britain of favoring the Arabs.
After that—the British Empire began to decline, and Britain went from superpower status to a relatively insignificant country. We see the same thing with Germany after its defeat in WWII and how it declined—which I and many other believe was because of the way it treated the Jewish people.
This was in fulfillment of the promise that God made to Abraham and his descendants in Genesis 12—
Genesis 12:3 (NKJV)
“I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion, the executive head of the Zionist Organization and president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared the establishment of the Jewish state—and the modern State of Israel was born!
The next day five Muslim nations attacked Israel in an effort to destroy the newborn Jewish State—these included Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon. The fact that Israel won this war, later called “The War of Liberation”, was an absolute miracle of God! (Google-“miracles associated with the War of Liberation”)
In April of 1949 the Israel-Transjordan Armistice Agreement was signed officially dividing control of Jerusalem between Israel and Jordan—the Jordanians occupied East Jerusalem, while the Jews maintained control over the West part of the city.
So, Jerusalem was still partially being controlled by Gentiles—but then came 1967 and the Six-Day War. In 1967, Israel, once again forced to fight overwhelming odds for its very survival, took on Egypt, Syria and Jordan in a short war that was fought from June 5th thru the 10th.
Israel won a decisive victory resulting in the capture of the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip, West Bank, Old City of Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. At this point Jerusalem was finally and firmly back under Jewish control for the first time in 1900 years! And yet—the Arabs living in Israel still call themselves Palestinians and claim it as their homeland.
As Jesus said, “When you see these things beginning to happen—look up for your redemption is getting close!” (Luke 21:28)