the improbable resurrection of Israel (part 2)

the improbable resurrection of Israel (part 2)

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." (Zechariah 8:7,8).


Next year in Jerusalem!


So goes the common, centuries-old Jewish proclamation concluding the Passover seder.


And increasingly, more Jews are celebrating Passover – and other Jewish holy days – as residents of the Holy Land.


In 2023, Jewish migrants numbering 45,000 participated in the ingathering of exiles.


Over 75% originated from Russia, the Ukraine, and Belarus.


Whereas the recent conflict with Hamas has curtailed immigration in the last quarter of the year, some Jews moved back to Israel for the explicit purpose of engaging the conflict by joining the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).


Israel routinely absorbs more immigrants per capita than any nation in the world.


Even so, Israel remains a small country both by land mass and by total population. The nation’s present number of citizens is 9.8 million with Jews making up approximately 73%, Arab-Israelis at 21%, with other ethnicities totalling the remaining 6%.


And yet amazingly, surprisingly, incredibly the Zionist trend continues.


Zionism is the Hebrew ideology of a Jewish homeland and nation.


For students of the Bible, this is a compelling and profound evidence that the God of Scripture continues to actualize His plan for the nations and for the Chosen People.


Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the LORD your God will gather you and bring you back. He will bring you to the land that belonged to your fathers (Deuteronomy 30:4,5).


David Ben-Gurion was the modern state of Israel’s first Prime Minister. “In Israel,” he famously proclaimed, “in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles”.


When compared to any other culture, it is astonishing that the Jewish people have retained their ethnic identity, specifically because they were without a homeland for over 19 centuries.


Sociologists observe that when a homeland is lost – or left behind – ethnic distinctives of any people-group are lost within 5 generations, and often much sooner. 


But, the Jews continued to maintain strong intra-marriage practices from the 1st to 20th centuries – even though they were dispersed throughout the world and continue to be today. More than half of all Jews live outside of Israel with 6 million in the US alone.


In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people…He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth (Isaiah 11:11,12).


The Bible’s insistence that the Jews would be recalled by the Lord to their homeland – and other Scriptural predictions that hinged on the reestablishment of the Jewish state – was widely derided, particularly in the 19th and early 20th centuries.


But the improbable resurrection of Israel was orchestrated by the God of the Bible using individuals, governments, and trans-global institutions to bring about declarations of His prophets from over 2 millennia ago.


  • Theodor Herzl, an Austro-Hungarian Jewish lawyer, journalist, and political activist is seen by many to be the modern father of Zionism. His pamphlet published in 1896 entitled Der Judenstaat, (the Jewish State) envisioned and called for a homeland nation for the world’s Jews. Although he died only a few years later at age 44 in 1904, in the providence of Sovereign God, an unstoppable force was set in motion.
  • Great Britain appeared to support the creation of a Jewish State with the Balfour Declaration in 1917 announcing its support that Jews should again have a homeland. However, progress was slow, and at times, non-existent. During the 1930s, before WW2 and the Holocaust, the British government actually appeared at times hostile to the idea, frustrating the Zionist concept by actually blocking Jews from emigrating to Palestine.
  • A dark chapter for many liberal-democratic nations was in evidence when Jews fearfully fleeing persecution, particularly from Nazi Germany, could find no safe haven. Canada was seen as particularly unwelcoming. (We’ll explore that in my next post.)
  • However, international consensus began to shift, in part because of the horrors of the Holocaust and the systematic extermination of 6 million Jews. The Zionists seized on the shifting attitudes and began to prepare by building pre-state institutions and pressuring the British occupiers to leave Palestine.
  • From around the world, Jews sensed this overwhelming, visceral – and sometimes inexplicable – Zionist pull on their hearts and minds. And, against a historical backdrop of international pessimism and antisemitic jeering, the descendants of Abraham often left everything familiar to begin an arduous new life in the Promised Land.

I will accept you as fragrant incense when I bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will show myself holy among you in the sight of the nations. Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I bring you into the land of Israel, the land I had sworn with uplifted hand to give to your fathers (Ezekiel 20:41,42).


When the state was born on May 14, 1948 the nation was immediately thrust into a war of independence for the next 14 months; it was soon facing not only political and military opposition but resource, social, geographic & financial hurdles.


“The early years were desperately difficult. The new state, with no financial reserves and very little infrastructure, suddenly had to absorb masses of immigrants much larger than its own population. Jews from North Africa, Iran, Iraq, and elsewhere came to Israel by the hundreds of thousands when their host countries expelled them…another one hundred and fifty thousand refugees from the holocaust, bearing all the traumas of their horrific experience, also arrived at Israel’s borders. Formerly swamp-ridden and still uncultivated in some areas and largely barren desert in others, bereft of natural resources, and almost completely out of cash, the state had few options for feeding and offering shelter to all these people and began to ration food. Just a few years after its creation, the country was in danger of financial collapse.”*


But the Zionist call is unmistakable – and deeply impenetrable for most of us – as I learned from a conversation several years ago.


On that occasion, I asked a young Israeli soldier on a street corner in Jerusalem – he couldn’t have been much more than 20 years old – where he was from. 


“New Jersey” he replied in full fatigues with his automatic weapon slung across his chest. 


“So why did you move to Israel when almost everything here – the climate, the government, the currency, the culture – is so different from what you grew up with in the US?”  


“This is home” was his response. 


So I pressed a little: “But you told me you’ve never been here before. Your whole life was lived in the USA!” 


“No” he said, “this is home.”


Golda Meir related the story of witnessing planeloads of Jewish refugees landing in Israel. She engaged in conversation with one elderly, bearded man from Yemen. Prime Minister Meir noted that passengers were exhausted and hungry and naturally cautious about their new beginnings in Israel. She asked the man if he had seen a plane before to which he said no. Then she asked if he was fearful to fly for the first time? “No” he said firmly. ”It is all written down in the Bible, in Isaiah, They shall mount up with wings as eagles!”


Takeaway: the return of Jews to Israel – at Yahweh’s time and in His way – is the historic drama being played out in our lifetime. 


What an observation viewpoint we have as His sovereign plan – determined by the Triune God before the foundations of the world were laid – continues to be unfurled!


Those having a working knowledge of ancient biblical Jewish prophecies have an unparalleled opportunity to watch global events shift and evolve in alignment with His eternal edicts for His Chosen People and for the return of the Messiah to establish the final phase of the Kingdom of God.


May we be so familiar with the Scripture to watch in awe as history unfolds.


This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’” Zechariah 8:23



*Israel: a concise history of a nation reborn; Daniel Gordis, HarperCollins, 2016.

- graphic from - services and government information website (

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