Bible In the News: The Russian Bear Comes Out Swinging in Wake of G7 Move to Contain it.
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We may not have expected Russia, to have set backs in their move into Ukraine, but there has already been one fascinating consequence. On September 22 the Israeli news site, Israel HaYom, reported that, “Israel braces for aliyah wave from Russia following mobilization” For Russian Jews, remaining in Russia could result in being called up to fight for the King of the North. With Jews fighting for Ukraine and Jews forced to fight for Russia, it could lead to a situation of Jews fighting Jews. The mobilization in Russia has given the Jewish people a new impetus to hear the words of the God of Bethel, calling out to the children of Israel to, “arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred.” (Gen. 31:13)
Israel HaYom says that, “Israel is one of the only countries that continues to operate direct flights to and from sanctioned Russia, and as such, has already increased the number of flights to the country.” Now there is talk of increasing flights from Russia to Israel. “Prime Minister Yair Lapid spoke with El Al official Shlomi Am Shalom shortly before taking off for New York on Wednesday to ensure that direct flights from Russia to Moscow not only do not decrease but perhaps even increase.” The Irish Times reports that, “Israel is seeking to allow larger aircraft on the routes to Russia to bring more people but the authorities in Moscow have refused.” According to the Irish Times, “There are approximately 40,000 Jews ready to fly to Israel but all available flights for the next few months are full.” Regarding immigration from Ukraine and Russia, Israel HaYom reports, “In 2021, over 23,000 immigrants arrived in Israel from Russia, about 47% of all new olim, a significant increase from the year before. This year, the war in Ukraine as well as the dispute over the activities of the Jewish Agency, which promotes aliyah to Israel, might also contribute to considerations.”
During the Soviet era the Jewish people were not allowed to leave the USSR. The struggle for Soviet Jewry lasted for decades. The book “When they come for us we’ll be gone, the epic struggle to save Soviet Jewry,” by Gal Beckerman, is a good read on this subject. The communist regime at the time also tried to erase the Jewish people’s culture and religion, while at the same time they were required to be identified as Jews and were discriminated against in society. This had the unintended consequence of preserving Soviet Jewry as a distinct people. This struggle to leave the land of the north, is an interesting fulfillment of the words of Isaiah, in chapter 43, where the prophet says,
“Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 43:5,6)
It is to the north that the Almighty had to say, “Give up!” It was the north which prevented the Jewish people from returning to the land of their forefathers. It wasn’t until the late 1980’s that the Jews were finally able to leave the Soviet Union. According to Gal Beckerman, by the end of the 1990s, more than one million Soviet Jews had emigrated to Israel. In 2017 approximately 180,000 remained living in the Russian Federation. Now is another impetus and possible chance for those remaining Jews in the land of the north to leave. It may not be easy however. The Jerusalem Post asks, “Can Israel, Jewish Agency rescue tens of thousands of Russian Jews?” The articles states that Putin, “has said Moscow will limit the exit from Russia of men between ages 18 and 65.” Once again, the north may have to be told to “give up”, the Jewish people.
One of the chapters in Gal Beckerman’s book is entitled, “Escape, Daughter of Zion Dwelling in Babylon”. This is taken from Zechariah 2:7. Zechariah 2:6–8 reads:
“Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD. Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.”
The Almighty’s hand is not shortened to save, it is reaching out to the Jews in the land of the King of the North, His voice is calling to them saying, “Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon.”
What an incredible thing, that Russia’s setback is the Jewish people’s opportunity to get out! We believe that the war in Ukraine will lead to the setting up of Nebuchadnezzar’s image in it’s later day fulness — when it will stand as a whole, ready to be “broken to pieces together” (Daniel 2:35). Daniel 2:31, describing this image says that, “the form thereof was terrible.” The ESV translates this as, “its appearance was frightening.” This will be a frightening, terrible despotism. May the day soon come, when this monstrosity will be smashed by the little stone kingdom of Judah! Even so come Lord Jesus.
This has been David Billington with you this week for Bible in the News. If the Lord remains away, come back next week to www.bibleinthenews.com and join us as we look for fulfilling Bible prophecy in today’s news.