An Update of a 2008 Report
The clouds of war are once again gathering over the Middle East, and it is wise to review the situation and our battle plans on how we can successfully wage this war of numbers.
Numbers became an essential factor when YHVH made a sworn promise to Abraham to give Abraham’s descendants through Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s twelve sons (whom YHVH called Israel), a land of their own.
This promised land (at a minimum) would encompass the land from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates, from the Arabah to the western sea. Today the world identifies these lands as being made up of Israel (1948 borders), the State of Palestine (West Bank and Gaza Strip), Lebanon, Jordan, southern Syria, and the Sinai Peninsula.
For this promise to Abraham to be fulfilled (as outlined in multiple Scriptural promises and prophecies), many millions of Israelites must be gathered from among the nations, returned to their own soil, and become one kingdom in the land with one king ruling over them forever (Jeremiah 23: 1-8; Ezekiel 37:15-25).
For 4,000 years, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have struggled to obtain the unity and numbers needed to fulfill this promise. As we enter the seventh millennium, we find Israel engaged in yet another attempt to make YHVH’s promise a reality.
Where does Israel stand in this latest attempt to fulfill these promises? What can we of Messianic Israel do about it?
The twentieth century opened with great strides as the Balfour Declaration resulted in General Allenby freeing Jerusalem in 1917 from 1278 years of foreign control. This paved the way for the fulfillment of Theodore Herzl’s sentiment that the Jewish state, founded at the first Zionist Congress in Switzerland in 1897, would be a reality within fifty years. Herzl was seven months off: On May 15, 1948, the Jewish state, which was named Israel at the last moment by its founders, became a reality.
In the 1946 census conducted under British auspices, the number of Jews in Israel finally exceed 600,000. According to some, this was a prophetic milestone in the foundation of the Jewish State. The Chazal (Oral Torah) had predicted, “Just as the Exodus from Egypt and entry into the Land occurred with 600,000 Israelites so will the exact same thing happen again, and will this time herald the era of Messiah. Israel will inherit the Land and become independent when the number of Israelites in the Land number 600,000. ”
Interestingly, the Oral Torah also specified the year 5708 (1947-48) as the time when the land will be redeemed; and that when there were 600,000 “Israelite” adult males in Israel, YHVH’s presence would be felt through all the various special occurrences in the land. (Quoting this fact is not to be construed as a blanket endorsement of the Oral Torah!) In turn, the Israeli census of 5725 (1965) indicated that there were 631,330 adult “Jewish” males. In 5727 (1967), with victory in the Six Day War, God returned Jerusalem to Jewish control.
In 1973 the Yom Kippur War saw Israel take control of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula, and the Golan Heights. A decade later they occupied southern Lebanon. But these stellar victories proved to be a dilemma for Israel because they did not have the numbers to hold the territories they had conquered!
There were not enough Jews to incorporate these lands into a greater Israel, and to have a state wherein the majority of the citizens would be Jewish. So Israel gave the Sinai back to Egypt, withdrew from southern Lebanon and from Gaza, and is now in the process of recognizing a Palestinian state made of up the ancient provinces of Judea and Samaria, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
What does Israel do now?
Unfortunately, the secular government of Israel is in the process of throwing the baby out with the bath water, in what will prove to be futile attempts to reach accords with the sons of Ishmael.
Admittedly, Israel faces (what appears in the natural to be) insolvable problems. Among them, and looming extremely large, is the problem of handling the demands of some five million Palestinian refugees living in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and camps in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip who want to return to Israel.
From the Palestinian perspective the “right of return” of these refugees has been a cornerstone of Palestinian policy for decades. It cannot be denied that they have a persuasive story to tell the world. These refugees result from some 750,000 Arabs who fled Israel during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. Some have heavy old iron keys to homes destroyed long ago. Some have crumbling yellow land deeds. Some have faded sepia photographs. All have memories, whether their own or those handed down to them like a family keepsake. Unfortunately, with an estimated annual birthrate of 50 per thousand among these refugees, the problem will only continue to grow.
From the Israeli perspective these numbers would dramatically change the demographics of Israel. In fact, even the most peace-minded Israeli politicians agree that it would be national suicide! Why? Because when the number of Palestinians/Arabs outnumber the Jews, then you no longer have a Jewish State.
