"The word of the LORD came to me: 'What do you see, Jeremiah?' 'I see the branch of an almond tree,' I replied. The LORD said to me, 'You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled'" (Jer. 1:11-12, NIV).
This almond tree will help us unlock Jeremiah's prophecies about Ukraine.
One of the things we know about almond blossoms is that they take five to 12 years before they begin producing fruit. The same is true about Jeremiah's prophecies — we can expect some variation in the timing of their fulfillment. Some things will take a longer time and others will happen more quickly. However, what we do know is that God is watching to ensure that every prophecy will come to pass in the right time.
In that light, Christian Life Missions, the ministry partner of Charisma Media, is focusing on helping Ukrainian Jews make Aliyah to Israel. It is helping to eradicate anti-Semitism by building bridges and encouraging Jews and Christians to work together to fulfill God's plans for Israel and the nations.
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Historically, when Jeremiah began to prophesy, he spoke a word from the Lord to the Jewish people who were alive at that time and who were later exiled to a country called Babylonia (later conquered by the Persians).
But because biblical prophecy is cyclical — which means it goes in cycles, like a wheel within a wheel — there is a second cycle of prophecy that is addressed to us in our current day and time about things that are literally happening to us now. I believe some of these prophetic words point to the current situation in Ukraine. Of course, there are also other cycles of prophecy by Jeremiah that will be fulfilled by God at some point in the future.
A New Passover
First, Jeremiah prophesied that there would be another Passover — a second exodus — when the Lord would again bring His people into the Promised Land.
"'However, the days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when it will no longer be said, "As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt," but it will be said, "As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them." For I will restore them to the land I gave their ancestors'" (Jer. 16:14-15, NIV).
The first Passover brought the children of Israel out from Egypt, where they were slaves. This second Passover will bring them out of the land of the north, where they are exiles.
I believe the "land of the north" refers to Ukraine — which, if you look at any map, is located directly north of Israel.
We also know this new Passover was not fulfilled in Jeremiah's day because Babylon is more or less east of Jerusalem, and Babylonia itself extends farther to the south. And this prophecy refers specifically to "the land of the north" and to the Jews who had been scattered there.
How many Jewish people presently live in the land of the north? We know that some 1.2 million Jewish people made their Aliyah to Israel from the former Soviet Union in the 1990s, leaving perhaps 600,000 Jews in Russia and that many again in the Soviet bloc nations. Of these 1 million Jewish people, 75,000 were in Ukraine before the war began in February 2022 — and already thousands have made their way home to Israel.
Why did God allow such a widespread scattering of His people in the first place? People often ask me that question, and the answer may surprise you. Psalm 22:3 tells us that God "inhabits the praises of Israel" (MEV). This scattering was part of God's plan of salvation — He permitted this great diaspora because He wants the whole world to know about Him!
"All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations" (Ps. 22:27-28, NIV).
This is not just about the nation of Israel. God scattered His people to all the nations so that every nation would understand what He is doing and have a part in this story!
Fishing and Hunting
Second, Jeremiah also prophesied that when the Lord brings His people "up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them," that He would "restore them to the land [He] gave their ancestors" (Jer. 16:15, NIV). How will He do this? He will send fishermen and hunters.
"'But now I will send for many fishermen,' declares the LORD, 'and they will catch them. After that I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them down on every mountain and hill and from the crevices of the rocks'" (Jer. 16:16, NIV).
Although these prophetic words may refer to "fishermen" and "hunters" that were in some way connected with Babylon in Jeremiah's day, they definitely point to the "fishing" and "hunting" that we see happening right now.
For instance, I view the work of our Aliyah Return Center with new Jewish immigrants to Israel as a clear example of "fishing." In our case, what we use to attract them — our fishing lure — is the "bait" of free housing (the Hebrew word for house is even bayit!).
And what we see happening now in places like Russia and Iran is "hunting" in the sense that Jewish people are being driven from cover and pushed out into the open. All of the sad examples of anti-Semitism we see in the world today reflect this kind of hunting.
And right now, this prophecy is being fulfilled before our eyes in living color as we watch the conflict in Ukraine drive the Jewish people from their homes and push them from the land of the north toward Israel.
A North Wind Blowing
Finally, Jeremiah speaks prophetically of four winds. These winds are God's appointed messengers. Psalm 104:4 tells us that "He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants" (NIV).
"I will bring against Elam the four winds from the four quarters of heaven; I will scatter them to the four winds, and there will not be a nation where Elam's exiles do not go" (Jer. 49:36, NIV).
And in these days prophesied by Jeremiah, I believe a north wind from Ukraine is blowing — not a wind that scatters but a wind that gathers. I believe we are that wind today, and together it is our privilege to be part of this great gathering of God's people from every nation, when the Lord will inhabit the praises of all His people. This is what I call the Jeremiah factor.
"'The days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. ... I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people'" (Jer. 31:31-33, NIV).
Co-founder and chairman of the board of directors at the charity Aliyah Return Center (ARC), Chaim Malespin is a passionate visionary who strives to educate Christians and lovers of Israel from around the world about the Hebrew roots of the Christian faith. With a vision to eradicate anti-Semitism by building bridges and encouraging Jews and Christians to work together to fulfill God's plans for Israel and the nations, Chaim and the ARC ministry focus on education, infrastructural development, innovation and Aliyah. ARC is an Israel-based nonprofit organization dedicated to providing practical assistance to "olim" (immigrants), helping them to get settled and put down roots in their new homeland. "Aliyah" is the Hebrew word for "return," which refers to the immigration of Jews to their ancient homeland. For more information about the work of ARC, visit aliyahreturncenter.com/en.
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