The word diaspora means to scatter about. That’s exactly what happened to the Jews living in the land of Israel in fulfillment of the ancient prophecy of Deuteronomy 28:25. As a result of generational disobedience, Moses gave this prophetic warning, “The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies, you shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them; and you shall become troublesome to all the kingdoms of the earth.”
The first diaspora occurred around the year 722 BC when the Assyrians attacked the ten northern tribes of Israel and carried the people into captivity. A little over one-hundred years later, a second diaspora happened with the invasion of the southern kingdom of Judah by the Babylonians. Most of the population in and around Jerusalem was carried into captivity at that time, only to return seventy-years later.
The next diaspora occurred in AD 70 when the Roman general, Titus, attacked Jerusalem and destroyed the temple. This attack occurred on the exact same date the Babylonians destroyed the first temple in 586 BC. Many Jews were killed, and most survivors were taken as Roman slaves.
The final diaspora occurred about fifty years later when the the Roman Emperor, Hadrian, attacked to put down a Jewish revolt. The conflict resulted in the major depopulation of Jews from Israel. In his determination to erase even the memory of Israel, Hadrian changed the name to Syria Palaestina. He even changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina. Jerusalem was then rebuilt as a Roman Colony dedicated to Jupiter, and Jews were forbidden to enter the city.
For nearly two-thousand years the Jewish people have been scattered throughout the nations without a homeland. And then events began to occur in the early twentieth-century which led to the rebirth of the State of Israel in their ancient homeland in May, 1948.
That brings us to the next word, Aliyah, a Hebrew word that means “ascent, going up.” Aliyah is the name given to the modern phenomenon of Jewish people returning to their biblical homeland. They are literally going up to Jerusalem.
Jews are returning to Israel in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 43:5-6, “Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west; I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ And to the south, ‘Do not keep them back!’ Bring My sons from afar; and My daughters from the ends of the earth.”
God Himself is bringing the Jewish people home to the land He gave to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This is just another sign of the times pointing to the nearness of the Lord’s return. At the Second Coming, Jesus Christ the Messiah will return. He will descend upon the Mount of Olives and will triumphantly enter the city of Jerusalem as the promised Messiah. As one author pointed out, “He will reveal Himself to His Jewish brothers by the Holy Spirit just as Joseph revealed himself to his brothers in Egypt.” What a moment that will be!
Diaspora is historical fact. Aliyah is present reality. The Second Coming of Christ is our future hope. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
Pastor Todd Weston