Sandy and I recently had the privilege to take two tour groups to the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem! It was opened on May 14, 2018. All 64 of us were extremely proud to actually see the building that represents the United States
... the true capital of Israel.
was very tight security with guards all around the building and patrols walking the perimeter of the property. And, rightfully so, since there is so much hatred among the radical Muslim world for the United States and for our new Jerusalem embassy. Nevertheless, among us 64 American tourists, there was only a sense of great pride and patriotism. Thank you Mr. Trump for doing what no other President had the guts to do!
As you probably know, May 14, 2018 was also the 70th birthday of the modern state of Israel. (She declared her independence on May 14, 1948.) And, for the last couple of years, I've had many people ask me if there is any prophetic significance to Israel turning 70 years old.
Let me preface my answer to that question by saying that I don't try to drive square pegs into round holes. It's wrong to try to force some "prophecy" from every world event or major happening in Israel. If we knew what God knows, then there's no doubt that we would see how every minute detail of happenings around the world is intricately fitting together to accomplish God's Master Plan. But unfortunately, this side of Heaven, we will not understand how all things are working towards God's ultimate purpose. But quite often, people will "make much ado about nothing", prophetically speaking.
However, with that being said, allow me to just share some information that MAY prove worthwhile as it relates to the prophetic significance of Israel's seventieth birthday.
Just as the number 7 represents "Completion; perfection", the number 70 represents "the total body or group". All 70 souls of Jacob's family went down into Egypt (Ex. 1:5)... 70 elders represented the whole nation of Israel (Ex. 24:1)... Jesus sent 70 of His followers out with the Gospel (the full contingent of what He thought necessary to do the job). The entire Sanhedrin court was made up of 70 men to
represent all the people (plus the High Priest made 71).
But there is also another meaning for the number 70. It can represent "a time of punishment or persecution, which is then followed by forgiveness, reconciliation, and blessing". For instance...
When David sinned by numbering the men of Israel, God sent a pestilence that killed 70 thousand men (punishment, 2 Sam. 24:15).
When Peter asked Jesus, "Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?" Jesus responded by saying, "I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy time seven." Jesus wasn't limiting forgiveness to 490 times, but here, the number 70 is associated with forgiveness.
God told Daniel that there would be another 70 weeks "determined" upon Daniel's people. Here, "weeks" actually means "sevens". Thus, it would be for 70 sevens , which, in context, is 490 years (Dan. 9:24). But why didn't He just say that He would deal with the Jews for another 490 years? Why did He say 70 sevens? Maybe God was telling us something with His use of the number 70 because then, He gave six reasons WHY He was going to do this. And, three of the six reasons He listed were to:
1. finish the transgression (complete their time of rebellion)
2. make reconciliation for iniquity (reconcile them to God), and
3. bring in everlasting righteousness (usher in an everlasting time of blessing).
There is yet one more thing to note about the meaning of the number 70... When the Jews were conquered by the Babylonians and carried away into slavery, Jeremiah had prophesied that the captivity would last 70 years (Jer. 25:9,11) and that's just how long it lasted. But why 70 years?
God had established the Law of Sabbatical Years saying that the Jews could plant and harvest their land for six years, but on the seventh year, the sabbatical year, they were to leave the land uncultivated (Lev. 25:1-7). And after leaving the land fallow for that year, the seven year cycle would begin again.
God also warned them that if they failed to observe this law, He would take them out of the land, allowing it to lay uncultivated for however many years they failed to observe the Sabbatical Year:
Lev. 26:33 - "And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.
34. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.
35. As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it."
But the Jews did NOT follow God's Law of Sabbatical Years. So, 2 Chron. 36:20 records how Nebuchadnezzar carried all the Jews whom he did not kill away to Babylon. And then, it says:
21. To fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfill threescore and ten years [70 years].
So, we see that the 70 years of captivity was based upon the Jews' failure to observe the previous 70 Sabbatical Years. For the previous 490 years (70 cycles of the Sabbatical Year), they had planted and harvested crops on the seventh year of the cycle just as they had the other six years! So God took them out of the land, causing it to lay fallow until He had regained the 70 sabbatical years that they had not given Him!
Here, we see that the number 70 represents a time of punishment, after which there was a time of blessing and reconciliation with God as they returned to Jerusalem to rebuild their Temple and the city walls. But, we also recognize the number 70's connection to the LAND of Israel.
Now, if we put all of this together, we can see that the number 70 represents:
1. ALL of Israel
2. Going through a time of persecution which will be followed by God's forgiveness, reconciliation, and blessing
3. When they're in the LAND.
At this point, you're probably saying, "Bro. Al, you're just manipulating the way "70" is used in the Bible to try to make the Scriptures say what you want it to say. You're doing the very thing that you said you do not do... driving a square peg in a round hole to make some prophecy where there is none."
Ok. I admit that ANYTIME we start "spiritualizing" the Scriptures, we tend to get out in left field, making the Bible say things that it doesn't really say. But whether you agree with me or not on the meaning of "70" in the Bible, there is NO DOUBT that numerology is a valid area of Bible study! Without question, God's use of certain numbers provides specific meanings and if we "rightly divide the word", we will recognize this and reap a deeper understanding of the Scriptures. (I strongly recommend Dr. Ed Vallowe's book, "Biblical Mathematics".) (1)
So now, addressing my original question, "Is there any prophetic significance to Israel turning 70 years old", I want you to notice some of the things that have happened in Israel's first 70 years. It has most definitely been a time of struggling for survival:
1. They HAVE returned to their land with their population rising from 872,700 in 1948 to 8,891,800 in 2018... over a 1000% increase! But,
2. Israel has had to fight eight wars, three "defensive operations" and deal with two intifadas, and countless acts of terrorism.
3. Israel has contended with constant aggression and condemnation from the international community, including 77 resolutions from the United Nations (1955-2013) while the Palestinians had only one in the same time period.
4. Israel has had to import almost all of her oil (about 99%).
5. After wars with the surrounding Arab nations, Israel has had relinquish control of territories won in those wars back to Egypt, Syria, and Lebanon.
This list could go on. There is no doubt that Israel has fought an uphill battle for survival in her first 70 years. But could 2018 (70th birthday) have been the turning point? Already, we've witnessed a lot of changes for the better for Israel in the last year or so.
1. Israel is enjoying record breaking tourism now.
2. The United States has moved its embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing it as Israel's true capital.
3. The United States has recognized the Golan Heights as part of Israel's sovereign territory.
4. Israel's economy is strong and growing stronger. According to Bloomberg Opinion, "Among t
he 36 developed economies that make up the Organisati
on for Economic Development and Cooperation, Israel is poised to climb to second-fastest growing in 2020..."(2)
5. Additional natural gas discoveries to the massive discoveries made in 2009 continue to boost Israel's gas reserves even higher, and
"has transformed the Jewish state from an energy-dependent country into an energy supplier, both domestically and abroad." (3)
The list could go on, but I think you get the idea. Israel is doing GREAT after 70 years of struggling. So, maybe the struggle is over and prosperity has taken its place. But remember! The Tribulation is approaching. And, Paul wrote:
1 Thess. 5:3 - "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." [the coming Tribulation?]
(1) Dr. Ed Vallowe, Biblical Mathematics (Ed F. Vallowe Evangelistic Association, PO Box 826, Forest Park, GA 30050)