“My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the Land of Israel.…” (Ezekiel 37:12–14)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood before the international community on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Germany’s biggest extermination and death camp, and declared that the end-time prophecy of Ezekiel 37 had been fulfilled in the State of Israel:
“[After the Holocaust,]… the Jewish people rose from ashes and destruction, from a terrible pain that can never be healed. Armed with the Jewish spirit, the justice of man, and the vision of the prophets, we sprouted new branches and grew deep roots. Dry bones became covered with flesh, a spirit filled them, and they lived and stood on their own feet.
“As Ezekiel prophesied:
“Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘thus says the Lord God, Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.'” (Ezekiel 37:11–14)
Aliyah: A Modern-day Miracle
The Lord, in fulfillment of Bible prophecy, continues today to draw His people home to the Holy Land (Jeremiah 31:3).
Every year, Jewish people around the world are making Aliyah (returning to their biblical homeland).
Back when it was recreated in 1948, there were 806,000 residents living in the Holy Land. About 82% or 661,000 were Jewish.
The State of Israel is now 70 years old and has an estimated population of nearly 8.8 million. Almost 75% or about 6,556,000 are Jews. (Israel Central Bureau of Statistics)
Nearly half of the world’s estimated 15 million Jews live in Israel.
“Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above.” (Isaiah 37:31 and 2 Kings 19:30)
“I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” (Genesis 22:16–18)
Moreover, almost 27,000 made aliyah (Jewish immigration) to Israel last year in fulfillment of God’s many promises.
Sometimes they come because anti-Semitism is on the rise in the land they are leaving, but always they come because God is moving in their hearts.
“I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.” (Ezekiel 11:17)
Ariel Silver: Olim (Immigrant)
Thirty-eight-year-old Ariel Silver, a Jewish Believer in Yeshua (Jesus) who emigrated to Israel from the United States, said adjusting to Israel was fairly easy.
“What makes it worth it is that as a stranger, I’m welcome here,” he said. “In the States, I was a puzzle piece that never quite fit in the right way; I was always a little bit jagged. Here, I’m like the puzzle piece that fits snug on all sides.”
He also said that moving to Israel has been good for his chosen career path.
“In the States, I couldn’t find work in my field, and here I have work in my field and I can support myself with that work,” he said.
He considers this “miraculous in the sense” that many people in the US struggle to find employment in the field they love.
Nine years before Silver’s aliyah, he came for a short visit to the Holy Land following his college graduation. He had no intention of coming one day to stay.
Silver said a number of experiences changed his mind during his 2003 trip, including a rabbi’s star-lit teaching in the desert.
“The sun had gone down in the middle of the desert outside the camp, and all we could see were millions and millions of stars,” Silver reminisced.
“[The rabbi] said, ‘You guys are those stars and the land you are sitting on is the land that was promised.’ It was a very powerful moment; it was apparent that our presence here was a fulfillment of that prophecy.”
Silver said that leaving behind his family, including an 11-year-old sister, in the US, and making aliyah alone had its pros and cons.
“There are aspects to coming alone that are easier because I only have to worry about me. Whatever shortcomings, whatever I get wrong, it only affects me,” he said. “The downside to coming alone is I don’t have any help.”
While Silver is thriving in Israel, he hopes his family will come, as well.
Aliyah: Hearing His Voice
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.” (Ezekiel 36:26–28)
Many families throughout the years have made aliyah to Israel as a unit and have flourished.
Hannah Beresford emigrated as a 19-year-old with her family from Hawaii.
“My family was making aliyah, and I felt God speaking to me — through Scriptures, the radio, what He said to me personally — that He wanted me to go too,” Hannah said.
After her arrival, she entered a process of personal discovery that continues today.
Hannah, her brother, and her sister have each served in the Israel Defense Forces and have become part of the community.
Sensing God’s Presence at the Western Wall
Natalya Geffen began a process of personal transformation and deepening connection with Israel on a youth trip to the Land.
Although Geffen grew up in Canada in an Orthodox Jewish family that supported Israel, she says the Land remained an abstract, somewhat irrelevant concept to her personally—until that first trip.
“When I approached the Kotel (the Western Wall), an overwhelming sense that I was standing in the presence of Holiness came over me, and I began to weep beside those ancient stones,” Geffen said.
“From that moment on, I felt a burning desire in my heart to ‘come home’ to the Land of Israel”
Geffen said she promised to make aliyah, but it didn’t happen right away.
“It took me fifteen years of twists and turns, detours and dead ends, but I kept my promise,” she said.
It took coming to faith in Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah to remind her of that promise.
As she read the Word of God, she came to understand her Biblical inheritance in connection with the Land of Israel.
“I began to read in the Tanakh that Israel is my home and that one day God would bring back the exiles of Israel. This rekindled the flame of desire in my heart to make aliyah,” she said.
A total of 15 years passed from Geffen’s first youth trip to her aliyah with her children.
“After exactly 40 years of wandering in the wilderness of exile, with God’s supernatural help, I came home. Praise Adonai for all His goodness. It has been like a dream and my mouth is filled with laughter and my heart with joy,” Geffen said.
“New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills, and I will bring my people Israel back from exile. They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,’ says the Lord your God.” (Amos 9:13–15)
Finding Yeshua in the Holy Land
About 40 years ago, Ora Zahavy, a Bibles For Israel staff member, also made aliyah with her four children and husband.
Although they missed family and friends, and found some of the adjustments challenging, the younger children found the move a little easier.
“Aliyah was difficult for our older children, as well as us. We had to get used to a new language, schools, food — just a new life,” she said.
One of the greatest benefits to living in Israel, however, was that the health of her children improved.
But being in the Holy Land brought about an even more profound change for the Zahavies.
“After we came to know the Lord, we soon realized it was the hand of God that brought us here,” she said.
She attributes their coming to know Yeshua as Messiah to the faithful prayers of friends.
“Life is not easy here, but we know this is where we belong,” she said. “By the grace of God we go. We know He has kept us safe and taken care of us all these years.”
“For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.” (Ezekiel 36:24)
A great number of Bible verses prophesy that in the latter days, Israel will be restored both physically and spiritually.
We have seen, and continue to see, the miraculous physical restoration of Israel in our day.
Our staff feels so blessed to be a part of this Scriptural fulfillment, and we look forward to the time when all Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26; Isaiah 45:17; Jeremiah 24:7, etc.).