Aliyah - Part II
The Journey To Jerusalem - Part II
n part I of the present series on Aliyah, we pointed out how the term has come to be utilized as a way of describing the decision to make a religious pilgrimage to Jerusalem. A complex subject, the word itself means "ascent," and has been historically used in Zionist circles to describe the choice to migrate to Israel in a broad sense, with Jerusalem in view in a more focused sense.
Thus, the word Aliyah can reference a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in a contemporary context, or it can be associated with a permanent immigration to the land of Israel in a historical context. Both are driven by a Spiritual worldview which generates a desire to belong to the identity known as Israel.
As the Aliyah to the land of Israel is associated with the concept of going up to Jerusalem (hence the literal meaning of "ascent"), there is also a recognition inherent in the term concerning the idea of the language of metaphor -- in the sense that pilgrims who gathered in Jerusalem from adjacent lands invariably ascended to higher ground, geographically speaking, where Jerusalem exists at an elevation of well over 2,000 feet.
In previous work, we have detailed how the Scriptures never speak of anyone going "down" to Jerusalem, because the Spiritual layer of divine communication found in the Bible demonstrates a consistency in terms of allegorical understanding. Where it is possible for one to physically travel in a downward fashion to Jerusalem, when traveling from adjacent mountainous positions which would be higher than the fabled city, the Scriptures scrupulously avoid any such reference.
These Spiritually significant, spatially oriented verses run both ways. For example, the New Testament tells how people went down to Caesarea (a city named after the Antichrist figure of Caesar), and never up -- because the Holy Spirit is communicating the need for true believers to make an Aliyah to Jerusalem in a Spiritual sense, as opposed to a physical migration. As a case in point, the Dead Sea locale is below sea level, so anyone travelling to Caesarea (or a host of other place names infused with negative meanings such as Babylon, Egypt, Sodom, etc) could, geographically speaking, be ascending in their journey, there is not a single verse detailing such a sojourn.
Although the practice of Aliyah goes back many centuries, the present state of Israel has only recently codified the acceptance of so called Messianic Jews as "genuine" Jews, in a relatively complex set of legal procedures. Thus, the hypocrisy of Israeli jurisprudence is manifest. As a case in point, while the Jews repeatedly decried various nation's legal obstacles to Aliyah (most notably the Soviet Union's systematic efforts to impede their Jewish citizen's desire to migrate to Israel), simultaneously, the tiny nation continued to block immigration into Israel for people of Jewish descent who had embraced Jesus as their Saviour.
In the virtual explosion of interest in the "Hebrew Roots" movement, wherein Gentile Christians and Messianic Jews (both oxymoronic terms) are supposedly discovering and reveling in their Israelite heritage, even as certain false prophets are claiming this awakening is part of an end time's gathering of Torah observant believers in Yashua, many believers are unaware the idea of Aliyah is actually a very old concept. Indeed, the entire body of history surrounding the Aliyah to the land of Eretz Israel is steeped in Talmudic and Kabbalistic Judaism, and has nothing to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In this regard, a little history is in order.
When Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in the final siege which began in 66 AD, key rabbinical figures realized the nation was about to cease to exist, so they began to work towards what would inevitably be a very long exile -- with a hope that one day, the Jews could return to the land. Few believers recognize the true state of things during the end of the state of Judaea, but God doesn't tell us to speak the truth based on an expectation of how many receive it, we are to declare the truth in season and out of season.
After Jerusalem was destroyed, the Jewish leaders saw the Christian movement, which had already taken root in Rome, as a primary factor in their ruination. In an effort to preserve the identity of Israel, Jewish sages set about to establish a center for study of the Tanakh (the Hebrew Scriptures) in a place called Jabneh. It was during this time (from 70 AD to 135 AD) the manuscripts which later became the Masoretic text were systematically collected, categorized, and canonized.
This effort to codify and close the canon of inspired Old Testament writings was centered around a hope that, one day, the Jews would rise again from the ashes as a people and nation -- and because God had clearly designated Jerusalem as the place in which He had chosen for Himself, to the degree that His law required the Israelites to make an Aliyah to the city coinciding with three of His feasts. As a result of this centrality in the Jewish life, it was natural the great hope of a regathering of the ancient people was focused on Jerusalem.
This point cannot be overemphasized, and it is clear the world still fails to grasp just how deep this is embedded within the Jewish consciousness. When it comes to a single uniting factor in the entity known as Israel, there is only Jerusalem. The Old Testament itself plainly declares that Jerusalem is the city which God has chosen to make Himself known unto Israel:
"Jerusalem, the city which the Lord did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there" (I Kings 14:21).
Thus, the beginning of the urge for Aliyah to Jerusalem can be traced back thousands of years.
