What is the Significance of Israel’s Newest Holiday?

As Passover comes to a close, I want to connect the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian captivity to a current movement in Israel.  Though the Knesset has yet to pass a bill making it an official Jewish holiday, many Israelis celebrated Yom HaAliyah (Day of Aliyah) on Nisan 10.  (Jewish days begin at sundown, thus Nisan 10 began the evening of April 17 this year.)  But is it Biblical, and does it have spiritual significance to us as Christians?  The answer to both is “yes!”

According to Jewish history, it is believed that on Nisan 10 of the year 2488 (1273 BC), the Israelites made the first mass aliyah (Jewish immigration to the land of Israel) when Joshua led them through the parted waters of the Jordan River to the Promised Land.  We know it today as the Exodus from Egypt.

Though that event is perhaps the most profound in Israel’s ancient history, consider the prophetic implications in the prophet Jeremiah’s writings:

 “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.’ For I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their fathers.
~Jeremiah 16:14-15

Jeremiah indicates that the first aliyah (God bringing the people out of Egypt) will be nothing compared to the aliyah of those “out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.”  As you know, Jews were scattered literally all over the world following the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and since that time millions have made aliyah back to their homeland!

For example, over 600,000 Jews returned from Arab lands after Israel declared independence and became a state once again in 1948.  “Lost Jews” of Ethiopia, including 14,000 who returned in secrecy in only one weekend in 1991, have returned.  Over 1 million Russian Jews returned following the crumbling of the Soviet Union in 1989.  Ironically, it is estimated that roughly 3 million Jews returned from captivity in Egypt, and Israel has now welcomed over 3 million Jews in the modern day aliyah (since 1948) from the “four corners of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:12)  Jews have come home from over 150 different countries.

Yet, it is the first aliyah, the focus of Passover…the deliverance from Egyptian captivity…that is most revered in Jewish history?  Could it be that attention today is being turned toward a greater aliyah, as Jeremiah prophesied?  I believe so!

Come back tomorrow for a look at the prophetic significance to us as believers!

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