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On Eagles’ Wings Is How God Delivers His People

“I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself.”  (Exodus 19:4)

God brought the Jewish People to Himself  “on eagles’ wings.”

This metaphoric language is so rich and meaningful.

God brought the Jewish People out of Egypt in such a way that He personally watched over and carried them so they would mature into a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exodus 19:6).

And in our generation, God is again bringing His Chosen People home “on eagles’ wings,” repopulating the modern state of Israel.

Let’s look at how God uses the eagle to describe His tender care of the Jewish People and His commitment to keep His promises to them.

An eagle carries a crow on its wing for a free ride. (Photo: Phoo Chan)

On Eagles’ Wings: God’s Personal Mission of Deliverance

“You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ [nesharim] wings and brought you to Myself.”  (Exodus 19:4)

Like the fledgling eagle (nesher in Hebrew) who is weak and vulnerable, God birthed Israel as His Chosen People hovering over them with His protection from the advancing Egyptian army.

In a pillar of fire at night, He guided their path.  In a cloud by day, He shielded them from the scorching sun.

And as they wandered in the desolate wilderness, He provided a daily sustenance of heavenly manna and abundant water.

An eagle overlooks its newly hatched eaglet at the Shiloh National Military Park in Shiloh, Tennessee.

Another interpretation has been offered, however.

The word nesher can be translated, in some cases, as the Griffon vulture, that still populates Israel in the Golan Heights and Negev desert.

Though its name is not naturally poetic, this bird of prey can fly as high as a commercial airliner at 37,000 feet, much higher than the eagle at 10,000 feet, and is wonderfully graceful in the air.

Furthermore, “I carried you” [va’esa etchem] is sometimes translated as I elevated you.

This alternate translation helps us understand that God elevated the Jewish People as a nation to spiritual heights that were abundantly above anything the natural world could do for them.

Griffon vultures in Israel are seen at the Gamla nature Reserve in the Golan heights as well as the Sde Boker Kibbutz or Ramon Crater in the Negev Desert.

And if there were any doubt that God alone safely delivered Israel out of their tyrannical living conditions in Egypt, Moses tells us:

“He shielded him [Jacob / Israel] and cared for him; He guarded him as the apple of His eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft, the Lord alone led; no foreign god was with Him.”  (Deuteronomy 32:10–12)

Sadly, the sin of the Israelites cut them off from God’s tender protection many times after they left Egypt, beginning with worshiping the golden calf and culminating in their rejection of Yeshua (Jesus).

As a result, many Christians believe that all the evil that has befallen the Jewish People is a sign that God has permanently cursed them for rejecting Yeshua.

Yeshua Wept - James Tissot

Yeshua Wept, by James Tissot

On the contrary, Yeshua wept when His Jewish brethren rejected Him, saying:

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”  (Matthew 23:37)

Yeshua is longing to be reconciled with His Jewish people and to have an intimate relationship with them.

That is why He said, “All those the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never drive away.”  (John 6:37)

Jewish man prays, overlooking the Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem.

This reconciliation happens every time a Jewish Person accepts Yeshua; but today, 99% of the Jewish people do not accept Him as their Messiah.

However, we believe we are in the last days, and the prophecy of Zechariah 12:10 is soon to take place when the Jewish people on a national scale will see Yeshua — the one they pierced.  And they will mourn for Him.

On that day, they will say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”  (Matthew 23:39)

For this national reconciliation to happen, the Jewish People everywhere must be regathered from their worldwide exile and return to Israel, their Biblical homeland.

aliyah-El Al

Jewish youth proudly display the Israeli flag as they make aliyah (immigrate to Israel).

While many believe that the modern state of Israel is a completely man-made phenomenon, others understand that it is a move of God.  As Jewish scholar Dr. Michael Brown often says,  “What God has cursed, no man can bless.”

God also answered that argument by saying:

“Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done.”  (Jeremiah 31:37)

“For I will restore their fortunes and have compassion on them.’”  (Jeremiah 33:25–26)

Yes, it is God alone again in 2018 who is restoring the Jewish People to their promised land.  He set that plan in motion through two major historical events, both taking place in the month of November:

  • The Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917 — a British commitment to establish a Jewish homeland in land of Biblical Israel.
  • That commitment would ultimately be fulfilled by the United Nations’ Partition Plan on November 29, 1947 — a UN resolution to divide Palestine into two states: one Jewish and one Arab.
Authur Balfour, Balfour letter

Arthur Balfour and his signed letter, dated November 2, 1917

On Eagles’ Wings: Israel’s Secret Mission of Deliverance

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  (Isaiah 40:31)

On the heels of the Holocaust, Jews emigrated from Europe to the safety of Israel.

Following the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan, however, the situation for Jews living in the Arab world became progressively more dangerous.

A Yemenite Jewish family walks through the desert to a reception camp in Aden, where they were flown to their Jewish homeland of Israel.

In Yemen and Syria, Arab pogroms (violent riots of looting, killing and raping) were launched against the Jewish People.

In 1948, when Israel declared itself a nation, the situation grew even worse as the violence escalated.

The steady trickle of Jews fleeing Arab countries like a stream, became a river.

Yemenite Jews on their way to Israel in one of the planes that carried them home "on eagle's wings." (Isaiah 40:31)

A full plane of Yemenite Jewish immigrants en route to Israel.

By the early 1970s, approximately a million Jews left, fled, or were expelled from their homes in Arab countries.

In response to an increasingly perilous situation for the Yemenite Jewish community, Israel organized an airlift, officially code-named On Wings of Eagles after Exodus 19:4:  “I carried you on eagles’ wings.”

This rescue occurred in secret between June 1949 and September 1950 and didn’t become public until several months after its successful completion.


An Israeli Yemenite Jew

Most of these Yemenite Jews had never seen such a thing as an airplane or even an automobile, so they were afraid to board the planes.

Instead of panicking, they sat calmly after their rabbi explained how God had delivered the Jewish People out of Egypt on the wings of eagles.

In total, almost 50,000 Jews were flown from Yemen to Israel.  By September 1950, very few Jews remained in Yemen.

In honor of this daring secret operation, a street in Jerusalem and another in Herzliyah has been named Kanfei Nesharim — Wings of Eagles.


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On Eagle’s Wings

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