Current Status Of The Worldwide Return And The Other Promised Lands -- By: Eugene J. Mayhew

Journal: Michigan Theological Journal
Volume: MTJ 05:1 (Spring 1994)
Article: Current Status Of The Worldwide Return And The Other Promised Lands
Author: Eugene J. Mayhew


Current Status Of The Worldwide Return And The Other Promised Lands

Eugene J. Mayhew

Tracking the progress of the return of the Jews to the Promised Land since the First Zionist Congress in 1897 reveals a number of important factors, which taken together, demonstrates that this is indeed the worldwide return that the prophets wrote so diligently about over 2, 500 years ago. However, over the past century, many attempts have been made at establishing alternative ‘promised lands’ because of the Arab domination of Palestine until 1948.1 As the centennial anniversary of the 1897 Basel Program quickly approaches, how is the worldwide return progressing and what is the status of the alternative promised land attempts?

The People Gathered From The Nations

Growth By Aliyah.

Within Judaism, aliyah is the term used for Jews who decide to return from the dispersion to live in the Promised Land. This word means “ascension” or “going up” and came to refer to those who made the move out of the diaspora to resettle in Israel (Ezra 1:5).2 Individuals who do “go up” hence, the “go uppers” are called in Hebrew the olim. This designation for the returnees became popular and was drawn from several biblical passages where

descendants of Jacob returned to the Promised Land, such as Joseph and his family when they went from Egypt to the burial cave near Mamre in Canaan to bury Jacob. Moses stated in Genesis 50:14, “And after he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, he and his brothers, and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.”

A very specific passage that this idea springs from is Ezra 2:1: “Now these are the people of the province who came up out of the captivity of the exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away to Babylon, and returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his city.”3

Since 1897, several million Jews have made the tough decision to do their aliyah and become part of the worldwide return. The Encyclopedia Judaica lists ten reasons why aliyah has taken place:

1) obedience to divine commands to return;

2) desire to study the Torah in Israel;

3) belief that burial in Israel brings privileges;

4) belief that mitzvot can only be fulfilled in Israel;

5) persecution in the diaspora;

6)...

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