The Jews are gone
"And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them." (Ezekiel 37:8)
"And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week." (Daniel 9:27)
If a modern-day Rip Van Winkle were to fall asleep in Aleppo, Syria, in 1910 and wake up in 2010, he would find an amazing and unexpected situation. When he fell asleep, there would be a thriving Jewish community in Aleppo of about 40,000 souls and an active synagogue possessing Hebrew treasures, the chief of which was “The Crown,” the Codex annotated by the great Masorete scribe Aaron Ben Asher. The community has existed in Aleppo since at least the 5th century AD. When our Rip Van Winkle woke up in 2010, all would be gone. He wipes the sleep of a century from his eyes and looks around. The synagogue is still there, but it looks rebuilt. And it is empty. He walks around the old Jewish neighborhood, but there are no Jews. Perplexed, he asks someone, “Where are the Jews?” The answer is that the Jews are gone. “No Jews?” Right, no Jews in Aleppo. “But where are they?” They are gone to Israel. “Israel! What is Israel?” Israel is the Jewish state in Palestine. “Why the Ottomans rule that land, and it is impossible that they would allow a Jewish state to exist there.” Right, but the Ottoman Empire doesn’t exist. The British drove the Ottomans out of Palestine and in 1948, the Jewish state came into being. Now there are —- million Jews living there. That’s where the Jews have gone. They’ve gone home.
Since the 1947 UN vote in favor of partitioning “Palestine” into two states, the Jews have nearly disappeared from Muslim lands where they once existed by the hundreds of thousands. Between 1920 and 1970, 900,000 Jews were expelled from Arab and other Muslim countries. 600,000 settled in Israel (Shmuel Trigano, “The Expulsion of the Jews from Muslim Countries,” Nov. 4, 2010, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs).
In 1948, there were 120,000 Jews in Egypt; as of 2017, 18 elderly Jews remained. The once-bustling Cairo synagogue mostly sits empty. Maimonides’ 12th-century synagogue is visited only by tourists. In 1948, there were 150,000 Jews in Iraq; as of 2016 there were 10. The synagogues and cemeteries are in ruins. In 1948, there were 265,000 Jews in Morocco; as of 2017 there were 2,000. In 1948, there were 105,000 Jews in Tunisia; by 2017 there were 1,700. In 1948, there were 40,000 Jews in Syria; as of 2018 there were 100. In 1948, there were 38,000 Jews in Libya; as of 2017 there were none. In 1948, there were 140,000 Jews in Algeria; as of 2018, there were 50. In 1994, the last remaining synagogue was abandoned. In 1948, there were 55,000 Jews in Yemen; as of 2018 there were 50. In 1979, there were 100,000 Jews in Iran; today there are fewer than 10,000.
Consider the Jews of Cairo. Journalist Matti Friedman, who visited there a few years ago, said, “The Jews have left, driven out by the riots of the 1940s, the fatal bombings in Cairo’s old jewish Quarter, the rise of the pan-Arab nationalism of Gamal Abdel Nasser, state-sanctioned persecution, and the theft of property. Two generations ago the Jewish community in Cairo numbered about sixty-five thousand people; today there are a few dozen, all of them elderly. Within a few years there will be none. … In central Cairo is an area of market streets still known as the Jewish Quarter, though there are no Jews there” (The Aleppo Codex, p. 93).
This is a major sign of the times. Most of these Jews did not want to move to Israel. They were forced out by persecution and oppression, by violence and robbery. They don’t know what is happening, but God does. It’s time for the return described in Ezekiel 37:8, which is the return in spiritual deadness in preparation for national conversion. It is time for the return described in Daniel 9:27 which sets the stage for the covenant with the Antichrist and the building of the Third Temple, all of which is necessary preparation for the return of Christ to establish the kingdom promised by the prophets.
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