"I Will Say To The North, Give Up!"

by Joseph Hunting

Beyond all controversy the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt 3,500 years ago was the greatest mass migration in the history of mankind.

Nothing like has happened before or since. In order to reappraise the magnitude of Divine power that accompanied that exodus let us remember that the Hebrews were totally powerless to contribute to their deliverance. Not only were they an oppressed people, but they were singled out and discriminated against.

When life became intolerable their cry went up to heaven and was heard. The rest of the story is familiar. The Passover is still observed as a memorial by their descendants.

Following their forty-year sojourn in the wilderness the Hebrews possessed the territory that God had promised to Abraham, until the northern kingdom of Israel was taken into captivity by Shalmaneser, and Judah a hundred years later by Nebuchadnezzar. It is interesting to read the warnings given by the prophets of that period which went unheeded.

After a seventy-year sojourn in Babylon representatives of all twelve tribes returned and during the next five hundred years occupied the land amidst turbulence and warring factions within the without.

Syrians, Greeks and Romans in turn occupied Israel. Nevertheless, year after year the Passover was faithfully remembered. It is not without significance that the last recorded Passover in Scripture marked the turning point in Israel's history as well as that of all mankind with the atoning sacrifice of Messiah, the Lamb of God.

Forty years later in A.D. 66 a revolt against Rome broke out and the Roman legions ruthlessly moved in to crush it.

By A.D. 70 Jerusalem fell after a prolonged siege. The city and temple were gutted by fire. Death and destruction were everywhere. Three years later the last remaining stronghold at Massada fell and the second dispersion began.

This time it was no mere seventy-year captivity, but rather the awful fulfilment of Moses' warning: "And the Eternal shall scatter you among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known, even wood and stone ... And the Eternal shall bring you into Egypt again with ships ... and there you shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen" (Deuteronomy 28:64-68)

In order to fully comprehend the depth and breadth of the dispersion up to the present time one must read and meditate on the whole of Deuteronomy chapter 28. No superficial skimming over this important Scripture will suffice. What the Eternal said He would do He has fulfilled, even to the mention of Egypt. Jews were taken to Egypt in ships and sold as slaves. Others were sold on the slave markets of Rome and in due time survivors were scattered to the uttermost parts of the earth.

Nineteen centuries of homelessness, wanderings and persecution have made the preservation of the Hebrew race a miracle of survival. Scattered like chaff from the one end of the earth to the other, yet they were not assimilated. Despised and legislated against, they survived in ghettos. The greatest military power in history that crushed Europe tried to wipe them out -- and failed.

A remnant of world Jewry returned to their ancient homeland and established the new-old State of Israel on the soil God promised Abraham. Again, the Arab nations backed by the military weaponry of Soviet Russia tried to wipe Israel off the map four times -- and they too failed! Surely it is time the world heeded the promise: "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper." (Isaiah 54:17)

It would seem that the stage is now set for a further demonstration of God's might and power on behalf of His people.

Israel 's prophets have foretold that the days will come when there will be a great exodus of Jews "from the north country". Whilst there are a number of countries situated due north of Israel, Ezekiel refers to an invasion of Israel from a country located in the "uttermost" (Heb.lit.) north. It is no coincidence that Jerusalem and Moscow are on the same longitude.

Will history repeat itself? Is there shortly to be another exodus that will eclipse Israel's deliverance from Egypt? Let Israel's own prophets speak to this generation. "Therefore, behold, the days come, says the Eternal, that it shall no more be said, The Eternal lives, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but the Eternal lives, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands where he had driven them: and I will again bring them into their land that I gave unto their fathers." (Jeremiah 16:14-16)

And again: "I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth." (Isaiah 43:6)

Now let us look at the plight of the Jews in Russia and draw a parallel with their forefathers in Egypt. The Jews in Russia are an oppressed minority. It is estimated that they number about 2 ¼ million. Moses led about that number out of Egypt. Recently the harassment of Jews in Russia has increased alarmingly and emigration of Jews from Russia has dropped drastically -- from 51,000 in 1979 to 21,000 in 1980, 9,500 in 1981 and finally to a mere trickle in 1982 -- only 2,700.

In Egypt, their "cry went up to heaven" and deliverance resulted. Today a similar cry has gone up to heaven as thousands of lovers of Zion have fasted and prayed for the liberation of Soviet Jews. Christians have demonstrated at Soviet Embassies world wide. In Jerusalem Jews and Christians from thirty countries joined with Soviet Jews, one time 'prisoners of Zion' and attended a world conference on Soviet Jewry.

And so, another 'cry' has ascended to heaven. But this time it is not only from Soviet Jewry, but from thousands of Christians world-wide who cared and responded to a call from the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem to fast and pray for the release of 'prisoners of conscience' and the setting free of Soviet Jewry.

One day God's promise to them will be fulfilled. So great, so awe-inspiring will be the deliverance that it will surpass the miracle of the Exodus remembered year by year to this day. In that day they will no longer say: "The Lord lives that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, the Lord lives that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north ..."

Perhaps that day will be sooner than many think for the God of Israel is a prayer-answering God.