Israel Independence Day 2017: Relative time in Jerusalem

“These bones are the people of Israel. They say: Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off. Therefore prophesy and say to them…I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.” – Ezekiel 39:11-14*

It seems ages ago that in 1776 the founders of America signed the Declaration that would create a new kind of nation in this world, and further back yet that the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth to found that early American colony in 1620. And still longer ago that Columbus sailed around the globe to find the New World in 1492.  It all seems like ancient history.

But today, in 2017, I walk along the walls of the city of Jerusalem and look upon the “new” walls of the Old City, erected by Suleiman the Great in 1541, nearly two and a half centuries before the Declaration of Independence.  Beneath those new walls lie the remnants of the older walls constructed by Herod the Great (along with the still-intact Western Wall) before the time of Jesus in the 1st century, and destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. And beneath those stones lay the remnants of the walls built by King Hezekiah in the 8th century BC, and even those remaining from the building of King Solomon of the first temple in the mid-10th century BC. Now in the excavations of the City of David are found the chambers and artifacts of King David, Solomon’s father, from the early 10th century BC.

Found also in the dig are the remnants of the Jebusites who dwelled here at the time of Joshua’s entering the Land of Canaan around the 13th century BC. And here in the center of the Old City is the Temple Mount, the place where Abraham took his son Isaac back around 1900 BC, where the first and second temples of Israel stood, and currently occupied by an Islamic mosque since their invasion in the 7th century AD. That is nearly 4000 years of history in this ancient city of Jerusalem, the city from which came forth the Bible, which changed human consciousness forever.

On top of all that now stands a living phenomenon unknown to any part of human history. Unexpected by most of the world’s religions and nations, the remnant of the exiled and scattered Jewish people have returned to the very city from which they were exiled nearly 2000 years ago. Now the rubble and filth have been exchanged for a vibrant city of advanced modernity to blend with its ancient structures and history, just as was foretold by the Biblical prophets. By no small “coincidence” a 2000 year-old scroll was discovered just as the nation of Israel rose to be once again an important nation among nations. In 1947, a Bedouin shepherd discovered in a Dead Sea cave the entire scroll of the Prophet Isaiah, a scroll predicting that return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, a scroll that may now be viewed in the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

The scroll reads thus: “Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth.” – Isaiah 43:5-6

In the 1967 Six-Day War, reminiscent of the six days of creation, Jerusalem was delivered once again to the hands of the Jewish people. Shortly after that deliverance was discovered this text carved long ago into the ancient Herodian stones of the Western Wall: “When your eyes see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like grass; for the hand of the LORD shall be known to His servants, and His fury to His enemies.” – Isaiah 66:14

And: “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. Shall I bring to the point of birth and not give delivery? says the LORD. Or shall I who gives delivery shut the womb?”says your God.” – Isaiah 8-9

That day was May 14th, 1948, the rebirth of the nation of Israel, not so very long ago at all.

atzemot – bones
atzmaut – independence