David Reagan - Jewish Aliyah
The Hebrew word, Aliyah, means going up, and it is used in Israel to refer to a person going up to Jerusalem since that city is located on one of Israel’s high hills. The term is also used to refer to people immigrating to Israel. Thus a person moving from the United States to Israel would be referred to as making Aliyah. The 20th Century was the century of Aliyah for the Jewish people as they immigrated by the millions from nations all over the world back to their homeland in the Middle East. That Aliyah is still going on, and it is one of the great miracles of history. Stay tuned for the fascinating details and the relevance of this incredible migration to the soon return of Jesus.
David Reagan: Greetings in the name of Jesus, our Blessed Hope, and welcome to Christ in Prophecy. May 14, 1948 is one of the most miraculous days in history, for it was on that day that the nation of Israel was reborn. The event took place in the city of Tel Aviv in this building. And the Declaration of Independence was read in this small room by an Israeli leader named David Ben-Gurion. People laughed and scoffed when prophetic scholars predicted in the 1700 and 1800s that the nation of Israel would one day come back into being. After all, the Jews were literally scattered all over the world. But God’s Prophetic Word clearly stated that in the end times, right before the return of the Messiah, the Jews would be regathered back to their homeland, their nation would be re-established, and they would re-occupy the ancient capital city of Jerusalem. For the details about how all these amazing prophecies came to be fulfilled, stay tuned.
David Reagan: One of the greatest examples of God’s continuing love for the Jewish people can be found in what I consider to be the most important prophetic development of the 20th Century. When I think back on the 20th Century and all the amazing things that happened. I am reminded of the words of Habakkuk the prophet, “Look among the nations, observe.” This is God speaking to the prophet. “Look among the nations and observe, be astonished, wonder because I am doing something in your days you would not believe if you were told.” Those words are just as relevant as if they were written yesterday.
For 20 years before I entered the ministry in 1980 I taught International Law and Politics. And things are happening so rapidly today, and things that are so radical in nature that it is hard for me to keep up with them and analyze them even though I was trained to do so. Every day I think of this, “Look around him, look what’s happening, you wouldn’t believe David what happened if I had told you in advance.” The 20th Century was a momentous century, many, many great things happened. And looking back on that century I wonder what you would consider to be the most important development of the 20th Century from a biblical perspective? Particular from the viewpoint of Bible prophecy. What would it be? Would it be World War I and II? Would it be the Great Depression? What about the development of atomic power? The advent of space travel? The collapse of communism? The reunification of Europe? Or the resurgence of Islam? Well the answer from a biblical perspective is none of these events. None of them are the most important event of the 20th Century from a biblical perspective. The most important event in that century, more important than all of these put together was the worldwide regathering of the Jewish people to their homeland. And lest you think I’m exaggerating I want to prove it to you.
Before the children of Israel entered the Promised Land Moses warned them in no uncertain terms that they were to be faithful to God’s laws and he went over those laws so they would have them fresh in their mind. And he told them if they were not faithful to God’s laws that they would experience all sorts of remedial judgments ranging from crop failures to losses in war. And if those judgments were not sufficient to bring them to repentance He said then I will put upon you the greatest judgment of all and that will be the dispersion from your land. Deuteronomy 28:58, “If you are not careful to observe all the words of this law which are written in this book Yahweh will scatter you among all peoples from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth.”
This prophecy began to be fulfilled in 722 BC when the Northern Kingdom of Israel, which was a kingdom that was in rebellion against God from the moment it was found. The kingdom that never had one righteous king in its history. It began in 722 when God allowed the Assyrians to come in and conquer that land and scatter those ten tribes all across the Asian continent never to return. One-hundred and thirty-six years later in 586 BC the Lord used the Babylonians as His chastening rod when they conquered the Southern Kingdom of Judah and took the people into captivity.
