The Ingathering

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“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; 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 hook or by crook. With anti-Semitism spiralling 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, and are packing 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.

There have always been Jewish people living in Israel, and several waves of Jewish immigrants arrived long before 1948, buying property and working the land. And the waves of immigration continue to pour in now that Israel has become an independent state.

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.

The conflicts with Gaza have unleashed such international fury that the line between criticism of the Jewish state and hatred of the Jewish people became rapidly blurred and then, in many cases, just vanished altogether. Now that we are seeing young Jewish men and women beaten on the streets of Canada, a dentist refusing to treat Jews in Belgium, synagogues sieged in France and firebombed in Germany, British supermarkets clearing Kosher foods off their shelves, swastikas appearing 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 refuge in the Jewish State – the one place on earth they can call home.

The centre of Jewish gravity has finally moved from America to Israel, which now houses the largest population of Jewish people in the world.

The people of Israel have been exiled out in the nations for some 2000 years, surviving great pressure to give up their identity, even when it cost them all they had. Now back in the land, God promises that Israel will remain a people for as long as the sun and moon are in the sky (Jeremiah 31:34-36). On the eve of Rosh Hashanah 2021, the Jewish new year, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported that Israel’s population exceeded 9.3 million, an increase of 146,000 from the previous year. This brings us to a total of 9,391,000 people living in the Jewish state, more than 6.94 million of them (74%) being Jewish, along with over 1.98 million Arabs (21%), and another 466,000 people of other ethnic groups (5%).

Each year, tens of thousands of Jews make aliyah (immigrate to Israel) and even despite the challenges of Covid, almost 20,000 new immigrants arrived in 2020 which was a drop of over 40% from the previous year.1 According to the Jewish Agency, some 8.2 million Jews still live out in the nations, mostly in the USA, which is home to around 6 million. But it is interesting and significant that for the first time since the early church, the number of Jewish people in Israel how exceeds that in any other country, with almost 7 million Jews (45.3% of world Jewry) according to research compiled by Prof. Sergio Della Pergola of Hebrew University in Jerusalem.2

This regathering is a “signal” or a “banner to the nations” (Isaiah 11:11-12, Isaiah 49:22-23) that Jesus is on His way since the return of the Jewish people to the Promised Land is a prerequisite for the return of the Messiah.

Jesus Himself told us that he would not return until His people welcomed Him from Jerusalem in Matthew 23:39 – “For I tell you, you will never see Me again until you say, ‘Baruch ha-ba b’shem Adonai. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”. This event of mass Jewish alyiah as a sign for the nations is repeated in Jeremiah 23:3-6, Ezekiel 37:21-28, and Micah 2:12-13, 4:6-7. We are so privileged to live in these days and to witness these events!

Go up!

Over three million Jewish people have left their homes and emigrated to Israel since 1948 3, a move which is known as “making aliyah”. Biblically, moving to Israel or ascending to Jerusalem is referred to as “going up” and leaving is “going down”; the word aliyah means “going up” or ascending. And the number of Europeans making this move will also be markedly ascending in the wake of vitriolic and violent outbreaks of anti-Semitism, the likes of which we have not seen since the rise of the Third Reich. It is quite staggering how quickly the world has forgotten its history. But the people of Israel have vowed never to forget, and are packing up and boarding airplanes back to the land of their fathers.
I heard a rabbi once speculate about this verse in Isaiah, as possibly describing the method of transport by which God will do this – first by ship, and then “flying like a cloud”:

“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 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 commonly considered to be symbolic of the restoration of Israel after the Holocaust.

However, there is another dimension to this story: the physical resurrection of the return to the Land must 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 presents this order of events; first the physical regathering, then the spiritual renewal:

Stage one: “I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land.” (verse 24)

Stage two: “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!”

  1. Times of Israel, Israel’s population rises to over 9.3 million on Rosh Hashanah eve, 5 September 2021.
  2. According to the Jewish Agency, there are 25.3 million Jews worldwide when looking at those eligible to get citizenship under Israel’s Law of Return, which requires at least one Jewish grandparent.
  3. Jewish virtual library
    More on the flight of Jewish people from Europe:
    Newsweek: “Exodus: Why Europe’s Jews are Fleeing Once Again”
    The Times of Israel: “Dear World…”
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ONE FOR ISRAEL is an initiative of native-born Israelis on the forefront of high-tech media evangelism, proclaiming salvation to Israel, raising up spiritual leaders through ONE FOR ISRAEL’s Bible College and equipping them with the tools they need to transform our communities.
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