“For I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their fathers. “Behold, I am sending for many fishers, declares the Lord, and they shall catch them. And afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the clefts of the rocks.”” (Jeremiah 16:15-16)
The miracles of God’s promises to Israel continue to unfold, even the good, the bad and the ugly. In very many places the Scriptures prepare us for the fact that God was planning to bring His people back to His land by one way or another. With anti-Semitism escalating out of all control around the world, many Jewish people are now deciding that they would be safer in war-torn Israel under the protection of the IDF than they are in Europe. They are packing up their bags to escape while they still can. They are being hunted and hounded back to the land given to their fathers, just as the Bible said.
“Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when it shall no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt’,but ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ (Jeremiah 16:14)
The regathering of God’s people to their land is one of the most frequently predicted prophecies in the Bible. Jewish people living there long before 1948, buying property and working the land, and the many waves of immigration continue to pour in. In Isaiah 11:11, God promised to stretch out His hand to regather Israel from the four corners of the earth “a second time” (the first time being from the lands of the Babylonian exile). We know from Hosea 3:4-5 that it would occur in the last days, and Amos 9:15 tells us that they will never be uprooted again. Sorry about that, Hamas.
The war in Gaza brought down such international fury that the difference between criticism of the Jewish state and hatred of the Jewish people became a blur, and now that blur has all but vanished. Now we are seeing young Jewish men and women beaten on the streets of Canada, a dentist refusing to treat Jews in Belgium, synagogues destroyed in France and fire-bombed in Germany, British supermarkets clearing Kosher foods off their shelves, swastikas popping up in America and a trend on twitter insisting that Hitler was right all along, Jewish people are considering leaving the smashed windows of their Western businesses, and taking safe-harbor in the Jewish State. Israel is the one and only place on earth they can call home.
There are approximately 14 million Jewish people in the world today, and make up only around 0.2% of the world population. The center of Jewish life has finally moved from America back to Israel which now has the largest population of Jewish people in the world. Just over 8 million people now live in Israel in total; three quarters of them are Jewish and the other quarter are Arab or other nationalities. Israel has one of the highest standards of living when it comes to education, life expectancy, safety for minorities, and economic prosperity, in the Middle East.
Over three million Jewish people have left their homes and emigrated to Israel since 1948, a move which the call “making aliya”. Biblically, moving to Israel or ascending to Jerusalem is referred to as “going up” and leaving is “going down”, and the word aliya means “going up” or ascending. The number of Europeans making this move will with the new outbreaks of anti-Semitism, the kind which we have not seen since the rise Hitler. It is quite staggering how quickly the world has forgotten its history. But the people of Israel have vowed never to forget, and they are packing up and boarding airplanes back to the land of their fathers.
El Al Airlines, Israel’s own, is the predominant transportation back “home”. These verses in Isaiah seem to speak of this.
“Who are these that fly like a cloud, and like doves to their windows? For the coastlands shall hope for me, the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your children from afar, their silver and gold with them, for the name of the Lord your God and for the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 60:8-9
We see this same image again in Hosea:
“When he roars, his children shall come trembling from the west; they shall come trembling like birds from Egypt, and like doves from the land of Assyria, and I will return them to their homes, declares the Lord.” Hosea 11:10-11
The parable of the Dry Bones in Ezekiel 37 is normally thought to be symbolic of the restoration of Israel after the Holocaust, but there is another part to this story. The physical resurrection of the return to the Land has to take place before the Spirit of God breathes new life into the people, so that they return to their God. The previous chapter, Ezekiel 36, also shows us this order of events. There is first the physical regathering of the people, and then their spiritual renewal:
The first step: “I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land.” (verse 24)
The second step: “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (verses 25-26)
God is faithful to all His promises, and to His covenant people Israel. As we watch with sadness the events shaking the world, we know that our sovereign God is still in control. He continues to work out His plans and purposes, drawing all things to Himself. There will be a time, just as Yeshua predicted, when the Jewish people will call out from the land of Israel to welcome their Messiah, “Baruch ha ba be shem Adonai! – Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Something to think about on this beautiful Fall Friday morning.
Shalom, until tomorrow, Lord willing,