Incidentally God never pours out His wrath without warning. When He gets ready to pour out His wrath He raises up prophetic voices to call people to repentance, and then He sends remedial judgments. And if people refuse to repent He will move them from judgment to destruction. He sent many prophets to Judah and called them to repentance. You remember what the people’s response was to Jeremiah? Their response was, “The Temple, the Temple, the Temple.” What did they mean by that? God will never touch us, His Shekinah Glory lives in the Temple. He would never allow anyone to conquer us.
Same attitude I find in America today. Prophetic voices all over this land as Bill Salus pointed out are crying out, “Repent, or perish. Repent or perish. Repent or God is going to destroy.” And American people are saying, “Oh, God would never touch us. He has used us to preach the Gospel all over the world.” I think that most American’s think that God sits on the throne draped in an American flag. But that’s not true He doesn’t get up every morning and say the Pledge of Allegiance. God is going to destroy this nation if we do not turn in repentance just as He did Judah. In His grace and mercy God allowed the Babylonian captives to return to their homeland 70 years later to rebuild their Temple. But their rebellion against God continued, they continued to be wrapped up in idolatry. And when they rejected His Son as their Messiah He allowed the Romans to come in and conquer Jerusalem and destroy their Temple in 70 AD.
By the beginning of the 20th Century the Jewish people were literally dispersed worldwide as no people had ever been. There were Jews on every continent of this planet. And there seemed to be no hope whatsoever that they would ever be brought back to their homeland. But there are many Bible prophecies concerning the regathering of the Jewish people in unbelief. In fact their regathering in unbelief is the most prolific prophecy in the Old Testament repeated over, and over, and over, there are so many of them. But let me just give you three of these prophecies that point out that in the end times God is going to regather the Jewish people in unbelief to their homeland.
Jeremiah 16 which Bill Salus mentioned today. It is an incredible prophecy, one that just blows the mind. It talks about the God who will remembered and honored by the Jewish people when all of history is over and done with what God will be remembered. Look at what it says, listen very carefully to these words. Jeremiah 16:14, “Therefore behold, things are coming declares Yahweh when it will no longer be said, ‘As Yahweh lives who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of the Egypt. But as Yahweh lives who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had vanished them. For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers.” Folks, as I said this is a mind blowing statement. Now, listen to it this way; every Jew whether orthodox, conservative, reformed, agnostic as their raised up the one story that all Jews know is the great story of their deliverance from Egyptian captivity. It is told to them over and over and over again. It is considered to be the greatest miracle in history. The Jews will always, you ask a Jew, “What is the greatest miracle of history?” “Deliverance from Egyptian captivity.” They don’t believe in the Resurrection which is a far greater miracle, but they believe in that deliverance from Egyptian captivity. And they will always talk about that as the greatest miracle in the history of the Jewish people. So that’s their viewpoint. And what is it saying here? It is saying that the one event the Passover when they put their blood on the door and the Angel passed over that the Passover and the deliverance from Egyptian captivity will one day be eclipsed. It will be eclipsed.
Think of the miracles that occurred when Moses lead them out of the Promise Land, one after another, after another, after another. The manna from Heaven, the dividing of the sea. It goes on and on, water out of a rock. But it says that at the end of history when all is done with the Jewish people they will look back on their history and they will consider their regathering from the four corners of the earth to be a greater miracle then their deliverance from Egyptian Captivity. Folks, that means that you and I are privileged to witness one of the greatest miracles of history. And yet the average Christian has no appreciation for this whatsoever because he has no idea the significance of it. He has not been taught anything about Bible prophecy. He knows nothing about the Jews in prophecy. And therefore the current regathering of the Jewish people is viewed as an accident of history. An accident when it is one of God’s greatest miracles.
