For more than three centuries, Christians in Britain had nourished a vision, based on the Bible, that God desired to make of the Jewish people a sovereign nation once again in their own land. The church leaders’ interest in the restoration had a background in the prophecies of the Old Testament, and were driven by the subsequent return of our Lord Jesus Christ, their interpretation of Scripture, a sense of justice, the desire to rectify the wrongs committed by Christians against God’s chosen people, and a feeling of sympathy for the Jews and their aspirations.
For example, when John Owen (1616 – 24 August 1683) who was a theologian, pastor and academic administrator at the University of Oxford, was preaching before the House of Commons in 1649, he spoke of “the bringing home of His ancient people to be one fold with the fullness of the Gentiles…in answer to millions of prayers put up at the throne of grace for this very glory, in all generations.
Revivalist and founder of the Methodist Church John Wesley stated in his notes on Romans:
So many prophecies refer to this grand event (of the restoration of Israel), that it is surprising any Christian can doubt of it. And these are greatly confirmed by the wonderful preservation of the Jews as a distinct people to this day. When it is accomplished, it will be so strong a demonstration, both of the Old and New Testament revelation, as will doubtless convince many thousands of Deists, in countries nominally Christian.
Robert Murray M’Cheyne (21 May 1813 – 25 March 1843)
In 1839 the Church of Scotland sent a delegation, including R. M. M’Cheyne, to the Holy Land on a mission of enquiry. Upon his return, he preached a sermon in Dundee on “Our Duty to Israel,” in which he said:
The greatest glory and joy anyone can experience is to be like God, and to care first for the Jews is to be like God…. The whole Bible shows that God has a special affection for Israel…. There are some, of course, who will say that God has a special affection for Israel…others say that God has finished with Israel. But the whole Bible contradicts such as an idea: Did God reject His people? By no means! (Romans 11:1)…. They will give life to the dead world: The remnant of Jacob will be in the midst of many peoples like the dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass, which do not wait for man or linger from mankind (Micah 5:7)
Bishop J. C. Ryle (10 May 1816 – 10 June 1900)
In May 1868 Bishop J. C. Ryle of the Church of England, and one of the prominent Bible teachers of the last 200 years, preached a sermon at Rectory Church, Mary-le-Bone, entitled “Scattered Israel to be Re-gathered,” using Jeremiah 31:10 as his text. In it he said,
However great the difficulties surrounding many parts of unfulfilled prophecy, two points appear to my own mind to stand out as plainly as if written by a sunbeam. One of these points is the second personal advent of our Lord Jesus Christ before the Millennium. The other of these points is the future literal gathering of the Jewish nation, and their restoration to their own land.
He goes on to say,
Out of the sixteen prophets of the Old Testament, there are at least ten in which the gathering and restoration of the Jews in the latter days are expressly mentioned. I believe there is one common remark that applies to them all. They all point to a time which is yet in the future. They all predict the final gathering of the Jewish nation from the four quarters of the globe, and their restoration to their own land…. I ask you, then, to settle it firmly in your mind, that when God says a thing shall be done, we ought to believe it.
Charles H. Spurgeon (1834–1892)
Considered to be England’s most influential non-conformist preacher, Charles Spurgeon voiced the question of the restoration of Israel as well. He linked the restoration of the nation of Israel with their acceptance of Christ as their Messiah. “It is certain that the Jews, as a people, will yet own Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of David as their King,” he said, “and that they will return to their own land, and they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the old cities, the desolations of many generations.” Spurgeon reminded his listeners:
If the dispersion was a mark of God’s judgment, according to the prophets, then Israel’s return to the land is the mark of God’s grace. In fact, so astounding will be the future return of Israel that it will make the exodus from Egypt seem small in comparison.
The London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst Jews, which later came to be known as The Church’s Ministry Among Jewish People, was also founded in 1809. The society began in the early nineteenth century when leading evangelicals, including members of the influential Clapham Sect, such as William Wilberforce and Charles Simeon, decided that there was an unmet need to promote Christianity among the Jews. The original vision of the society was to:
- Declare the Messiahship of Jesus to the Jew first and also to the non-Jew;
- Endeavor to teach the church its Jewish roots.
- Encourage the physical restoration of the Jewish people to Eretz Israel—the Land of Israel;and
- Encourage the Hebrew Christian/Messianic Jewish movement….
The Political Expression
History tells us that the nation of Britain made a unique contribution to the establishment of the state of Israel but unfortunately the political will had also other sinister motives.
In 1917, it was the Balfour Declaration made on the behalf of the British government that set in motion the political processes that was issued, thirty-one years later, in the establishment of the state of Israel. What is significant about this correspondence is that Lord Balfour according to Jewish Bible prophecy teacher Dough Camp, was a Freemason but God used him to bring about His purposes:
……According to researcher Dr. Stanley Monteith, Balfour was a high ranking Mason (we note, however, that God often allows and uses the wicked to bring about His own purposes i.e. He used the Assyrians to punish the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C. see also 2 Kings 21:14). In fact, we will see that the Masons were centrally responsible for Israel’s reestablishment.
