The Law of Return

IMG_1935.JPGMegiddo, where the end begins at Armageddon

“When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations, and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. 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 ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors. The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live (Deuteronomy 31:1-5).

 It will be an exciting 70th anniversary in Israel very soon. After 2,000 years of wandering, and even more being ruled by other nations, the Jews were back in their biblical homeland in 1948 as the independent state of Israel. This was a major turning point in history that cannot be underestimated and seemingly prophetic (Jeremiah 16:14-15).

Despite this statehood miracle, there were less than 725,000 Jews in Israel in 1948. Today, however, there are over 8 million Jews in Israel and that will double by 2059. In 2014, another landmark occurred; the number of Jews in Israel passed the number of Jews living in the rest of the world. That milestone grew larger in 2015 with roughly 30,000 Jews who made aliyah (immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return). So what is the Law of Return that fostered this dramatic population explosion that the Old Testament predicts (Isaiah 11:10-11)?

IMG_2896The bullet scarred Zion Gate from 1948’s war

On July 5, 1950, the governing body of Israel, the Knesset, passed the Law of Return, that began with the remarkable words that would define the country’s core value, “Every Jew has the right to immigrate to this country….”

This law not only populated Israel, but it provided a safe haven from the anti-Semitism that peaked in Hitler’s Europe. Despite overt opposition and even wars, it’s been a remarkable catalyst to grow Israel and make her desert bloom around thriving, modern cities. Can the Law of Return be solely responsible for this miracle?

To be sure some of it is the practical encouragement from the Israeli government that fosters population growth with free schooling for children, child allowances, and funding for in vitro fertility treatments (Jewish families average over 3 children per family). There are also incentives for immigration, which contributed to over 1 million Russian Jews coming to Israel. Despite these obvious stimuli, from a biblical point of view, one has to look at the Old Testament for deeper spiritual answers (Micah 2:12).

IMG_3123.JPGThe ruined streets from the Roman destruction of the Temple in 70 AD (giant blocks of stone hurled down from the Temple Mount above crushed the street)

Some think watching these immigrants arrive at Ben Gurion Airport is literally watching biblical prophecy unfold before their very eyes! Why is that? Looking at the prophecies of Jeremiah (23:3,7-8, 30:10, 31:9, 33:7), Isaiah (49:8-22, 43:5-6, 54:7), and Ezekiel (11:17, 20:34, 28:25, 34:13, 37:21) help us understand that this is from God, especially Ezekiel 37.

Ezekiel had a vision in chapter 37 where he saw a valley filled with the dry bones of thousands of skeletons in open graves that came together, grew flesh, and came to life. God revealed that the dry bones symbolized Israel and her agonies of dispersion for rejecting Him (Deuteronomy 28:15-68, 29:21-22). The graves were gentile nations where they were banished, but they were open graves and would not be permanent. The coming together of the resurrected bones is the prophetic restoration of the dispersed nation to its biblical homeland.

IMG_2923.JPGThe gate to the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem

Is this too far-fetched? What would Ezekiel think if he read the Declaration of the State of Israel that says, THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles?Or Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech at the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in Poland when he closed with Ezekiel’s vision and quoted chapter 37:11-13 as fulfilled,

“Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.”

It’s clear that the physical restoration of Israel is taking place today with the Law of Return, but Ezekiel’s next verse promises a spiritual restoration too.

IMG_2855.JPGThe remains of the Temple, the Western (Wailing) Wall

The Law of Return is part of a major turning point in history, but verse 14 will be the consummation of it (Ezekiel 36:26-28).  “I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.”

 

 

 

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