Instead of a state where 76 percent of the six million-eight-hundred-thousand people are Jews, there would be at the very least a fifty/fifty Jewish/Arab state. Throw in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and we have that fifty/fifty situation today. Since Arabs have a birthrate three times that of the Jews, we would in a few years have a state where the Jews were in the minority. Add the consequences of returning Arab refugees and an exploding Jewish emigration, and you have an Arab state with a Jewish minority.
Israel’s first line of defense against this potential Arab invasion is to demand that any political settlement with the Palestinians take into account some 850,000 Jews who were exiled from Arab countries: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco. These Jews who emigrated from these Arab countries between 1922 and 1952 left behind an estimated $30 billion in assets.
Further, Israel should make the case that the exiled Jews were forced to leave Arab lands, and that the Arabs left Israel of their own volition. For in the 1948 Arab invasion of Israel, the Arab forces, in order to easily identify the Israeli Jews and then murder them quickly, asked the Arabs of Israel to leave the country.
From a Jewish perspective the basic challenge the Jewish state faces today is to keep the State “Jewish.” To accomplish this they must either come up with more Jews, or shrink the state to maintain a Jewish majority. Roughly there are fourteen million Jews in the world, of which six million are currently living in Israel, five million in the United States, and three million in the rest of the world. Hardly numbers equal to the stars in the heavens, the sand by the seashore and the dust of the earth, which is what YHVH promised Abraham. Yet these limited numbers are the only Israelites currently recognized by the State of Israel.
Unfortunately, at this time we can probably count out help from most of the five million American Jews, who presently seem to have little desire to move to Israel. The few who do move there are more than offset by the Israelis who are currently emigrating to America. This leaves some three million Jews scattered throughout the rest of the world, and many of them are too poor or elderly to make the move or, like their brothers and sisters in America, are happy with their current location.
In recent years the major source for Jewish emigration has been the former Soviet Union. Currently there is a Russian-speaking “state” some 600,000 strong, within the Jewish state. A recent article in the Jerusalem Post estimated that over 300,000 of these Russians were not Jews, Christians or Moslems.
If the Jews cannot provide sufficient Israelite numbers in the Land to even attempt to successfully hold on to the small portion of the land that they were allotted by the United Nations in 1948, then the hope of being able to take possession of the entire land promised Abraham seems hopeless in our generation. If it is hopeless in a generation when half of the people that have ever lived on this planet are alive, then when will it happen?
Are the people of Israel once again giving a bad report? Are they seeing themselves as grasshoppers in their own eyes? (Numbers 13:32).
Let us remember the fate of the ten spies who gave a bad report in the first return, as well as the fate of the men of Israel who accepted that report. YHVH said of them:
When your fathers tested Me, they tried Me, though they had seen My work. For forty years I loathed that generation, and said they are a people who err in their heart, and they do not know My ways. Therefore, I swore in My anger, truly they shall not enter into My rest, nor shall they come into the land in which I swore to settle you (Numbers 14:30; Psalm 95:9-11).
It may not be completely clear what “they shall not enter into My rest” means, but it surely does not sound good. We do not want to numbered with them. We want to cast our lot with Caleb and Joshua, men who gave a good report, men of whom YHVH said:
My servants Caleb and Joshua, because they have a different spirit and have followed Me fully, I will bring them into the land which they entered, and their descendants shall take possession of it (Numbers 14:24, 30).
If we are truly to have the different spirit that Caleb and Joshua had, then we need to be able to say in our day to the sons of Israel:
The land is an exceedingly good land, and if YHVH is pleased with us, then He will bring usinto this land, and give it to us – a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against YHVH our God; and do not fear the people of the land, for they shall be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and YHVH our God is with us; do not fear them (Numbers 14:79).
Walking in the spirit of Joshua and Caleb may not initially win us popularity polls. Remember, they were outnumbered among the sons of Israel – some 600,000 to 2. But if we are to please YHVH and be counted among those whom He will bring into the Land, we have no other choice than to march against the majority.