Doug quotes Israeli author and reporter Barry Chamish who states the Masonic administration over the establishment of Israel in no uncertain terms:
Without British Freemasonry there would be no modern state of Israel. In the 1860s, the British-Israelite movement was initiated from within Freemasonry. Its goal was to establish a Jewish-Masonic state in the Turkish province of Palestine. Of course, that would mean dealing with the Turks at some point down the line, but first the country would have to be repopulated with Jews. And the idea wasn’t to bring in more of the same religious Jews who already were the majority in Jerusalem and elsewhere, but the kind of Jews who would eventually accept the Masonic view of history.
Initially, British Jewish Masonic families like the Rothschilds and Montefiores provided the capital to build the infrastructure for the anticipated wave of immigration. However, luring the Jews to Israel was proving difficult. They, simply, liked European life too much to abandon it. So Europe was to be turned into a nightmare for the Jews. This led to the rise of pogroms and Zionism…..Then things began moving quickly. British Masons like Arthur Balfour and Herbert Samuel led the campaign for official British recognition of a Jewish homeland during World War One. At the same time, a million British troops, badly needed in the trenches of Europe, were sent marching to Palestine to oust the Ottomans.
When the war ended, the campaign for a Jewish state went into full speed at Versailles. In 1919, The Royal Institute of International Affairs was founded in London and two years later, the Council on Foreign Relations began its nefarious activities in New York. Their agendas called for a world governmental takeover and a global religion based in Jerusalem….The above evidence strongly affirms that the Masons were behind the establishment of the modern state of Israel. Given their intense interest in the Temple and their desire to rebuild it, such testimony becomes strong circumstantial evidence that the Masons were behind the reestablishment of Israel because they desire to rebuild the temple which is central to their entire dogma. We can only guess they desire the temple rebuilt because their dark lord, Lucifer desires to have his savior to the world, the Antichrist, go in and declare himself to be god.
In the 1830s, among those that favored the restoration of Israel and who were active to that end were Winston Churchill, Lord Shaftesbury, Lord Palmerston, and Edward Bickersteth. Shaftesbury drew up a state letter urging Turkey to hand over Palestine to the Jews for “their indestructible Messianic hope. He wrote,
The ancient city of the people of God is about to resume a place among the nations, and England is the first of all the Gentile kingdoms that ceases to tread her down.
And in 1840 the British ambassador to Turkey strongly recommended the Turkish government to use every encouragement to urge the Jews to return to Palestine. Again in the 1840s Charles Henry Churchill, ancestor of Sir Winston, spoke and wrote of a “pledge of England’s friendship” and bonding union with the Jewish nation.
May the Jewish nation regain its rank and position among the nations of the world….At an important public meeting he stated that “God has put into my heart the desire to serve His ancient people.
The End of the Empire
In May 1947 the United Nations had created a committee to study the Palestinian question. The Arabs refused to participate and the committee recommended the partition of the remaining 23 percent of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem as a free international city. However, this committee forgot or ignored the fact that Britain had already divided Palestine in 1922 and created an Arab state called Transjordan. Britain supported only the international status of Jerusalem in this resolution.
It was submitted to the General Assembly of the United Nations, which passed the resolution thirty-three to thirteen and gave the necessary two-thirds majority. The British abstained because of her recommendation in the Balfour Declaration in 1917. The British, who had been so supportive to the Jewish homeland, were now opposed to the formation of a Jewish homeland.
In fact a document known as the The Churchill White Paper divided Palestine along the Jordan River, creating an Arab homeland in Palestine known as Transjordan (later Jordan). This document overturned the Balfour Declaration and specified four stipulations that proved disastrous to the Jewish people:
- It called for an independent Palestinian state established within ten years, governed by both Jews and Arabs.
- The Jewish immigration to Palestine under the British mandate was to be limited to 75,000 over the next five years, after that it would depend on Arab consent.
- Jews would only buy land in areas where they were already the majority population.
- Jewish immigration would be limited to the economic capacity of the country.
In 1945 Churchill was forced out of office by the new labor government led by Clement Atlee. Again, when the war ended, Palestine remained closed to the survivors of the concentration camps, who had now become homeless. Their homeland was allowed to take only a few thousand immigrants each year. Most of them were returned to the very concentration camps from which they had been freed.
Many writers have concluded that the British Empire disappeared within a comparatively short period of time after its refusal to vote for Israel’s restoration at the UN in November, 1947. The God of Israel is the God with whom every nation will have to deal and to whom every whom every nation will have to give account.
