What Would I Have Done? What Can I Do Now If I Had The Chance?

August 21, 2020
Jews Making Aliyah to Israel
Olim coming home to Israel from Ukraine. Photo: courtesy of the Jewish Agency

I have written in previous articles about the fact that Christians have been given specific scriptural directives from our Sovereign God regarding our interaction with our Jewish brethren.

He has grafted us into the Olive Tree, through Messiah, and asks us to lovingly embrace our older brethren, they whose ‘warfare is nearly at an end’ (Isaiah 40:2). In addition to prayer and financial support for the prophetic work being carried out by people of faith in Ukraine, is the Lord calling and equipping us to step with Him into an additional and specific assignment? What will we do to stand with the Jewish people and the Jewish State at this time in history?

The COVID-19 pandemic has propelled many Jews still in the Diaspora to make Aliyah. The work therefore is growing, as is anti-Semitism, and the time is shortening. Many Jews, including Ukrainian Jews, are questioning whether there is a future for them and their children outside of Israel. Surely this is Almighty God’s ongoing dealings with His first-born son and the warning is very clear. First the fishers and then the hunters (Jeremiah 16:16). We are currently in the time of the fishers but the time of the hunters is again very near and approaching rapidly. This is a clear word of warning to the Jewish population and also to Christians.

There are explicit instructions from the Lord concerning the gentile nations’ responsibility to Israel. As Christians we are the flag bearers to this truth. Three directives that move my heart deeply are to comfort His people (Isaiah 40:1); to bring the Jews home from the Diaspora where He drove them in his anger (Jeremiah 32:37; Isaiah 49:22) and to provoke our older Jewish brother to jealousy (Romans 11:14). The rest of God’s dealings with His first-born son
(Exodus 4:21-23) we must leave to Him.

The holocaust in Ukraine (1941-1944) is described as a catastrophe. I was largely unaware of the extent of the disaster prior to visiting this land and having the opportunity to listen to those who were children during those years. Whereas Jews in other countries were deported to gas chambers to be exterminated, the vast majority of Ukraine’s Jews were either shot or starved to death, their bodies left to rot in an unknown number of unmarked graves. In a Kiev ravine, known as Babi Yar, 33,771 Jews were shot in over just two days in September 1941. Elderly Jews who survived these horrific years are now ill, lonely, impoverished and still suffering. The Lord God wants them home and He is beckoning to the gentiles to assist Him.

I therefore invite you to join me on my third visit to volunteer with the Christians for Israel team in Ukraine. There is an option of visiting Israel afterwards where we shall visit a C4I project which assists those leaving Ukraine to begin their new lives in Israel. “Return, O backsliding children,” says the LORD; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion” – Jeremiah 3:14. Surely this is a picture of those who survived the holocaust in European cities, and their descendants— those God is bringing home today.

This is a unique opportunity to show another face of Christianity as we serve those Jewish people still suffering in the Diaspora (Matthew 25:40). Luke 12:48 tells us “to whom much is given, much is expected”. It is easy to assume that only wealthy people have been “given much” but, in truth, we have all been given much (1 Corinthians 4:7). “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” — 1 Peter 4:10; Romans 15:27. In Ukraine we serve with deep humility, love, gentleness, and sensitivity. This is a response emanating from a profound need to repent of the terrible sins perpetrated upon our older Jewish brother over millennia, largely by the so-called church.

Isaiah 49:22 is a call specifically to Christians and serves as a mandate to fulfil that scripture. This prophetic message, written thousands of years ago, is a communication which signals to us today, the generation into which the Lord ordained we would be born. He longs for us to come to an understanding and to take hold of the stunning invitation from the Lord God of Israel Himself, to bring His people home.

Since I have been to Ukraine, the following Scripture from Deuteronomy speaks to me clearly and often. This verse is inscribed on a memorial over a mass grave wherein lies the remains of Jews murdered during the holocaust. It warns me never to forget the horror of that which lies buried here, but also speaks powerfully to future generations of the hope of God’s promised protection and restoration of His people to the Land of Israel, the beating heart of Jewish consciousness.

“However, be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you don’t forget the things which you have seen with your own eyes. Don’t let them fade from your memory as long as you live. Teach them to your children and grandchildren.” – Deuteronomy 4.9

“The work of ‘Bring the Jews Home’ has given numerous Christians an insight into the topicality of God’s promises to Israel. It has opened the eyes of many Christians in the West to the prophetic Word”  (Koen Carlier: Christians for Israel’s Aliyah fieldworker Ukraine).

Judy Russell

Judy Russell is an advocate for Christians for Israel Australia and also leads Study Tours in Israel.

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