In that day, the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people (Isaiah 11:11, ESV).
In the Bible, prophecy is uncanny in its fulfillment.
The book of Isaiah was written before the fall of Jerusalem and the Babylonian captivity. Yet in chapter 11, Isaiah predicts a “second” return of God’s chosen people to the land of Israel.
Yes, a second return was predicted before the first return.
The Babylonians captured Jerusalem, and the Jews returned. That’s the first return. But Isaiah predicted a second return. When will this happen, or has it already occurred?
After the Roman general Titus conquered Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the Jews were scattered throughout the known world. For 2000 years, the Jewish people lived in various nations around the world.
Isaiah continues to write in chapter 11 …
Recover the remnant that remains of his people, from Assyria [northern Iraq and Turkey], from Egypt, from Pathros [Upper Egypt], from Cush [Sudan], from Elam [Iran], from Shinar [Iraq], from Hamath [Syria], and from the coastlands of the sea (v. 11).
Let’s have a history lesson:
- After World War I, England gained possession of the land of Palestine. In 1917, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration, which stated that England supported the establishment of a nation for the Jewish people in Palestine.
- World War II opened the floodgates of immigration. In 1900, there were only 40,000 Jews in all of Palestine. The number of Jews quickly swelled to over 600,000 after World War II, and many who came out of the Holocaust were saying, “Never again!”
- Isaiah’s prophecy says that Egypt and other Arab nations of the Middle East would return Jews to Israel. After the Suez War, Egypt expelled all of its Jews, and the rest of the Arab nations did the same following the Six-Day War.
Isaiah adds this note to his prophecies about the return of the Jews to their homeland …
I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth (Isaiah 43:6).
Okay, another history lesson as we consider Jews returning from the south and the north …
- From the south: There were black Jews in Ethiopia. No one knows exactly their origin. But during a civil war in 1991, as the Ethiopian government fell apart, Israel organized an airlift of these Jews from Ethiopia, and in 36 hours, over 14,000 were brought to Israel.
- From the north: The world’s largest population of Jews lived in Russia and communist nations, unable to return to Israel until communism fell apart in the early 1990s. Since then, hundreds of thousands of Russian-speaking Jews have migrated to Israel. One-third of the population of Israel now speaks Russian.
A final historical note: Before Russia invaded, Ukraine had the largest population of Jews in Europe. In the last year, over 30,000 Jews have emigrated from Ukraine to Israel.
God has given us a testimony of His faithfulness by restoring the nation of Israel.
As one commentator said, “Israel is God’s latter-day alarm clock.” God fulfilled His pledge to bring the Jews back to the Promised Land, but this fulfillment is also God’s announcement to the entire world …
Jesus will soon return!