The Revelation of Aliyah
by Matthew Grim
Before I stepped into Operation Exodus USA’s national office for the first time, I didn’t know much about the work done here. I was aware of the promises that God made the Jewish people thousands of years ago. Still, I had never given much thought to what those promises could mean today. I didn’t even know what the term “Aliyah” meant. As I imagine in the case of most Gentiles (Christians) in America, I saw myself as outside the original covenant made with Israel, so I never thought it would be important in my walk with Christ. I can confidently say now that I was wrong about that.
That first visit catalyzed a spiritual journey that I am still traveling as I seek to better understand God’s heart for Israel in this day and age. I realized that God is still working in His chosen people and that His promises are still being fulfilled today. I was encouraged by this revelation and decided I wanted to learn all I could about Operation Exodus USA’s calling to fulfill God’s promises by helping the Jewish people and Aliyah.
So what exactly is Aliyah?
Aliyah is a Hebrew word used to refer to the act of moving to Israel. It was used for generations even before Israel was reformed after WWII but wasn’t a formal legal term until 1948. In 1948, Israel passed the Law of Return, which gives any Jewish person worldwide the right to settle in Israel and become an Israeli citizen. On paper, it seems like that’s the end of the story, but I learned very quickly that it certainly was not. To the Jewish people, Aliyah isn’t just a legal term and a right – it gives them hope.
Aliyah is the hope that our God keeps His word and that He will fulfill His promises. Throughout scripture, the Lord promises to “gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them” (Jeremiah 23:3 ESV) back to the Promised Land, to Israel, and in my time here, it’s become quite evident that He still is fulfilling those promises to this day. I’ve learned that to the Jewish people, the hope of Aliyah brings with it the hope that all of God’s promises will be fulfilled, and those hopes are realized when His people are brought home.
In my time here I have also realized that Aliyah is the heart of the story of God and His people. From the beginning of time to the modern-day, the story of our existence has always been about God’s longing to be with His people. Time and time again, the Jewish people have been torn from their land only to be brought back because of God’s love for them. While there were times that God punished Israel for their disobedience, He always made it clear that “I will not remove from him [Israel] my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness. I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips” (Psalm 89: 33-34 ESV). The story of the Lord and His people is a beautiful picture of reunion and reconciliation; I see it as a reminder of God’s love for all of His creation.
Why is this work important?
As I learned more about Aliyah and the Jewish people’s desire to return to the land of Israel, I became more unsure of what to do with this information. As a Gentile I couldn’t see at the time what my role could even be in God’s plan for the Jewish people. I was aware of God’s promises to Israel in the past, and I believed God still had plans for the Jewish people. Still, I had never considered that those plans were in motion today. I decided to accept that God wanted me to serve His people through Operation Exodus USA and to answer a vital question I know many others have asked: Why, as a Gentile, should I spend my days helping the Jewish people?
The answer was simple – I serve the God of Israel.
The God that I worship, praise, and seek to serve is the same God that brought the Jewish people out of Egypt and the same God who said He would gather His people from across the world back to the Promised Land. Through the prophet Isaiah the Lord has called upon the Gentiles to “prepare the way for the people…” (Isaiah 62:10 ESV) so that His chosen people might return to the land He promised them. I have spent my life pursuing God and wanting to serve Him wherever He would have me, and I believe He is calling me to help the Jewish people return home.
Ultimately, I choose to help the Jewish people to bring glory to our God. Time and time again, when the Lord has brought His people back to the Promised Land, it was done for His glory. Making the way for the Jewish people to return to Israel will reveal the glory of God, and as a result of this great Aliyah, “…the nations will know that I am the Lord…” (Ezekiel 36:23 ESV). I want to serve the Lord and His chosen people to that end, for His name’s sake.
The journey of discovery and understanding I started at the end of last year has not ended. I am still praying and seeking the Lord to understand His purposes and His eternal plan better. Still, I am confident that this great regathering of the Jewish people is a part of God’s will. I praise God for this revelation and for allowing me to contribute towards fulfilling the promises He made to His people. If you’re new to all of this like I am, I encourage you to pray and seek God for understanding and revelation. The further you travel on this journey, the deeper your understanding of God’s heart will become.
Let all glory and honor and praise be to our Lord! He is a faithful and loving God who will not abandon His people!