“..it shall no more be said, ‘The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.'” Jer 16:14-15
The Netanyahu government is receiving broad political support for a proposed new national holiday celebrating ‘aliyah’ or Jewish immigration to the land of Israel. The motion is expected to be passed into law in coming months, and would set aside the 10th of Nissan to honor the crucial role of aliyah both in the re-birth and in the ongoing strengthening of the nation of Israel.
The 10th of Nissan was chosen as many Rabbis believe it marks the date the ancient Israelites first entered the Promised Land under the courageous leadership of Joshua. While this is interesting, I believe that establishing the holiday on this particular day also has a significant connection to Bible prophecy.
2600 years ago, the prophet Jeremiah predicted that a day would come when the original Exodus from Egypt would be overshadowed by a far greater Exodus ‘from the land of the north and from all the lands’ (Jer 16:14-16). It is therefore very interesting to note that this new annual celebration of the modern day return of the Jewish people falls four days prior to Passover on the Jewish calendar. Is the stage being set for a celebration of a greater Exodus that will literally overshadow Passover celebrations?
The Miraculous Modern Day Exodus
National Aliyah day will be a time for the nation of Israel to retell the many miraculous and touching stories of their modern day ingathering. Their modern day Exodus includes the desperate stories of Jews returning en-masse out of the ashes of the holocaust, only to find themselves in the midst of another war of survival upon arrival in Israel.
The story of aliyah continues with the dramatic return of over 600’000 Jews from Arab lands to the struggling and virtually bankrupt nation of Israel in the late 1940’s. While being advised to slow down the flood of Jews arriving in Israel, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion doggedly refused to turn back any Jew that wished to return despite the growing financial burden on the young nation.
The modern Exodus goes on to the story of the dramatic return of the long lost Jews of Ethiopia, with 14000 being whisked home in hurried secrecy during one weekend in 1991. In addition, one could not fail to mention the story of the Soviet Jews being refused permission to leave for decades. The dramatic crumbling of the Soviet bloc in 1989 was seen as a direct answer to the persistent prayers of many Jews and Christians that this modern day Pharoah would ‘let my people go’.
Today there are over one million Jews from Russia living in Israel, and Russian is one of the three official languages of the new-born state. Many Christians were assisting the return from Russia, and in so doing found themselves literally fulfilling the words of Isaiah by carrying the Jews on their shoulders on the way back to Israel (Is. 49:22).
It is interesting to note that the original Exodus from Egypt involved around 3 million Jews returning to Israel – and the modern day return likewise has featured just over 3 million Jews, this time returning from the ‘four corners of the world’ (over 150 nations) to the reborn and regathered nation of Israel.
Yet, despite all this, the story of the modern day Exodus is presently far from overshadowing the annual celebration of the Passover miracle. A further and even more dramatic return of worldwide Jewry would be required for this to take place.
What could set the stage for this greater exodus?
Could a further return of the Jews from Russia be the greater exodus that was foretold? In the 1970’s and 80’s many Christians across Europe independently reported seeing visions of destitute Jews fleeing Russia and many prepared safe houses and provisions for the expected flood of Jewish refugees.
While this was partially fulfilled in the early 1990’s, perhaps it is still waiting a future fulfillment? Some safe houses and preparations remain in place, especially in Finland. Under the leadership of the Finnish Exodus Committee, Finland has an active network of 25’000 Christians ready to assist Jews leaving Russia in an emergency.
While Russia certainly is located due north of Israel, the prophecy of Jeremiah also talks about the worldwide regathering of the Jewish community. What about the return of the world’s largest diaspora Jewish community in the US?
Today there are around 6 million Jews living in the US. In 2014, only 0.06% of them made aliyah to Israel, and the prosperous and stable lifestyle in America means that very few would consider making the change. But is there a change in the air?
In early 2016, two respected Jewish leaders (Rabbi Ari Abramowitz and Mrs. Lori Palatnik) – not at all known for being ‘doom and gloom prophets’ -released widely watched videos uncharacteristically begging the Jews of America to see the writing on the wall and return to Israel.
Their message has had a lukewarm reception among American Jews, but Rabbi Ari reports that his message has resonated with many American Christians who see the potential dangers facing the Jewish community in their midst.
The early months of 2016 have also seen the veteran Christian aliyah ministry ‘Ebenezer Operation Exodus’ – traditionally known for assisting Soviet Jews in their return to Israel – opening an office in the heart of Brooklyn, New York to assist the Jews of America. They have also started an active campaign in the US to educate the churches about God’s call to the Gentiles to assist in bringing the Jewish people home ‘on their shoulders’ (Is. 49:22).
Could it be that the time is coming when God will call His people home from America – and that this return combined with the already large-scale ingathering that has taken place – will tip the scales marking it as the greater exodus that Jeremiah foretold?
It is positive that Israel is seeking to have a national celebration remembering their modern day return to the Promised Land. Seeing how God has preserved the Jewish people and brought them back from the four corners of the world is a story that can build the faith of both Jews and Gentiles in the God of the Bible.
At the same time, we look forward to the day when Jeremiah’s words will be completely fulfilled, with this latter day Exodus even superceding the former Exodus. Then we will surely join the Jewish people in saying ‘The Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them”