Proclaim it in all the world ... He who scattered Israel will gather them
~ Jeremiah 31:10
There has never been anything to compare with the history of Israel. The Jews are unique. They were scattered to every country in the world and, in our day, they are being regathered to the Promised Land. And (this is remarkable) thousands of years ago the Bible predicted these events.
God warned Israel when He imposed the Law:
“Disobey and I will scatter you.”
“After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time – if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God and provoking Him to anger, I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed. The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the Lord will drive you.”
... they did not believe His promise ... and did not obey the Lord. So He swore to them with uplifted hand that He would ... scatter them throughout the lands.
See also Leviticus 26:14-33 and Deuteronomy 28:58-67
But if you will not listen to Me and carry out all these commands, and if you reject My decrees and abhor My laws and fail to carry out all My commands and so violate My covenant, then I will do this to you: I will bring upon you sudden terror, wasting diseases and fever that will destroy your sight and drain away your life. You will plant seed in vain, because your enemies will eat it. I will set My face against you so that you will be defeated by your enemies; those who hate you will rule over you, and you will flee even when no one is pursuing you.
If after all this you will not listen to Me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over. I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze. Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, nor will the trees of the land yield their fruit.
If you remain hostile toward Me and refuse to listen to Me, I will multiply your afflictions seven times over, as your sins deserve. I will send wild animals against you, and they will rob you of your children, destroy your cattle and make you so few in number that your roads will be deserted.
If in spite of these things you do not accept My correction but continue to be hostile toward Me, I Myself will be hostile toward you and will afflict you for your sins seven times over. And I will bring the sword upon you to avenge the breaking of the covenant. When you withdraw into your cities, I will send a plague among you, and you will be given into enemy hands. When I cut off your supply of bread, ten women will be able to bake your bread in one oven, and they will dole out the bread by weight. You will eat, but you will not be satisfied.
If in spite of this you still do not listen to Me but continue to be hostile toward Me, then in My anger I will be hostile toward you, and I Myself will punish you for your sins seven times over. You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters. I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars and pile your dead bodies on the lifeless forms of your idols, and I will abhor you. I will turn your cities into ruins and lay waste your sanctuaries, and I will take no delight in the pleasing aroma of your offerings. I will lay waste the land, so that your enemies who live there will be appalled. I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out My sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins.×
“If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name – the Lord your God – the Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses. He will bring upon you all the diseases of Egypt that you dreaded, and they will cling to you. The Lord will also bring on you every kind of sickness and disaster not recorded in this Book of the Law, until you are destroyed. You who were as numerous as the stars in the sky will be left but few in number, because you did not obey the Lord your God.
Just as it pleased the Lord to make you prosper and increase in number, so it will please Him to ruin and destroy you. You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess. Then the Lord will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods – gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life. In the morning you will say, “If only it were evening!” and in the evening, “If only it were morning!” – because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see.×
Israel did disobey and God did scatter them
This is how it happened:
- ca 1460 BCThe Exodus from Egypt and the giving of the Law
The warnings were followed by promises. God would scatter Israel, but God would regather the people in the future.
Over the following hundreds of years the nation failed to live up to the Law. God sent prophets to warn them but they continued to fail.
- 727 BCThe Assyrians conquered Naphtali and the Israelite tribes east of the Jordan River.
The scattering of the Jewish people began.
- 722 BCThe Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom of Israel.
The survivors of the ten tribes of Israel were exiled.
- 586 BCThe Babylonians conquered the southern kingdom of Judah
The Jews went into exile.
- 539 BCThe Persians conquered Babylon
They allowed tens of thousands of Jews to return to Israel under Ezra. The Temple was rebuilt in Jerusalem. Most Jews remained in exile in Babylon.
- 70 ADThe Romans destroyed Jerusalem during the First Jewish Revolt
The Second Temple was destroyed. Many Jews fled the land.
- 135 ADThe Bar Kochba revolt
The Jews rebelled a second time. The Romans desolated Israel. The Jews were banished from Jerusalem. Hardly any remained in the land.
