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Israel’s Lost Tribes: More Prophecy, Dramatically Fulfilled

Lost Tribes on Eagles' Wings

How Alaska Airlines helped avert a holocaust in Yemen–in dramatic fulfillment of Bible prophecy!

“Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations,
And set up My standard for the peoples;
They shall bring your sons in their arms,
And your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders….” (Is 49:22)

I’ll come back to one of my themes: we live in amazing days, when prophecies are flying off the Bible’s pages and into the headlines! Today I have a colorful story for you–it’s the first of three posts on yet another dramatic prophetic fulfillment the Lord is unveiling before this generation. (The second post is here.) Sadly, so few have eyes to see! 🙁


The “Lost Tribes” of Israel

More than 1400 years before Christ, Moses predicted that the Jews would be scattered among the nations. He also predicted they would ultimately return.

“The Lord your God will… gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it…” (Deut 30:3-5)

Here’s the biblical / historical backdrop:

The original 12-tribe kingdom of Israel—founded under King Saul and expanded under the rule of David and his son Solomon—was ultimately split into two nations after Solomon’s death…. The northern kingdom (varyingly referred to by the Old Testament prophets as “Israel” or “Ephraim”),… [and] the southern kingdom (which the prophets simply called “Judah”), with Jerusalem as its capital….

The northern kingdom was ultimately invaded and completely conquered by the Assyrian Empire in 722 B.C. Whenever the Assyrians conquered a nation, it was their practice to forcibly relocate most of the conquered people to other portions of their vast empire—and to settle that area with other conquered people….

Roughly 135 years after the fall of the northern kingdom, Judah was also conquered. The Babylonians, which had by that time replaced the Assyrians as the dominant world empire, carried all the best and brightest of the Judean kingdom into captivity.

Rabbi Jonathan Bernis

Twelve Tribes of Israel
The twelve tribes, ca. 1200 B.C.
Source: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Most of these disbursed Jews never returned to the land. Only a remnant of the inhabitants of the kingdom of Judah (tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Simeon) came back from the Babylonian exile, as chronicled in the books of Nehemiah, Ezra and Zechariah. And those were scattered again by the Romans in 135 A.D., as Yeshua himself prophecied.

For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:23-24)

The nine tribes that inhabited the northern kingdom, taken into captivity by the Assyrians, never returned to the land. But the prophets beginning with Moses promise that in the last days all the people will be regathered to the land, where they will become again a single nation.

The Lord your God will… gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it… (Deut 30:3-5)

Thus says the Lord God: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again.” (Ezek 37:21-22)

“Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I will be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone…. I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.” (Ez 11:16-17)

The Jewish people have a word for returning to the land: aliyah (עֲלִיָּה), to ascend. The Lord’s miraculous regathering process began around the start of the twentieth century, but it accelerated greatly after the Holocaust, and after the U.N. established the State of Israel, where the Lord “set up My standard for His peoples” in 1948.


The “Irish Moses”

I’d like to share a colorful story of this regathering from late 1948—a story that earned an American the nickname “The Irish Moses.”

It started, perhaps, with a bit of opportunism. In 1947, James A. Wooten, an experienced air cargo executive, got hired to turn around scrappy Alaska Airlines. The airline was $350,000 in debt, but it counted among its assets a newly acquired fleet of war-surplus aircraft (Douglas C-47s, a.k.a. DC-3s, and C-54s, a.k.a. DC-4s). These planes had been de-commissioned after WWII and the War Assets Administration was selling them for a song. Wooten added more aircraft to this fleet and went in search of profitable contracts with which to keep it busy. He proved successful in snagging contracts for the airline to carry freight and operate charters around the world.

It also started with a sincere desire to “do the right thing”—one of Wooten’s catchphrases. Wooten was a lifelong Baptist. During his tenure, Alaska charters had already participated in the Berlin Airlift of 1948, running critical supplies into blockaded West Berlin—and, reportedly, ferrying German brides of U.S. soldiers out. The airline also helped extract thousands of Holocaust refugees from Shanghai’s Jewish Ghetto as the Communists took over the city—where 20,000 Jews had taken refuge from Hitler, the most of any single city—and carried them to Israel.

Enter an organization called the American Joint Distribution Committee with a pressing need. In the wake of the formation of the State of Israel, anti-Jewish fervor ran rampant through the Arab world. 55,000 Jewish residents of Yemen were now threatened by pogroms which had already claimed 80 lives.

Nomadic Jews had lived in Yemen for centuries as dhimmis, despised non-Muslims subject to heavy fines, contempt and persecution. Despite all this, they had continued to observe the faith of their fathers. In the decades following World War I, religious persecution increased. Yemeni Jews were not allowed to walk on pavements. They could not testify against a Muslim in court. Jewish orphans were forcibly converted to Islam.

