Monday, April 28, 2014

The Regathering of the Jewish People: Motivation to Return

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

One of the greatest examples of God's continuing love for the Jewish people can be found in the most important prophetic development of this age — the regathering of the Jewish people back into the land of Israel per Jeremiah 16:14-15; Isaiah 11:11-12 and Ezekiel 37.


The Motivation to Return

During Theodore Herzl's time, there was no great surge of Jews who returned to their homeland. The prospect of being a pioneer in the midst of a wilderness was not appealing enough to draw the Jews back home, despite the rising anti-Semitism they were experiencing.

World War I provided the land for the Jewish nation, but it would take World War II and the Holocaust to provide the motivation to return to the land.

Survivors of the Buchenwald Death Camp

The Jewish people came out of the Holocaust proclaiming, "Never again! Never again! We are going to have our own land and our own state, and we are going to govern ourselves!"

Death Camp Escapees in 1944

In 1900 there were only 40,000 Jews in all of Palestine. By the end of World War II that number had ballooned to over 600,000.9


Major Surges of Immigration

The next great surges of immigration resulted from the 1956 Suez War and the 1967 Six Day War. After the Suez War, Egypt expelled almost all of its Jewish population. Following the Six Day War, the rest of the Arab world followed suit. As a result of these expulsions, almost 800,000 Jews were forcibly expelled from the Arab nations in the Middle East. In 1948 there were 851,000 Jews in the Arab nations of the Middle East. Thirty years later, in 1978, there were only 31,000 left.10

But the world's largest Jewish population was unable to return to their homeland because they were held captive in the Soviet Union. The Russians hated the Jews, but they used them as whipping boys — blaming them for all their nation's problems.

Immigrant Camp in 1949

Nonetheless, there was a biblical prophecy that one day the Jews of Russia would be allowed to return to their homeland. It is found in Isaiah 43. The prophet quotes God as saying:

4) "Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you...

5) Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, And gather you from the west.

6) "I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' And to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the ends of the earth...

Notice that this prophecy says the Jews will come freely from the east and the west, but the world will have to demand that those in the north be released. All directions in the Bible are given from Jerusalem. The uttermost part of the north would be the nation of Russia today. Note also that the prophecy says that the world will have to say to the south, "Do not hold them back." We will see in a moment what that refers to.

But first, let's take a look at the north. In fulfillment of this prophecy, as the Soviet Russian empire began to crumble in the early 1990s, the world began to demand that the Russian Jews be allowed to return to Israel. And in 1990, the Russian premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, suddenly opened the door of the Soviet Union.

The result was a flood of refugees into Israel. During the next two years, almost 400,000 Russian Jews arrived in Israel, averaging over 16,600 a month.11 It was equivalent to the United States today absorbing the entire 27 million population of Saudi Arabia during the same time period.

Amazingly, the refugees came knowing:

  • They would have to abandon all valuables.
  • They would face the necessity of learning Hebrew.
  • They would have to live in minimal housing.
  • They would face military service.
  • They would find a non-existent job market.
  • They would have to pay some of the highest taxes in the world.
  • They would face the constant threat of terrorism and war.

They were fully aware of these stark realities because all of them had relatives living in Israel.

Yet, despite all these hardships, they came. Why? I believe they came, and are still coming, because God has placed in the hearts of the Jewish people the highway to Zion, and He has triggered the impulse for them to return home. Consider Psalm 84:5 — "How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion!"


In the fourth segment of our series on the prophetic fulfillment of the regathering of the Jewish people, we'll be amazed by the logistics of Operation Solomon.


Notes

9) Jewish Virtual Library, "Demographics of Israel: Population of Israel/ Palestine (1553 - Present), www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/demograhics.html

10) Jewish Virtual Library, "Fact Sheet: Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries, www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/talking/jewrefugees.htm.

11) Jewish Virtual Library, "Immigration to Israel: Total Immigration, from Former Soviet Union (1948 - Present), www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Immigration/FSU.html.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is it just a desire for a Nation of Israel or a desire for The Lord in a Nation of Israel? This desire is odd to me because worship of The Lord can happen anywhere. The Lord is for all people. This desire The Lord has put in their hearts seems like ' nationalism' so where is the desire for true God? Not debating just asking because it seems against what God wants and that is to come to Jesus and that can be done anywhere and that is for our eternal salvation not just survival of a people.???

Billy said...

Anon,

Not answering for L&L but myself...

I think right now it is a desire for a nation (mostly for self preservation). The desire for God will come after Israel is saved from the Russia attack and they are supernaturally saved. But the desire for Jesus won't come for the Jews until the end of the Tribulation and He is their only hope.

Anonymous said...

Billy, thank you for your response. That makes sense to me and being one nation supernaturally saved will bring them all to call Him Lord. god Bless!

Anonymous said...

God Bless!

Nathan Jones said...

Billy, I couldn't have said that better myself! :)

Carla said...

Seems the world is very close to the prophecy wars. The hook God puts in the mouth of the ones who come against Israel is soon to be taken. This is a time to pray as much as possible for all people to come to Jesus Christ now. The time is short. The bible says the generation who sees these things will not pass..... Well we know the rest of the story.

Billy said...

Nathan,

Thanks. It's good to know I sometimes get it right...and the credit for that is thanks to the excellent learning tools I get from Lamb & Lion.

God bless to you and Anon, too.