Although Jerusalem and the temple system came to a tragic end in 70 AD, the Jews had not yet conceded there would not be a relatively short term repatriation to the sacred city – thus there was an impulse forAliyah present virtually immediately after 70 AD, and on up to 135 AD when a significant effort to retake Jerusalem occurred.
As the rabbinical presence in Jabneh (also called Jamnia) began to take root under the leadership of oneJohannon Ben Zakai, we find evidence the Hebrew, Christ rejecting scribes of this time not only sought to preserve the Jewish faith, but they also sought to manipulate portions of the Scriptures in an effort to stem the wholesale advance of Christianity.
As Ben Zakkai and his successors at Jabneh had no ready avenue to twist the early New Testament documents in order to discredit the belief in Yeshua as the promised Jewish messiah, they instead went after key Old Testament verses which were cited by the Christians as predictive of the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth.
It should be kept in mind that in the first century of Christianity, the Apostles, as well as second and thirdgeneration believers, largely made the case for Christianity based upon the Old Testament. Thus, the Hebrew sages up to 135 AD, not only sought to refute the identity of Jesus as the Messiah, they also stressed the messianic idea that the Saviour of Israel would restore Jerusalem to the Jews, and bring about the prophesied messianic age. This was a way to differentiate their messianic hope from the Gospel.
With Jerusalem under the control of the Romans, the rabbinical custodians, culminating in the work of a famous rabbi named Akiba, clearly saw Christianity as their mortal enemy, and labored to propagate the view that a militant Aliyah to Jerusalem would be associated with their version of the "genuine" messiah. Thus, the concept of Aliyah was, from its earliest manifestation, clearly built around a worldview that rejectedJesus Christ as the Son of God – instead seeking to tie the Jewish recapture of Jerusalem with the arrival of a still unseen Saviour of Israel.
As a result, the Jewish scribes of this era sought to shift the meaning of key words in the text, from what had been their self evident meaning, to the degree that they would be rendered inappropriate to use as a proof text for the emergence of Jesus.
For example, textual authority Gordon Ginn notes how the scribes at Jabneh sought to neutralize the famous passage which predicts that a "virgin" shall conceive, and insert a word which can reference a "young woman." Ginn writes the following:
"The Hebrew word almah in Isaiah 7:14 has several connotations, including young woman, but the Hebrew word bethoolaw in Genesis 24:16 means virgin only" (The Final Apostasy, Prelude to Antichrist, page 100).
Following the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Old Testament composed in 280 BC), the KJV renders it as virgin, but modern translations, such as the corrupt Revised Standard Version, follow the Antichrist scribe's copies, and simply say a "young woman" shall conceive. It's not a coincidence the Jewish attempt to twist "virgin" into young woman in what became the Masoretic text resonated with the Jewish authored blasphemous tract from the same period known as the Toledoth Yesu.
This was the work which claimed Mary was not a virgin, but was illegitimately impregnated by a Roman centurion – a heresy which has repeatedly resurfaced, most notably in the recent book-movie blasphemy known as the DaVinci Code. Conversely, solid Christian scholarship has shown that authorities from an earlier era (such as Flavius Josephus) relied upon the Septuagint when quoting the verse from Isaiah. Other experts, whose Spiritual vision is not impaired with the myth of a Jewish racial primacy, are also aware of the truth. For instance, the venerable William Whiston, the famous Cambridge University author from the 18th century, wrote the following:
"The Jews, about the beginning of the second century of the Gospel, greatly altered and corrupted their Hebrew & Greek copies of the Old Testament, and that in many places on purpose, out of opposition to Christianity" (Memoirs of the Life and writing of Mr. William Whiston, 1749).
Unfortunately, because the Christian body has been feasting on false doctrine for many years, alleged believers are incapable of appreciating the fact the Spirit of Antichrist established a decisive degree of control of the Jewish people at their rejection of Jesus. Not dissimilar to the prophetic cycle seen when Judas Iscariot relinquished control and the Devil entered into him, Satan entered into the Jewish existence on a wholesale level -- and just as Judas was destroyed as a consequence of his decision, the entire nation experienced a Spiritual wound unto death (read the "deadly wound").
At the risk of redundancy, and opposed by the monstrous false doctrine that the Jewish people have somehow retained a "chosen" status based on flesh and blood characteristics designated under the Old Covenant, I'll restate the basics. Israel turned completely from Christ and, accordingly, became inhabited by the Spirit of Antichrist -- a habitation which continues to this very day.
-- James Lloyd
For more on how the law and the prophets anticipate the Spiritual renewal of Israel in the New Covenant, see the online video on THE TRANSLATION OF ISRAEL.