The Israeli government was seeking a contractor who could airlift Yemini Jews to safety in Israel. Thousands of Jewish refugees left the nomadic life they knew and walked hundreds of miles through the desert to reach the point of embarkation–a transit camp the JDC had set up in the neighboring British Protectorate of Aden. By the time they got there, they were in desperate straits.

Yemini Jews Trek to AdenA Yemenite Jewish family crosses open desert to reach the transit camp at Aden. Source: Wikimedia.

The Alaska flight crews received this charge:

They’re sick and we don’t have the people to take care of them. They are hungry, but we don’t have food to feed them. They need clothes, but we have none to give them. We can’t protect them; we don’t have the people to protect them. They are fair game for the local Arabs. The pogrom had been going on; over 80 have been killed already. Get them out of here as quickly as you can…

At the transit camp many of these nomads had their first experiences with electricity, medicines, running water and toilets. Retired Captain Elgen Long, who flew in the operation, recalls,

They had no luggage. Most of them didn’t even have shoes…. They walked barefoot through the desert to get here. Some came from Sana’a, [235] miles away.

Jewish Yemenite motherA very young Yemenite Jewish mother with her children, at the transit camp in Aden. Source: Wikimedia.

The situation was dire. The Yemenis needed to be moved without delay. Resourceful flight crews stripped the planes of their seats and installed benches to increase their capacity from 60 to 150 passengers per flight—no seatbelts. Tanks for extra fuel were installed in the aisle between the benches.

But then came the next challenge—getting nomads who had never seen an airplane to board one. Their rabbis reminded them of God’s promises:

“Behold, I will lift My hand in an oath to the nations,
And set up My standard for the peoples;
They shall bring your sons in their arms,
And your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders….” (Is 49:22)

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. (Is 40:31)

The rabbis assured the people the gentiles from America were going to carry them to Israel on eagle’s wings, exactly as the Lord had promised. “This,” the rabbis told the people, “is your eagle.” The airline painted an eagle with outstretched wings above the aircraft doors to reinforce the message.

Yemeni Jews wait to board a plane at the airstrip at Aden.

The work was arduous. The flight crews toiled twenty hours a day. The daily route began in Asmara, Eritrea, where Alaska was able to purchase fuel from the British. Then to Aden to pick up the passengers. Then up the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba to Tel Aviv.  The journey from Aden to Israel was 1400 miles long, mostly over hostile territory. They couldn’t leave the planes in Tel Aviv overnight for fear of enemy bombing, so they would fly on to Cyprus to catch a few hours’ rest before repeating the route the next day.

The work was also dangerous. Alaska’s planes were targeted by Egyptian anti-aircraft fire. The desert sand was hard on the equipment, yet pilots were warned in strictest terms that an emergency landing in enemy territory was likely to cost the lives of all aboard.

Chief Pilot Robert F. Maguire Jr. once had to make an emergency landing in Port Sudan, Egypt. The quick-witted Maguire requested that ambulances be brought immediately. “I have smallpox on board,” he told the Egyptians. The ruse worked. The Egyptians declined to board the “infected” plane and were quick to supply the needed fuel to get it back on its way.

In a little more than a year, some 400 flights evacuated 40,000 to 50,000 Yemenite Jews to new lives in Israel. While some aspects of the operation have engendered significant controversy, the role Alaska Airlines and its determined flight crews played has garnered only praise.

It was David Ben-Gurion who nicknamed Robert Maguire the “Irish Moses” for his role in bringing Jewish refugees to the promised land.

Next week, I’ll continue the dramatic story of the prophetic return of the lost tribes. (The second installment is here.) God’s still working His plan even now! But in parting this week, I’d like to interrupt this standard programming to say…


A Few Words About Wildfires

As of this  morning, the fast-moving Mendocino Complex Fire has become the largest in California history–after only ten days. Hundreds of thousands of acres are on fire. It has eclipsed last year’s Thomas Fire, and started to edge the Carr Fire from the headlines.

The vicious Carr Fire near Redding, California, has already torched more than 121,000 acres, an area larger than Denver, since igniting on July 23. Flames have destroyed more than 1,000 homes in and around Redding, a town 200 miles north of San Francisco and home to 90,000 residents. Carr is now the seventh most destructive fire in state history… Carr is so large and so hot, it has created its own weather system and melted boats on Whiskeytown Lake. Residents reported seeing fire tornadoes, and the rising smoke and ash created towering, dark pyrocumulus clouds. As of Thursday morning, the fire is only 35 percent contained, and firefighting costs have already reached $24 million.

