Christians joining in the celebration of Israel’s 75th anniversary
Author invites you to add your name, along with thousands of other supporters of Israel, to an historic birthday card that will be presented to Israel’s leaders
Israel will celebrate her 75th anniversary this year on May 14, a testament to the modern-day miracle that the nation embodies on the world’s stage. From the first time I visited Israel over 30 years ago, until now, I (like countless global leaders) have been continually amazed by the convergence of the old and the new, the ancient and the modern, the spiritual and the tangible that rests within her borders.
As has been the case from its inception in 1948, Israel lives under the constant threat against its existence from its avowed enemies in the nations surrounding the Holy Land. But as the people of Israel prepare to celebrate 75 years as a reborn nation, they do not celebrate alone.
Christian leaders from across the United States are joining their voices to call believers everywhere to offer a different story than the mainstream media typically paints about the nation of Israel. Rather than a narrative of accusation, it is a voice of appreciation and support.
Seventy-five years ago on May 14, 1948, as David Ben-Gurion declared the independence of the nation of Israel, a new hope was restored in the Middle East – which then immediately came under attack. In the ensuing War of Independence, the Six-Day War of 1967, the Yom Kippur War of 1973, the Gulf War of the early 1990’s, and through intifadas and countless attacks against the nation, Israel has miraculously prevailed.
Now, after three quarters of a century, Christians are awakening to the crucial role that the Jewish state plays in the current geopolitical context, as well as Israel’s courageous stance for freedom in the Middle East, and the vital connection between Christian believers and Israel in the unfolding of the biblical values that we hold dear in our faith communities.
As we approach Israel’s 75th birthday, here are five crucial reasons why Christian support of Israel is vital today, even more than ever before:
1. God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham.
Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel, received an enduring covenant promise from God in Genesis 12, 15, and 17 regarding his descendants and the land which God said He would give to them. Even through slavery in Egypt and in many trials, God said He would remember His promise to them.
2. God said He would gather Israel from the lands to which they were scattered.
Israel eventually turned away from God after coming into the Promised Land, and they were sent into exile. But a recurring message throughout the Old Testament is that God’s faithfulness would preserve and restore His people despite their failings. AND He said He would bring them back from exile, to the land He had given to them.
3. Israel’s return to the Land is a prophetic signpost in history.
The prophet Amos described a day when the people of Israel would return, never again to be uprooted from their land (9:15). Their return also would signal a time of fulfillment for the Gentiles (v. 12). Just as God had said to Abraham, all nations would be blessed through them.
4. Israel miraculously survived impossible battles.
The day after Israel’s statehood was declared on May 14, 1948, five Arab armies attacked the newly reborn nation. Not only did Israel miraculously survive this 5-pronged attack – in which she was vastly outnumbered – but she gained more land as a result. This was just the first of several defensive wars that Israel inexplicably won over the following decades, underscoring God’s hand in her history.
5. The Bible says the nations will come to Israel as well.
Isaiah 2:3 speaks of a time when the nations will say: “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord” (in Jerusalem). We are seeing this fulfilled right now through thousands upon thousands of people making their own pilgrimage to Israel – and your support for Israel is part of this amazing prophetic word coming to pass.
As we celebrate the miracle of Israel this year, we invite you to add your name, along with thousands of other supporters of Israel, to an historic birthday card that will be presented to Israel’s leaders a few days before May 14. To learn more and to become a part of this groundswell of support for the nation of Israel, visit www.israels75thbirthday.com.
[Editor's note: Israel celebrates its Independence Day according to the Hebrew calendar – on the 5th of the month of Iyyar, thus each year it falls on a different day according to the Gregorian calendar. This year the commemoration falls on Apr. 26.]
Bishop Robert Stearns is the founder and executive director of Eagles' Wings, a global movement of churches, ministries, and leaders.