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bible prophecy

From the land of the north

Jewish Ukrainians who fled war zones in Ukraine, arriving on a rescue flight at Ben-Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv, March 17, 2022. (Photo: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

“In those days the House of Judah will walk with the House of Israel, and they will come together from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers as an inheritance” (Jeremiah 3:18).

Throughout biblical history, it seemed, at times, that God allowed situations to get worse and worse, to seemingly impossible, so that when He did come through, there was no other explanation than His obvious intervention. Think of the Exodus from Egypt or even Israel’s miraculous Six-Day War in 1967.

The context of this prophecy in Jeremiah’s day seemed just as impossible.

At that time, the northern kingdom of Israel had already been conquered by Assyria at least 100 years prior and Jeremiah was also foretelling the same for the kingdom of Judah. Yet, at the same time, he was speaking of the future of Jerusalem’s restoration, the return of the people and Israel’s unification.

“The kingdom of Judah and Israel will again walk together...” Skeptical hearers of these prophecies would have condescendingly chuckled and said, “Get real, Jeremiah. The kingdom of Judah had been gone for 100 years and David’s kingdom of Israel had been split into two kingdoms for at least 300 years. Reunifying the kingdoms is not happening.” But Jeremiah hadn’t even finished his sentence.

“...They will come together from the land of the north, back to the promised land.” What land of the north is he talking about?? The Assyrian capital was more northeast and the current threat of Babylon was directly east. Egypt was directly south and the sea was due west. The land of the north?

Statistically speaking, since that time, there has never been a large Jewish migration to the land of Israel from the north… that is, until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989. On today’s map, if a line is drawn due north from Jerusalem, in the far north, that line will almost touch Moscow. A little further north, the line nearly touches St. Petersburg on the left. These two cities held two of the largest Jewish populations in the “land of the north” until 1989.

Immediately after the fall of the Soviet Union, between 1989 and 1995, roughly 1.2 million Jews immigrated directly south from the land of the north, returning to the land of their forefathers. This flood of Jews returning home was so massive for the State of Israel that it increased the population of the nation by 20%, seemingly overnight.

In comparison, when the United States completes its census every 10 years, a 2% to 3% increase is considered a healthy or rapid population growth. A 20% increase for a nation within 6 years is massive and continues to leave an indelible impact on Israel today.

Amazingly, Jeremiah not only foretold of the returning Jewish immigration but also the specific direction that a major wave would come from. Now add 2,600 years from the time it was spoken to when it happened. There is simply no other historical comparison or explanation for this than to realize it must be God’s plan, both in His initial promise then His unparalleled demonstration.

Today, it continues. According to recent statistics from the Jewish Agency at Rosh Hashanah, Russia still has the sixth-largest Jewish population outside of Israel, at an estimated 132,000. As a result of the recent Ukraine-Russia War, two nations north of Israel, immigration has increased, and still more are coming from the north. The truth is that they are coming from all over the world.

This shouldn’t be a surprise since Jeremiah and other prophets have been telling us this would happen for centuries. We just have the privilege of seeing God fulfill His promises and even being a part of His unfolding plan in our day.

Doug Hershey is the author of the best selling photo books "Israel Rising" and "Jerusalem Rising" that provide historical and visual documentation of biblical prophecy coming to pass in our day. When not in Israel, he resides in Portland, Maine. Check out more information on courses, event requests and Israel tours on his website

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