So what can we possibly do? The problem of the State of Israel today, our problem, and YHVH’s problem, is a lack of Israelites. YHVH does have one big advantage, He is not worried about what is going to happen. All the events in the world have already been envisioned by Him, and everything is occurring right on schedule according to His plan. Our challenge is to apply faith to the understanding, guidance, and opportunities we receive from the Ruach haKodesh.
Israel’s problem is not having enough Israelites. So our first questions is, other than the Jewish people, are there any other sources of potential Israelites in the world today?
An answer is now stirring in the hearts of many who follow Israel’s Messiah, Yeshua. These are beginning to identify with the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Many see themselves as being part of the people of Israel. They are Messianic Israelites from both the house of Ephraim and the house of Judah. They are people who are not only aware of their identity, but also of their mission of restoring Israel’s kingdom.
What is this emerging Israel to do?
YHVH’s works of the past century have not been for the sole purpose of establishing a small Jewish enclave on the shores of the Mediterranean. Rather, He has brought up the tents of Judah as a first step in fulfilling His promise to Abraham. But if a returning Judah and his companions of Israel was the first step, what is the second step? Is it not the regathering of Joseph, whose staff of leadership is in the hands of his son Ephraim, and his companions of Israel? Is Joseph once again to be the one who provides the means for Israel to build up its numbers?
Thousands of years ago our forefather Jacob recognized that it was a matter of numbers. Jacob became upset with his sons Shimon and Levi, who in the course of rescuing their sister Dinah, destroyed the entire male population of Shechem. Jacob was afraid the actions of these sons might predicate an attack by the neighboring Canaanites against his family, which was beginning to bud into a nation. According to Oral Torah, the Canaanite nations had a tradition that the Israelites only became invincible once they numbered 600,000. So as long as Jacob’s family was small, they were vulnerable. This holds true today. Without sufficient numbers, Israel is vulnerable.
What are sufficient numbers? Only YHVH knows, but we have the freedom to make reasonable speculations. We do know that 600,000 of Judah were in the land in 1948 when the state was founded. And that there were 600,000 males over the age of twenty when the City of Jerusalem was retaken in 1967. Obviously additional numbers are required for the next stage of occupation of the Land.
What numbers? Where do they come from? What if a representation of Ephraim is required for this next stage in the occupation of the Land? What would be the necessary size of his representation? Would it be a number equal to that of Judah? Since Judah primarily represents two tribes and Ephraim represents ten, is Ephraim expected to furnish five times the number of Judah? For now, even a goal to equal Judah’s initial objective of 600,000 is a formidable challenge.
Consider the following scenario in which Messianic Israel makes the following proposal to our brothers and sisters in the Land today: “We have six hundred thousand of Ephraim and Judah who know they are part of the people of Israel, and who want to join with their lives and fortunes in living in and holding the Land promised to our forefathers. While we are Believers in Israel’s Messiah, we come not as missionaries to convert you, but as your physical brothers and sisters to work together to fulfill the purposes and hope that the Holy One of Israel has for His people in our day.”
If we could actually make this offer, and if it was publicized among the Israeli public today, they would answer, “Come home!”
If you believe this would be their answer, if you believe such an offer would be a giant step forward in YHVH’s plans to fulfill His promise to Abraham, then we have a job to do. While it may seem that we have tackled an insurmountable task, we will not be grasshoppers in our own eyes. Our God, the Holy One of Israel, is well able, and therefore we are well able! We know what to do. We just need to quicken the pace. We need to take full advantage of every opportunity to identify Israelites and to make them aware of their mission. We need to prepare ourselves to take full advantage of all favorable circumstances that come our way, and to be ready when given the opportunity to be part of the returning remnant.
What if we are ready and there is no opportunity to return? What will we have lost? But what if we are not ready, and there is an opportunity to return? What will we have lost? Far better to be prepared and not be called upon, than to be called upon and not be prepared. Let us be found adding to unity in numbers and being a part of the solution rather than detracting from unity in numbers, and therefore being part of the problem.
Let us seek to unite and to awaken our fellow Israelites to their glorious call as Israel – a powerful prevailing prince, soldier of the God of Israel.
Be blessed and encouraged,
For the Patrol
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