The second prophecy I want to bring to your attention is found in Isaiah chapter 11 it speaks of a worldwide regathering of the Jewish people in the end times. Look at what it says, “It will come about in that day.” You know the book of Isaiah? You know every time in that book where he uses that phrase in that day, he is talking about the end times. He says, “It will come about in that day that the nations will resort to the root of Jesse who will stand as a signal for the peoples and His resting place will be glorious. And then it will happen on that day that Yahweh will again recover the second time,” the first time was from Babylon, “the second time with His hand the remnant of His people who remain from Assyria, and Egypt, Pathros, and Cush, Elam and Shinar, and Hammath and from the islands of the sea.” And then he says, “He will lift up a standard for the nations and will assemble the banished ones of Israel and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”
I don’t know how that could be any clearer, yet let me tell you something. Those who have an Amillennial viewpoint, and that is the majority viewpoint in the church both Protestant Churches and the Catholic Church believe in Amillennialism; they do not believe Jesus will ever return to this earth and reign. And those who believe in Amillennialism have tried to debunk that prophecy. They’ve tried to claim that it was fulfilled about 500 years before the time of Jesus by the return of people from Babylonian Captivity. But folks, look again at this prophecy it talks about a second regathering. The first regathering was from Babylon this is going to be a second regathering. And it was not a regathering from Babylon it names a whole bunch of places, and then it says, “From the islands of the sea.” That is a Hebrew colloquialism for the entire world. And we don’t have to guess at that look at the next verse where are they going to come from? “From the four corners of the earth.” That’s not Babylon. And furthermore look at what it says, it says it’s going be both Israel and Judah, the Northern Tribes and the Southern Tribes are all going to be regathered. The only ones who came back from Babylon were primarily those from Judah. This is not a prophecy that was fulfilled in the past. It is a prophecy that is being fulfilled before our very eyes today.
And before we leave this prophecy I want to point out something very interesting about it that maybe you’ve never noticed. You know what this didn’t occur to me until one day I had a tour group in Israel and we went to Caesarea Maritime right on the coast, and we had a devotional service in the theater there. And then I turned them lose to just wander around and take photographs. But I stayed there and I sat in that theater and I began to pray. And then I looked up and all along the coast of Israel were flagpoles that have the Israel flag on it. And right out there at the seacoast as I’m looking from the theater, the theater faces the seacoast I see this Israeli flag flapping in the air, and suddenly I got an insight I’d never had before. Look again at verse 10, “It will come about in that day that the nations will resort to the root of Jesse who will stand as a signal.” The root of Jesse will be a signal. It would be a signal that will be like a magnet that will draw the Jewish people back to the land of Israel. The root of Jesse, a signal. Do you know the Hebrew word there signal can be translated in many different ways? And in fact it is translated different ways in this passage. It can be translated signal, banner, pennant, standard, flag. So you can translate it a flag that is going to have the root of Jesse.
Who was the root of Jesse? David. David. Have you ever thought about that? Look at this flag. This flag is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. It is a flag that has the root of Jesse on it, the symbol of David. And it flaps in the breeze like a magnet that draws the Jewish people from the four corners of the earth. You know the Jews anywhere, anywhere you have–the Jews say this of themselves, anywhere you have two or three Jews you have at least five opinions. And they love to argue. And if you ever get to arguing with a Jew and you start agreeing with him he’ll change sides to keep the argument going. Well they had a knock down drag out argument over this flag as to what was going to be on the flag. Was it going to be the Star of David? Was it going to be the Lion of Judah? Was it going to be the Menorah? What was going to be on it? They finally decided that the Star of David would be on the flag of Israel. That the lion would be on the flag of Jerusalem. That the menorah would be the official symbol of Israel on all of its stationary and legal documents. But they didn’t need to have an argument God had already decided. All they needed to do was to read their Bible and find out what should be on their flag. I’m so amazed by these things that I find in Bible prophecy.
