The Year of Our Lord (Anno Domini) 1517 is an interesting year. There are at least three events that pertain to Israel and Bible prophecy that occurred in that year.
The first, and most obscure, event during 1517 was the changing of the Hebrew calendar by Jewish sages. For many centuries the Jews counted their calendar from the reign of the Seleucid dynasty in 312 B.C. This system was known as the Minyan Shtarot. In 1517 the Jewish calendar system was changed to counting the years of creation, or Anno Mundi (year of the world).
According to most Bible scholars we have recently passed the 6,000 year mark in the history of the world. And yet the Hebrew calendar states that this year, 2011, is the year 5771. Assuming that the year 2000 was the six thousandth year, then the Hebrew calendar is roughly 240 years off. Dr. J. R. Church speculates that the revision of the Hebrew calendar was to cause the prophecy of Danielís Seventy Weeks (Daniel 9:24-27) to indicate the arrival of the Messiah at the time of Bar Kochba, who many thought was the Messiah. Bar Kochba was killed in 135 A.D.
Much more interesting is the capture of the Holy Land by the Ottoman Empire in 1517. The Ottomans still controlled Jerusalem until 1917, 400 years later, when they were driven out by the British. In addition, the 400 years of the Ottomanís control represents eight 50-Year (Old Testament) Jubilees. During a Jubilee Year all land was returned to its original owner. In this case the Jews got their land back from the Ottomans. Since eight is the number of new beginnings, 1917 represents a new beginning for Israel.
Even more fascinating (to me) is the third event that took place in 1517. On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany. This document was the beginning of the Reformation. It was the announcement of the reforming, or rebuilding, of the church. The prophecy of Danielís Seventy Weeks began at the command to rebuild Jerusalem. (Daniel 9:25) The rebuilding of Jerusalem is a foreshadow of the rebuilding of New Jerusalem, or the Church as a result of Martin Lutherís 95 theses. The Church, also known as the Bride of Christ, is in fact described as New Jerusalem in the Revelation 21:2 and 9-10.
There were three unique events that occurred in 1517. When we get to Glory, then we will understand what they meant, whether separately or collectively. Come, Lord Jesus! May His name be praised forever!