Israel at 60, Liberated Jerusalem at 40 — What Holly Thinks

The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel was approved by the Jewish People Council on May 14, 1948, at the Tel Aviv Museum.

Israel launched a celebration of its 60th Independence Day, Wednesday night, with fireworks, entertainment and the singing of the national anthem. Read more here. Israel’s re-emergence as a nation in 1948 — after nearly 2,000 years of non-existence — was widely seen by Jews and Christians as the fulfillment of ancient Bible prophecies (see, for example, Amos 9:14-15).

Interestingly, this celebration marks not only 60 years as a nation for Israel, but also 40 years since Israel recaptured East Jerusalem — the site of the Temple Mount. Read more here. Many Christians believe Jesus taught that the generation that is alive when Israel is restored as a nation will be the same generation to see Christ’s return (Matthew 24:32-34). Some also point to a popular belief that a biblical generation is 40 years.

I don’t think Jesus’ words referred to an exact 40-year time span. I tend to see them as a more general prophecy that most of those people alive when the end-times signs start to occur will still be alive at His return. After all, the length of generations varied in the Bible, and the average life span today is much more than 40 years.

But it’s still an interesting thought — to start counting from 1967, not 1948, when Israel recaptured its holiest site. With the news coming out of Europe and the Middle East, perhaps Christ’s return could be close to a 40-year generation after all. For example, see this article in the European Jewish Press, Wednesday, which states that EU-Israel relations have never been warmer, thanks in large part to Israel’s participation in the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). To learn more about the possible prophetic signifiance of the ENP, read our Overview.

Those who are interested can see the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel here.

— Holly Pivec
5/7/08