Say To The South, “Do Not Keep Them Back!”
Numerous prophecies have been fulfilled over the last century, but one of the most exciting is Isaiah 43: 5-6. In that passage, the Lord is speaking through the prophet Isaiah, declaring that He will bring the descendants of Israel from the east, the west, the north, and the south.
5 Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your descendants from the east,
And gather you from the west;
6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
And to the south, ‘Do not keep them back!’
Bring My sons from afar,
And My daughters from the ends of the earth—
(Isaiah 43:5-6, NKJV)
The partial return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland after the first exile took place under the Persian Empire and was largely from the northeast. We read about it in the books of Nehemiah and Ezra. However, Isaiah 43 describes perfectly the second return of the Jews to their homeland which took place after being dispersed to the ends of the earth over a period of 2,000 years. This return to the land, known today as Aliyah, has taken place over the last 150 years and includes several waves of immigration.
The earliest waves of Aliyah back in the 19th century emanated from Russia. But, once the modern State of Israel was founded in 1948, a large wave of immigrants came to Israel from the Muslim world. They were called Mizrahi, or “Eastern,” Jews. Almost overnight the majority of Israel’s population was from “the East.”
Then, in 1989-1990, the world witnessed the amazing moment when the Iron Curtain fell and the Jews of Russia were allowed to immigrate to Israel. After years of persecution, and even imprisonment for wanting to move to Israel, it was as if the Lord said to the land of the North: “Give them up!” Over the next decade a wave of some one million Jews left the land of the North for Israel. Today, one in five Israelis are Russian speaking.
This brings us to the wave of Aliyah from the South. The very existence of Ethiopian Jews is extraordinary, but the story of their journey to Israel is nothing short of a miracle. In spite of poverty, civil war, and dictatorial governments, some 100,000 Ethiopian Jews, claiming descent from Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, have now come home to Israel.
Now is the Time
The final wave of Ethiopian Aliyah is now in progress following the Israeli government’s approval for the absorption of the last 9,000 Jews from Ethiopia. But the process will take years and they face increasing danger as escalating conflicts in the region put them at great risk.
Anti-government demonstrations, ethnic conflict in the northern part of Ethiopia where the Jewish Ethiopians live, and fighting in nearby South Sudan where some Ethiopian Jewish refugees are stranded is causing instability and limiting options. There is also a severe drought which some predict may be followed by severe floods this fall.
Because of the worsening security situation, the Jews waiting in transit camps for their departure to Israel are in what some have called “mortal danger.”
Bring Them Home!
Christians today have the privilege of not just watching prophecy being fulfilled, but of being a part of it! In Isaiah 43, the Lord says that He is the one who will bring the Jews back from around the world. Then, in verse 6, He commands us to, “Bring my sons from afar, and my daughters from the ends of the earth.”
That verse is a clear directive to bring the exiles back to their homeland! In response, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem is helping to bring these precious Ethiopian Jews home to Israel.
Susan M. Michael is the US Director of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem. The ICEJ has helped over 120,000 Jews to make Aliyah. For information on how you can help go to www.icejusa.org/ethiopia.