Let me show you a third prophecy about the return of Israel. The third prophecy I’d like to bring to your attention is found in Ezekiel 37. This is a prophecy that every one of you are familiar with I’m sure it’s the famous prophecy of the Valley of the Dry Bones. The prophet was placed in a valley of dry bones and told to preach to them. I’ve been there and I’ve done that. I’ve gotten up when I felt like I was speaking to the chosen frozen you know. But he started preaching and lo and behold as he started preaching all these bones started coming together. Thigh bone, to the hip bone and on and on, and then they stood up and they became alive, and he couldn’t figure out what in the world was going on. So God decided in His grace and mercy to give him an explanation of it. Look at this Ezekiel 37, “Then he said to me, ‘Son of man these bones are the whole house of Israel.’ Behold they say,’ Israel says, ‘Our bones are dried up, our hope is perished we are completely cut off. God has nothing more to do with us.’ But He says, ‘Therefore prophesy Ezekiel and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God behold I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people, and I will bring you into the land of Israel.”
This is a symbolic prophecy. He is talking about the fact that he Jews are going to be scattered all over the world and the day will come when God will open those graves, He will open those nations and He will allow the people to come back into their land. And I want you to notice something very important about this prophecy notice where He is going to bring them to. He is not going to bring them to Canaan. He is not going to bring them to Palestine. Where is He going to bring them? He is going to bring them to Israel. Israel the very name that they decided to give their state.
Now folks we can be assured of this interpretation because God Himself gives it. He gives this interpretation of the Valley of the Dry Bones prophecy. And here it is, “Say to them, ‘Thus sayeth Lord Yahweh, Behold I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land. And I will make them one nation in the land on the mountains of Israel, and one king will be king of them, and they will no longer be two nations and no longer divided into two kingdoms.” Again those who are determined to argue that God has no purpose left for the Jewish people attempt to invalidate these verses about end time prophecy by arguing that they were fulfilled when the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity. But that simply cannot be. The entire chapter has an end time context, it speaks of a regathering from the nations not from Babylon. Ezekiel 37:21, “Say to them, ‘Thus says Lord Yahweh, behold I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land.” This is not talking about some return from Babylon. It is talking about a worldwide regathering. It also says, “Say to them, ‘Thus says Yahweh God, behold I will take the stick of Joseph which is in the hand of Ephraim and the tribes of Israel his companions, and I will put them with it with the stick of Judah and make them one stick, that they may be one in my hand.'” This is a regathering of all the children of Israel not just those from Judah.
Now the fulfillment of these prophecies began in the late 19th Century through the efforts of this man a Hungarian Jew by the name of Theodor Herzl. He was an intellectual who was serving as a Vienna journalist, when he was assigned to go to Paris to cover the news of the Dreyfus Affair. I don’t know if you know what that means so let me just explain it to you quickly. Alfred Dreyfus was a Jew who was accused of treason in the French Army. Now folks, this man was just as innocent as he could be and everybody knew he was innocent. But they wanted to hang a Jew. So they decided to go after him and accuse him of treason. This accusation occurred in the midst of a tremendous movement of Anti-Semitism in France like what is going on this very day in France. And that tide of Anti-Semitism had been fueled by this man Edouard Drumont who had written a book entitled, “Jewish France.” That book was so popular it went through 150 printings before the end of the century. It was virulently Anti-Semitic, he attacked the Jews, he blamed them for every problem that existed in France and throughout all of Europe. And when the accusation of treason was levied against Dreyfus the popular press jumped on the bandwagon and decided to spotlight the case as proof of Drumont’s case against the Jews. They then proceeded to whip up the general public into a frenzy. And when Herzl went to Paris to cover the situation he was astonished by what he saw in the streets. This man was an intellectual he believed with all of his heart that the Jews had found their place in Europe, that the Jews had been assimilated, that the Jews had been accepted. And suddenly he goes to Paris the most sophisticated country on planet earth and he sees these erudite Frenchmen in the streets waving their fists in the air and shooting, “Death to the Jews. Death to the Jews. Death to the Jews.”
