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Wednesday
Apr112018

National Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel

Last night Holocaust Remembrance Day commenced in Israel with ceremonies in every city and town. We heard the testimonies of survivors, and their children and grandchildren. We also heard stories of those who didn't survive. Many of the survivors, having lost all in Europe, made their way to Palestine, determined to rebuild this country as a homeland for the Jewish people, 2,000 years after being expelled from the land by the Roman Empire. The following text is taken from Derek Prince's book, "Promised Land."

My introduction to the people of Israel coincided with one of the most tragic and critical periods in their long and often tragic history. The unutterable horror of the holocaust was just beginning to make its full impact upon the Jewish community around the world, but nowhere to a greater degree than the Land of Israel.

In spite of a blockade imposed by the British Army and Navy, a trickle of Jewish survivors from Europe was making its way by various routes to Palestine. I found myself, almost against my will, listening to accounts of suffering and cruelty that I had never believed possible. From time to time, I witnessed the reunion of family members who had been separated from each other in Europe, but had somehow escaped, to meet again in Israel.

My exposure to Israel's geography had already given a new direction to my study of the Bible. Now my firsthand exposure to this aspect of Israel's history was even more revolutionary in its impact upon me. I began to discover countless passages in almost all the Old Testament prophets predicting that, before the present age comes to close, there is to be a great ingathering of Jewish people from all over the world to the Land of Israel. Nor were these predicions confined to the Old Testament. I discovered corresponding passages in the teaching of Jesus in the New Testament, which indicate that the closing drama of the present age will be inacted in the Land of Israel.

Up to this time, I had viewed such passages as vague, almost Utopian pictures that somehow inspired hope of a better age to come. Now, however, I saw that they were precise, specific predictions that were being fulfilled before my eyes. In many of these predictions, certain salient features were singled out for mention, just as if the writer himself had been an eye witness.

I found many examples of this in the prophet Jeremiah. One passage became particularly vivid for me:

"Return, faithless people," declares the Lord, "for I am your husband. I will choose one of you from every town and two from every clan and bring you to Zion... In those days the house of Judah will join the rest of the house of Israel, and together they will come from a northern land to the land I gave your forefathers as an inheritance." (Jeremiah 3:14, 18)

This passage emphasizes the return of the Israelites from "a northern land" to the land God had given to their forefathers. Indisputably, the latter is the land of Israel. "A northern land" would include Russia, Poland, Germany, and other countries in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. In 1946, that was precisely the area from which the majority of Jewish reugees were making their way to Israel.

What particularly impressed me was the detail "one from every town and two from every clan." This corresponded exactly with what I was hearing from Jewish people around me. Many times a survivor's story would go like this: "I'm the only one in our family from Berlin who survived. But I've met just one other member of the family who has also survived - my uncle from Hannover." 

In each story, the name of the town might differ. The country might be Poland or Austria, rather than Germany. Rather than an uncle, it might be a married sister, or a cousin, or a nephew. But the essential feature of Jeremiah's prophecy remained the same: "One from every town and two from every clan."

In most cases, I felt sure, these Jewish people had no idea they were quoting the words of one of their own prophets, who predicted 2,500 years beforehand, the very events they had lived through.

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