Israel’s interim Aliyah results for 2018 showed a 1% drop in numbers from January to August, due especially to fewer immigrants from large Jewish communities in USA and France.
Aliyah is immigration to Israel, literally meaning ‘to go up’ and the process has its foundation in Scripture.
In Deuteronomy chapter 28, before the people of Israel enter the land covenanted to Abraham and his descendants, God outlines the conditions for entry. In short, if the people follow God they will be blessed in every way and will remain in the land. If they disobey God they will be cursed in the opposite way and ultimately will not remain in the land, because it is a land dedicated to the worship of the Lord and idolatry is not tolerated:
Then the Lord will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods. Deuteronomy 28:64
The Jewish people have been scattered amongst the nations since the year AD70, following the destruction of Jerusalem under Roman General Titus.
In Deuteronomy 29, Israel renews its covenant with the Lord before entering the land. Then in chapter 30:2-6, the Lord promises full restoration in response to disobedience, scattering and true repentance:
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.
This is the process the world has been watching for over 100 years, beginning even before the founding of the state of Israel. It is a process so important to God’s heart, that it is the only thing the Bible states He cares about with ‘all His heart and soul’:
I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul. Jeremiah 32:41
The discipline of God is in a way stronger than that of human fathers, but His tenderness and compassion far greater. He is more interested in restoring the hearts of His people than restoring territory or other blessings. Land has value, but hearts far more, and God is patient enough to wait.
Not only is Aliyah key to the restoration of Israel, but also a sign to the nations of God’s holiness. The phrase ‘then the nations will know that I am the Lord’ is repeated many times in Ezekiel – the writer himself part of the Old Testament singular Jewish diaspora in Babylon, but prophesying the End Time global Aliyah from many nations.
Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am proved holy through you [restored Israel] before their eyes.
“‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:23-28
Aliyah is about both hearts and numbers – ‘new hearts’ in Yeshua for all Israel, following the return of literally all Jewish people, whether through obedience, persecution or poverty – “I shall most certainly assemble all of you, O Jacob” Micah 2:12.
When Israel is restored both in numbers and in heart, our people will cry out “Baruch HaBa be shem Adonai” (Matthew 23:39) and Yeshua will return to cast the devil out and fully restore not only Israel, but the whole earth.
So, pray for restored Aliyah in 2019. Also, if you have slipped away from the Lord in 2018, test Him to see how great His restoring grace is for you personally through the cross, and make your own Aliyah back to Him.
This article originally appeared on Revive Israel, January 23, 2019, and reposted with permission.