Well, Herzl experienced and epiphany in which he realized that the Jews had not be assimilated into European society and never would be. He sense an even a greater persecution coming, a holocaust coming and this realization prompted Herzl to write a brief political booklet called, “The Jewish State” which was published in 1896. In it he called for the return of the Jews to their homeland and the creation of their own state. He argued this would be the best cure for Anti-Semitism just to get them back in their own country. And the most famous sentence that he wrote in the book was this one, “If you will it, it is no dream.” In other words Jews all over the world stop dreaming about a homeland, and will a homeland and we will get one. The booklet captured the imagination of Jews all over the world. And they proceeded to the first Zionist Congress that was held in Basel, Switzerland in 1897. During that conference Herzl wrote in his diary that he expected the Jewish State to come into existence within 50 years, and that was a prophetic statement. Because exactly 50 years later in November of 1947 the United Nations voted to create the State of Israel.
Another result of Herzl’s call for a Jewish homeland was series of what the Jews called Aliyah’s; these were groups of Jews who decided to pullup stakes in Europe and move back to the land of Palestine as it was called then in order to pioneer the land and establish a strong Jewish presence. Aliyah as I explained yesterday in Hebrew means ascent, or ascension. It is used of these Jewish immigrants going back because they are viewed as going up to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a high point in Israel, they are going up to Jerusalem.
Another response I highly significant one came at the end of World War I when the British government decided to issue the Balfour Declaration in which they made a promise to make Palestine into a homeland for the Jewish people. The Ottoman Empire at that time controlled most of the Middle East and certainly controlled Palestine. What most Americans do not realize when we think of World War I we think of the Allies against the Germans. And what most Americans do not realize is the Germans had an ally and their ally was the Ottoman Empire. So that when Germany was defeated the Turks of the Ottoman Empire were defeated, and the allies in Europe took the Ottoman Empire and divided it up into little pieces and create all new states.
And the British received Palestine. And this is what Palestine looked like at that time. Palestine included all of modern day Israel, plus all of modern day Jordan. Jews all over the world went into celebration, I mean hysterical celebration at long last a major power in the world had set aside a piece of land, their homeland and they could go back to that homeland.
But in 1922 the British stabbed them in the back. In 1922 the British decided to give 75% of Palestine to the Arabs because oil was being discovered all over the Middle East and they could see the handwriting on the wall and they felt like the only way they could curry the favor of the Arabs and get some of that oil was to give 75% of Palestine to the Arabs. So they did and that created the state of Trans-Jordan, named that because it was trans, it was across the Jordan River. It wasn’t named Jordan until 1948. So the Jews lost a lot of the land that they felt like had been promised to them.
Well, the fact of the Declaration did not result in a lot of people going back. You would think that with the Declaration there would be a tremendous surge, there were some Aliyah’s but they were very small in nature. The vast majority of Jews had no interest in going back to their nation because they did not look forward to a life like this. They knew that they would be going back as pioneers and they would have to be cutting trees, they would have to be planting trees, they would have to be digging ditches, they would have to be draining swamps. They did not look forward to that and they did not go back in great numbers. So, World War I produced the land for the Jews. But the land did not receive the Jews until the end of World War II and the Holocaust. The Jews came out of the Holocaust saying, “Never again! Never again! Never again! We are going to have our own land. We are going to have our own state. We are going to have our own constitution. We are going to rule ourselves.” And they began to flood back into Israel. World War I provided the land, World War II provided the motivation.
David Reagan: Folks, what you have just viewed is a little less than half of the presentation that I made about the Aliyah of the Jewish people. The entire presentation runs 50 minutes, and in a moment our announcer will tell you how you can get a copy of all of it. Well, that’s our program for today. I hope it has been a blessing to you, and I hope you will be back with us next week when I talk about the Aliyah the Bible prophesies for Christians. Yes, for Christians! Until then, this is Dave Reagan speaking for Lamb & Lion Ministries, saying: “Look up, be watchful, for our Redemption is drawing near.”