Welcome back friends! God’s Word is amazing because every word is true! We’re looking specifically at God’s promise that Israel will return to the land. That must have been a weird concept in the days of the prophets when Israel had not yet left the land. However, history confirms the Bible’s accuracy because the Jews were driven from their land twice, and twice have returned! (First, in Babylonian exile, and secondly in Roman conquest.)
As we discussed yesterday in Part 1, Bible prophecy tells us that Israel must be back in her land in order for fulfillment of end time prophecy. Furthermore, God promised to bring His people back home, and He did so twice!
But what about today?
Take a moment to read Isaiah 43:5-7. From what direction(s) did God promise to bring His people? Has that happened?
The Hebrew word used to indicate the return of the Jews to their homeland is aliyah, meaning “going up.” One always “goes up” to Jerusalem, as it sits on a hill! Thus, worshipers went up to worship. Today, when Jews return, they “make aliyah.” And it is happening in droves!
To provide some context, it is believed by most Bible scholars that around 3 million Israelites wandered through the wilderness with Moses, en route to the Promised Land. Later, during a census in King David’s day, records seem to indicate the population could have been around 5 million! But, when Jews were exiled to Babylon, it is estimated that perhaps less than 50,000 returned.
The population grew, but during the Roman conquest of 70 AD, historians such as Josephus record that as many as 1.1 million Jews were killed in the battle and tens of thousands were sold into slavery, leaving a mere 600,000 or so who were dispersed around the world. (Those numbers are disputed by some, but you get the idea…the population was severely decreased!)
Jews began returning to the land, then called Palestine, in the late-1800’s. Many had assimilated in other countries, some had converted religiously, and it became difficult to number them. But 1,700 years or so provided ample time for re-population of the Jewish people. By the turn of the century, there were an estimated 11 million+ Jews around the world, the vast majority (~9 million) inhabited Europe.
But then, the Holocaust occurred, wiping out over 6 million Jews, primarily in Europe. Thus, when Israel became a nation in 1948, they were severely out-numbered by Arabs. The population of Israel was roughly 1.9 million, only 32% of whom were Jews.
Israel was not an easy place to make a life, but the Hebrew people were finally back in their land and they began to make the most of what they had. Certainly, at that point, far more Jews still remained in other countries than in Israel. It wasn’t until the early-2000’s that Israel’s Jewish population surpassed that of New York City (the largest population of Jews outside Israel). Today, there are almost 7 million Jews in Israel!
You might be surprised at where the Jewish immigrants are from…and where they are not from! According to Jewish Virtual Library stats of 2018, a total of almost 1.8 million Jews have made aliyah. (That number has topped 2 million now. I just don’t know what the official number is.) The vast majority (>70%) are from Russia! But, they also come from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.
However, by percentage, American Jews have immigrated far less than most. America was the “land of opportunity” in which Jews came (particularly after the Holocaust), made a good living for themselves and supported the homeland financially. Until recently, lifestyle has made the desire to make aliyah difficult. Life has been good in America.
But, that is changing. Antisemitism has reached levels never before seen in the United States, and New York City is becoming much less hospitable to Jewish people. Couple that with the fact that many (though not all) Jews have stumbled headlong into the liberal left (partially because, at the root, they “fight for the underdog,” so view social issues from a liberal perspective), and you discover that Jews are becoming pawns in the hands of liberal agenda-setters.
Isaiah 43:5-7, which hopefully you read above, tells us God will bring the Jewish people from the north (including Russia!), south (including Ethiopians migrating in large numbers right now), east (including Asians who have made aliyah), and west (Europe and America). Roughly 90% of Jews outside Israel today are in the west, and about 75-80% of those are in America. Could it be that God is shaking Jews from their European and American roots right now?
Not only is Antisemitism rising dramatically, think about this: of the 7 million or so Jews in Israel, only 300 died of COVID-19. By contrast, 10,000 Jews have died from C-19 in Europe and the US. Hosea 11:10 says that God will roar like a lion and His sons will come trembling from the west. Are we hearing that roar? Is God trying to get the attention of His people, and call them home? Is it time to return to Zion?
My friends, it seems like it! And, if you are Jewish, please know I love you and, as far as I’m concerned, you are welcome in America. Yet, my heart is for your blessing! The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is calling His own to Him! America may no longer be the safe, secure place for you as we see God begin to remove His hand of blessing from our country.
For my Christian friends, these are Biblical signs of the times in which we live. Our Savior, Jesus Christ is coming soon to save us from the wrath that is to come.
For both Jews and Gentiles who don’t know Yeshua/Jesus, listen up! Today is the day of salvation. What do you have to lose in finding out more about Him? Meanwhile, you have everything to lose by not doing so. Therefore, I ask you, please seek Him. He will save you!
We’ll finish our series of Return to Zion: Is it Time? tomorrow, so join us then!