However, God had promised that He would bring the Israelites back to the Promised Land in the future
...if they will confess their sins and the sins of their fathers – their treachery against Me and their hostility toward Me, which made Me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies ” then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, I will remember My covenant with Jacob and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. For the land will be deserted by them and will enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them. They will pay for their sins because they rejected My laws and abhorred My decrees. Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them or abhor them so as to destroy them completely, breaking My covenant with them. I am the Lord their God. But for their sake I will remember the covenant with their ancestors whom I brought out of Egypt in the sight of the nations to be their God. I am the Lord.”
“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you look for Him with all your heart and with all your soul.
When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey Him. For the Lord your God is a merciful God; He will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which He confirmed to them by oath.”
“Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. 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 ...”
See also Hosea 3:4-5; Amos 9:14-15; Isaiah 54:7;
and Jeremiah 30:3; Ezekiel 37:21; Zechariah 8:7-8
For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones ... Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to His blessings in the last days.
“I will bring back My exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the Lord your God.
“For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back.”×
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will bring My people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their forefathers to possess,” says the Lord.
This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.”
This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I will save My people from the countries of the east and the west. I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be My people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.”×
God is regathering Israel – as He promised
- 1881Pogroms in Russia
Jewish communities in Russia were attacked. It prompted a trickle of migration of Jews from eastern Europe to the Promised Land.
- 1888Start of the First Aliyah
Jews from eastern Europe began to move to the Promised Land in significant numbers. (Aliyah is a Hebrew word that means ‘going up’ and is used to describe Jews returning to the land of Israel.)
- 1895The Dreyfus Affair in France
A scandal involving a Jewish officer in the French army brought out anti-Semitism in Europe. This stirred Theodor Herzl to promote the cause of a Jewish State.
- 1904Start of the Second Aliyah
A second wave of Jews, mainly from Russia and Poland, returned to the Promised Land. Persecutions drove them there.
- 1920Start of the Third Aliyah
A third wave of Jews, mainly from Russia, returned to the land. They came as impoverished refugees.
- 1924-1932Fourth Aliyah
The fourth wave of Jews to return were mainly from Poland.
- 1939-1945World War II – the Holocaust
Six million Jews perished in the Nazi death camps. After the War tens of thousands of Jewish survivors headed for the Holy Land.
- 1948The State of Israel was proclaimed
The State of Israel was proclaimed by David Ben Gurion on 14 May [Isaiah 66:8]
The next day Israel was invaded by five Arab armies. The first Arab-Israeli war began.
Arrival of 120,000 Jewish immigrants, in spite of the war.
- 1948-1952Mass migration of Jews
With the formation of the State, large numbers of Jews migrated to Israel from Europe and Arab countries.
- 1970Start of mass migration of Jews from the USSR
Tens of thousands of Jews took the opportunity to leave but Russia quickly closed the door.
- 1989The collapse of Communism in the USSR and Eastern Europe
The door opened a second time for Jews to leave for Israel. One million made aliyah in the next 10 years. They came as economic refugees.
- 1991The Gulf War
Jewish migrants from around the world continued to arrive even as Iraq launched scud missiles at Israel.
- Israel rescued Jews from Ethiopia
In a 36-hour airlift called ‘Operation Solomon’ 14,300 black Jews from Ethiopia were brought to Israel.
- 1993-2015Israel staggers through an on-again off-again peace process with the Palestinians
While the USA, the EU and the UN press Israel to give up land for a Palestinian state, efforts to reach this peace accord are continuously derailed by hostilities, including waves of suicide bombings. Throughout this time the economy of Israel grows, as does its military, and there is a steady stream of migrants to the land from all the nations of the world.
The miracle is illustrated by the growth in the Jewish population of Israel:
Year Jewish population of Israel 1880 24,000 1914 90,000 1931 174,000 1939 450,000 1948 650,000 1950 1,200,000 1958 1,800,000 1992 4,250,000 2000 5,150,000 2006 5,314,000 2009 5,661,000 2012 5,978,600 2015 6,251,000
Increased anti-Semitism in Europe stirred Theodor Herzl to promote the cause of a Jewish State.
“Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labour than she gives birth to her children.”×
An open-minded observer of Israel’s history would have to acknowledge the reality of God’s hand on the Jewish people.
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