How special is it that Israel is commemorating its 70th anniversary as truly the only nation in the world essentially resurrected from the dead after nearly 2,000 years?
It’s so special that Israel will observe this momentous event on two separate dates this year – today, April 18, and again next month, May 14. That’s one of the peculiarities of a nation that observes two calendars – one based on the Bible and the other based on the world’s system.
I’ve been fascinated with Israel as both a student of the Bible and a former Middle East correspondent who has spent an enormous amount of time there over the last 40 years. Because of that experience, I initiated what appears to be the only documentary movie to be made about this historical and spiritual occasion – “70 YEARS: Israel’s Prophetic Past, Present the Future,” just released on DVD and digital download.
My approach to this project as producer and writer in collaboration with two amazing partners – George Escobar, the director and editor and vice president of WND Films, and Jonathan Bernis, the gifted author of so many books and the vision behind the messianic television ministry Jewish Voice – first was to recognize that Israel is simply not like any other nation in the world, or even any other people group with a long history of tragedy, peace, persecution and statelessness.
Rather, it occurred to me, Israel is actually evidence of a unique and mysterious Divine script written at the dawn of Creation that reveals the destiny of every person who has ever lived on planet Earth.
How’s that for a broad stroke?
It’s a miraculous story of the only people who returned from the four corners of the Earth after a dispersion of nearly two millennia.
As I say in the movie: “It’s not just the narrative of the Jewish people; it’s the backdrop of the greatest story ever told – one that actually explains why we’re all here, the fate of our world, even the secret of eternal life.”
I don’t think that’s an exaggeration.
Why is Israel unique? What makes it so special?
It’s worth revisiting what the great American writer Mark Twain wrote in an 1899 article called “Concerning the Jews.”
“The Jews constitute but 1 percent of the human race. … Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. … The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out. … The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies. … All things are mortal, but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”
Twain was addressing not merely the survival of the Jewish people, for he wrote these words nearly a half-century before the state of Israel would be seemingly resurrected from the dead in 1948 – 70 years ago. But, from his secular view of the world, Twain observed the Jewish people, the nation of Israel, was characterized by immortality, transcendence, timelessness, permanence.
That’s quite an observation. Was he right? Is that a self-evident fact?
See the film’s trailer:
Indeed, the secret of the Jew’s immortality is that almighty God has chosen, blessed and set him apart for a special purpose. It was through the Jewish people that the Jewish Messiah came into the world. And it is to Israel that He, Jesus, or Yeshua, as He was known to His own people, will return to restore this world to the glory and perfection of the Garden of Eden.
No other nation was conceived like Israel – in a unique covenant between one man and the God of all Creation.
No other nation was born like Israel – in the spiritual labor pains of hundreds of years of captivity and slavery in a foreign land.
No other nation witnessed a miracle-filled 40-year odyssey through the desert, led by God, fed by God, hearing His thunderous voice, getting His instructions and receiving His commandments etched in stone tablets.
No other nation was directed by God to return to its land with borders surveyed and defined by the Creator.
No other nation was judged unworthy and punished with captivity in another foreign land for 70 years before being returned for a second chance.
No other nation received the Redeemer of the world but didn’t recognize Him – only to be scattered throughout the world, yet, at the same time spreading God’s revelations to the four corners of the earth.
And, certainly, no other nation remained scattered for more than 1,800 years, only to return to the land again, as prophesied, reborn in a day to await another chance to welcome its Messiah.
Today, just as the prophets wrote, Israel’s deserts are blooming, but few recognize that God’s hand is still at work while the regathered Jewish state remains the world’s center of controversy.
I invite you personally to explore these concepts by watching “70 YEARS: Israel’s Prophetic Past, Present and Future” – a future, by the way, that will see Israel emerge as the glorious center of a renewed and restored world, according to all the culminating prophecies of the Bible.