“Next year in Jerusalem”

Arno Froese

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah” (Jeremiah 31:31).

We immediately note that this is directed toward the house of Israel and the house of Judah. What is this new covenant? It is the covenant based exclusively on the blood of the Lamb; thus, replacing the covenant of the old, which continually required the blood of animals. 

Verse 32 explains: “Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD.” The reason for the new covenant is that Israel did the unthinkable: “my covenant they brake.”

We do well to read this chapter carefully and note the first verse: “At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.” That is the promise of the new covenant, which does not require Israel to fulfill certain obligations in order to attain it. This, incidentally, reminds those who are born again of the Spirit of God from among the Gentiles, that we have not earned our salvation but it was given to us freely. Ephesians 2:8-9 testifies: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

When occupying ourselves with the Jewish nation Israel, we must always keep in mind God’s unconditional promise for them: “they shall be my people.”

During the Jewish absence from the Promised Land, they never forgot Zion. From generation to generation, at the end of the Passover Seder and the end of the Yom Kippur service, they would proclaim or sing, L’Shana Haba’ah B’Yerushalayim (“Next year in Jerusalem”). Jews have always lived in Jerusalem, with 3,000 plus years of proven records. Even as they were dispersed all over the world, on all continents and in virtually every country on planet earth, the yearning, “Next year in Jerusalem” was kept alive.

The great majority of Jews were not necessarily religious; thus, the first mass exodus to the land of Israel came from the non-religious camp. 

The desire to return to Jerusalem gave birth to Zionism. It was established as a political organization in 1897 by Theodor Herzl in Basel, Switzerland. JewishHistory.org reports: 

Most historians identify five waves of immigration of Jews to the Land of Israel. The First Aliyah—the first of these waves—covers the period from 1881 to 1901. This 20 year timeframe preceded official Zionism, which Theodore Herzl inaugurated in 1897.

It is significant that its participants did not give their movement a non-descript, generic name such as The Jewish Society for Re-colonization of the Holy Land. They gave it a name based on a biblical verse. Even though theirs was in effect a secular movement, it was built upon a religious impetus and feeling. The verse summarized their entire philosophy: It was time to get up and leave the Diaspora, the Exile.

Why, we may ask, did they wait 2,000 years? We find the answer in Ezekiel 36, where the prophet is ordered to “prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD.” That is somewhat strange; it does not speak to the people. Further down we read why the topographical land is addressed first: The land is being prepared for the people. Thus, we read in verse 8: “But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come.”

There is more. The Jewish people had to have the courage to do something they hadn’t done for 2,000 years: be farmers and soldiers. Thus, God had to intervene supernaturally. We read: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). Even today, a Jew in Israel is incomparable to a Jew in the Diaspora. They have received a new heart and a new spirit.

But that’s not the end; verse 27 declares that this is not only a new spirit, but also “my spirit.” That is God’s goal with His people, and He will bring it to pass in His time.

Summarizing the short history of modern Israel, we see that the motivation was not exclusively religious, but self-determination. Interestingly, it was the Soviet Union (atheists) which greatly contributed weapons to the Jews to defend themselves. At that time, the UK and the USA had an arms embargo on Middle East countries and territories. Later, as Israel progressed and did not become a communist state, they leaned heavily on the French for weapons. The Six Day War was primarily won with French-supplied Mirage jet fighters. That friendship did not last long, and France also placed an arms embargo against Israel. A little later in 1968, US President Johnson agreed to sell Phantom jet fighters to Israel.

Today, the tables have turned completely. The US heavily depends on military technology developed and proven in Israel. The Jewish nation has become a power to be reckoned with, with superior military expertise, not to mention their advances in agricultural science and the ever-growing high-tech industry. 

However, all the developments are of a temporary nature. In Jeremiah 31, God guarantees the existence of Israel based on the universe. Verse 36 reads: “If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.”

Midnight Call - 01/2024

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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