And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up the ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.Isaiah 11:11-12
We are posting a number of e-letters Make Sure Ministries has received from David Henke, founder of Watchman Fellowship, Inc., an apologetics ministry, on a variety of subjects. They will post on Tuesdays into the foreseeable future. As always, we appreciate your comments. Please consider clicking on the link following this blog to learn more about Watchman Fellowship and what they have to offer. E-letters have been slightly edited for clarity.
God gathers His people “the second time.” The first time God gathered His people He brought them back from Babylon. Calling His people out of Egypt was not an exile. God sent them there for their survival and growth. This “second” re-gathering requires a second exile which began in 135 AD when the Romans removed the Jews from their land and scattered them among many nations.
This modern regathering began with the Zionist movement in the late 19th century. Theodore Herzl planted the thought in the mind of Jews worldwide of a return to the Jewish homeland. His book Der Judenstaat, or The Jewish State, caught the Jewish imagination, and immigrants began, slowly at first, to trickle into Palestine.
Since the 1870s Jews had begun to return to the Promised Land. This “return” is called Aliyah, or Going Up, and there have been a number of waves of immigration since then. In 1905 Russian Jews fled the pogroms of the Czar.
In the years following the First World War, Jews returned because of the Balfour Declaration calling for a Jewish homeland.
Then again after the Second World War Jews fled Europe because of the Holocaust.
In the post nationhood era there was a mass Aliyah of Ethiopian Jews, then Russian Jews when the Soviet Union collapsed.
Now people are turning up as being Jewish in some very unexpected places. In India there are a people group called the Menashe who have practiced Jewish traditions for 2500 years. Menashe sounds like Manasseh. In China the same kind of people group lived in the area of Kaifeng. Both groups have begun the process of making Aliyah.
The so-called “Lost Tribes” of Israel were never really lost. When the nation of Israel was divided between the ten idolatrous northern tribes and the faithful two southern tribes, those faithful Jews in the northern tribes migrated south so they could practice their faith (2 Chronicles 19, 30, 34-35). It was the apostate members of the northern tribes that were carried away by the Assyrians. All the tribes of Israel are mentioned again in Scripture after the Assyrian deportation. It is now possible to use DNA to test for Jewish ancestry and the so-called “lost tribes” of Israel are reporting in.
In his book Herzl said:
The Jewish question persists wherever Jews live in appreciable numbers. Wherever it does not exist, it is brought in together with Jewish immigrants. We are naturally drawn into those places where we are not persecuted, and our appearance there gives rise to persecution. This is the case, and will inevitably be so, everywhere, even in highly civilised countries—see, for instance, France—so long as the Jewish question is not solved on the political level. The unfortunate Jews are now carrying the seeds of anti-Semitism into England; they have already introduced it into America.Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State) by Theodor Herzl
Herzl’s point about the rise of a Jewish population in a country also giving rise to persecution was brought home in the Holocaust. That trauma demonstrated to the whole world the need for a Jewish homeland. If Satan is the god of this world, then God’s people, the Jews, will be an irritant wherever they go. But, like the grain of sand in an oyster God will perfect His pearl through irritation.
One of the prophesied events related to Israel’s return in the last days is the resurrection of the Hebrew language:
For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.Zephaniah 3:9
Hebrew was only used by Jews in sacred observances much like the Catholics use Latin.
Beginning in the late 19th century, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda began the task of bringing Hebrew into the modern age and normal usage. Today there are three spoken languages in Israel: Hebrew, Arabic and English.
Another “resurrection” from ancient times is the shekel. Today the shekel is the currency of Israel. One shekel is roughly 25 cents.
Before statehood Israel was largely barren and unpopulated. Mark Twain commented on this in his book Innocents Abroad. One of the reasons for this is that the Ottoman Empire placed a tax on trees. This led to a lot of deforestation, and with that erosion, leaving the land void of fertile soil.
I remember as a child seeing the slides from Israel that Dr. Paul Bauman, a professor at LeTourneau College, would show after returning from visits to Israel. He would show an old black and white photo of land in Israel that was completely desert. Then he would show the same land since statehood. This was in the early 60’s and the land was already responding to efforts to make it productive. Today Israel is a major supplier of citrus and flowers to Europe and elsewhere. The nation is able to supply all of its food needs with just a small percent of imports. This modern status of Israel was prophesied in Isaiah 27, 35, and 51.
He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.Isaiah 27:6
Doug Hershey has published a book that presents photos of pre-1948 Israel next to photos of current Israel, and, taken from the same vantage point as the original photo. It is a great before and after illustration of prophecy fulfilled. The book is titled Israel Rising: The Land of Israel Reawakens. It is a coffee table book and an excellent conversation starter. You can find it Amazon.
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