It’s an alarming echo of last year’s devastating fire season, which charred more than 10 million acres, making it one of the worst years in more than three decades. California suffered its largest wildfire ever, the Thomas Fire, which engulfed an area 1.6 times the size of New York City.

– Vox Media, 8/2/18, here and here

Disastrous California Wildfires

California wildfires of 2017. Each dot represents a distinct fire. Photo: By Phoenix7777 via Wikipedia.

Here’s a tally of the heart-breaking toll from the California wildfires last year, which were the deadliest wildfire disaster in California history:

  • A staggering 1,381,405 acres gone
  • Forty-six lives lost: one firefighter and 45 civilians
  • More than 200 injured: 12 firefighters and 199 civilians injured
  • The cost of the 2017 wildfire season is estimated at more than $13B

…and that’s in California alone. ☹ I’ve yet to find a good tally of the toll of 2017 wildfires nationwide—or worldwide. Last year also saw record-setting wildfires decimate areas of Spain and Portugal, Canada and Brazil.

I’ve mentioned this on this blog a couple of times because it just really strikes me–so I apologize in advance to any who might have read it here before….

Not quite two years ago, after wildfires ravaged Tennessee, an employee cleaning up at Dolly Parton’s Dollywood attraction found this–a lone page ripped from a Bible–under a charred bench:

Pages from Joel Found at Dollywood

It’s a page from the Book of Joel. The verses that were legible were:

Joel 1:15
The day of the LORD is near, the day when destruction comes from the Almighty. How terrible that day will be!

Joel 1:19
To you, LORD, I call, for fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness and flames have burned up all the trees of the field.

Joel 1:20
Even the beasts of the field pant for you because the water brooks are dried up, and fire has devoured the pastures of the wilderness.

And at the bottom, barely legible:

Joel 2:1
Blow ye the trumpet [shofar] in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand;

The context of this passage is part of what makes this so eerie. If you’re not familiar with the book of Joel, it’s a stern warning of impending judgment, and a last-chance call for repentance. The details of that judgment are a little mysterious. It takes the form of a locust infestation that is not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture. However, like many Hebrew scriptures, the book of Joel will apparently have multiple fulfillments. Jesus cites it in reference to His second coming (Matt 24:29), and both Peter and John allude to prophecies from the book of Joel relating to the end of days (Acts 2:19-21, Rev 6:12). I also think you could argue that God Himself gave this passage a fresh context, by allowing this charred page to:

  1. Survive a forest fire in Tennessee, to
  2. Be recovered by a young Christian man who would understand its significance and broadcast the story!

This find gave the young man “goosebumps.” In view of the wildfires that have raged around the world in the two seasons since, and all the other signs that we’re in the last of last days, me too.

Wildfires have almost become a year-round threat in some parts of the western United States. From Colorado to California, it feels like the blazes from last year never went out. Flames ignited forests and chaparral virtually nonstop in 2017, and the year ended with record infernos in Southern California that burned well into 2018.

Officials don’t refer to “fire seasons anymore but rather to fire years,” Jennifer Jones, a spokesperson for the National Interagency Fire Center, told me in an email.

Vox Media, 8/2/18

 

If you’ve never opened God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus (Rom 3:23, 6:23), please please please be persuaded to do it now! It’s simple. Just tell God from your heart that you admit you’re a sinner that needs a Savior (“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom 3:23) that you’re done running your own life, and that you’re ready to make Jesus Lord of your life.

If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” (Rom 10:9-11)

The decision that saves you is that simple!

Simple… But no one said living it out will be easy. Especially now, in these last days.

10 Comments

  1. rose says:

    LInda, this is amazing info. I can see you doing a romance novel set around the Shanghai ghetto which I had never heard of until this article! Love the story about the pilot who cried “smallpox!” Lots of writing to do!

    • Thanks, Rose! I actually am thinking of something kind of like that… 🙂 I never heard of it either, honestly, until researching this article. One of those strange corners of history! During the 30s, many nations closed themselves to Jewish immigration. China was one of the few that did not. It was difficult for Jews from Eastern Europe to get that far, but if they somehow did, there was an open door for them.

  2. Caethy Tuvalu says:

    Prophecy full filled!

  3. Delta Howard says:

    I love reading your story’s, I can’t wait to hear what you tell us. I know it’s from Gods word, and The Holy Sprit in you!! God Bless you and keep on going!

  4. Jan Holtrop says:

    Thankyou Linda! Your research is wonderful!!

    • Hi, Jan! Thank you very much for the kind words. This post was a little different, and I wasn’t sure what people would think, so thank you very much for the encouragement. God bless!

  5. Beverly Cheevers says:

    Linda, I learn so much and am always encouraged when I read your posts. Thank you especially for the clear Gospel presentation you make at the end of each one. May the Lord continue to bless you and increase your audience for His glory.

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