• Arrival of Jewish refugees from Ukraine in Israel. | Photo: Jewish Agency

Exodus from the North

Rev. Oscar Lohuis - 24 August 2022

“So then, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when people will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ but they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where He had banished them.’ Then they will live in their own land.” Jeremiah 23:7-8

In the 1980s, some three million Jews still lived in the Soviet Union. For hundreds of years, they had been exposed to barely hidden antisemitism. In the 19th century, many Jews, therefore, left Eastern Russia for Ukraine. There was also a flood of Jews settling in Palestine.

The Soviet Union almost never allowed Jewish citizens to emigrate to Israel. Those who applied were rejected, so they were called ‘refuseniks’. If a Jew did manage to leave the Soviet Union, it was world news.

In Isaiah 43, we read that God says to the north: “Give!” and in the prophecy from Jeremiah 23 (see above), it is said that days will come when people will speak of an exodus from the land in the north. In addition to all the countries from which the Lord will bring His people back into the land, the ‘land of the north’ is mentioned here specifically and separately. Therefore, it is a particularly striking fulfilment of biblical prophecy that since the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union, more than a million Russian Jews emigrated to Israel in just a few years.

Since the exodus from Egypt (3,400 years ago), there has never been such a massive move of Jews to the Promised Land as this one. Therefore, this exodus from the land of the north is also compared to the exodus.

Since the beginning of the (new) war in Ukraine, there has also been a considerable flow of Jewish refugees from the north towards the Promised Land. Even at this moment, this prophecy is being fulfilled.

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