When the Holy Spirit spoke through Paul at Athens on Mars Hill, he told them that,
God made from one [common origin, one source, one blood] all nations of men to settle on the face of the earth, having definitely determined [their] allotted periods of time and the fixed boundaries of their habitation (their settlements, lands, and abodes)…. (Acts 17:26)
So God draws the map and allots every nation its time and space. Historians and other Bible teachers believe it was God who brought the British Empire to an end. For instance, British Bible teacher and author David Pawson says,
When he was a boy the school atlas was largely red. It was possible to travel right round the world and never leave British soil. What happened to this great empire? The answer is that Britain washed its hands of God’s people, Israel. So God said, “If Britain can’t look after Israel she can’t look after anybody; and within five years the empire went.
But another question worth considering is: How could they have voted for Israel’s restoration yet they wanted only the kind of Jews who would eventually accept their Masonic view of history? Something to think about!
Reclaiming the Land
Under the United Nations Partition Plan, the Jews were denied sovereignty over Jerusalem, their ancient capital, but they gracefully accepted the Partition Plan that had been recommended. The first president of Israel, Chaim Weizmann, appealed to the UN to support the partition, saying:
We realize that we cannot have the whole of Palestine. God may have promised Palestine to the Jews; but it is up to the Almighty to keep His promise in His own time. Our business is to do what we can in a very imperfect way.
The first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion also reiterated that God would overrule in reclaiming the whole Promised Land by saying:
I know that God promised all of Palestine to the children of Israel. I do not know what borders He set. I believe they are wider than the ones proposed. If God will keep His promise in His own time, our business as poor humans who live in a difficult age is to save as much as we can of the remnants of Israel.
One teacher of prophecy noted that it matters very little as to how much land Israel relinquishes for peace, as ultimately they will take over all the land from the Nile River in Egypt to the Euphrates River in Iraq.
The Land was Barren and Desolate
After the temple was destroyed and the Jewish people scattered throughout the nations, the Bible says, the Land was destined to become barren and desolate. This is exactly what happened when the children of Israel went into exile. The prophet Ezekiel and others proclaimed that God will re-gather the Israelites from the ends of the earth and reestablish them in their own land. (See Ezekiel 36:22-28; Isaiah 11:10-12)
Over a period of nearly two thousand years, various Gentile nations made attempts to settle on the land, but none was successful. Pilgrims and travelers who passed through the region noted that the country was nearly un-inhabitable. During the nineteenth century, the American author Mark Twain visited the Holy Land and he vividly described what he saw:
Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes….desolate country whose soil is rich enough but given over wholly to weeds….we never saw a human being on the whole route…There was hardly a tree or shrub anywhere…Nazareth is forlorn…. Jericho the accursed lies a smouldering ruin…Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and their humiliation, have nothing to remind one that they once knew the high honor of the Savior presence.
Of the city of Jerusalem he wrote:
Jerusalem is mournful, and dreary and lifeless. I would not desire to live here…
Scottish preacher Robert Murray M’Cheyne also visited the Holy Land in June 1839, with other pilgrims including his biographer Andrew Bonar. Rev. M’Cheyne had a very clear view of the destiny of the Jews in the purposes of the God of Israel. He once wrote: “We should be like God in His peculiar affections; and the whole Bible shows that God has ever had, and still has, a peculiar love to the Jews.” As they walked through the Judean hills up to Jerusalem, he wrote down in his journal:
The terracing of all the hills is the most remarkable feature of Judean scenery. Every foot of the rockiest mountains may in this way be covered with vines. We thought of Isaiah wandering here, and David ad Solomon. Still all was wilderness. The hand of man had been actively employed upon every mountain, but where were these laborers now? Judah is gone into captivity before the enemy. There are few men left in the land; not a vine is there…. Jerusalem is indeed like heaps. The quantities of rubbish would amaze you, —in one place higher than the walls. Judah’s cities are all waste, except Bethlehem.
In 1918, Sherif Hussein who was the Arab leader with whom the British government had been dealing with also made a thought provoking statement regarding how the land was desolate:
The resources of the country are still virgin soil and will be developed by the Jewish immigrants. One of the amazing things until recent times was the Palestinian used to live his country, wandering over the high seas in every direction. His native soil could not retain its hold on him.
God’s Covenant with Abraham
The rest of the land which was taken over by Israel in 1948 was an ownerless desert and very desolate. When the Jewish people came back in large numbers in that same year, when Israel became a Nation again, the land started to blossom as God said it would. The land would not produce for anyone except the Jewish people. Why? Because the covenant promise was through Isaac not Ishmael.
Abraham loved Ishmael and wanted him to have the inheritance; and God declared that “I have blessed him….. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. (Genesis 17:20) God blessed the Arab people through Ishmael by giving them prosperity, vast areas of land and oil… But the promise and a certain area of land known as the Promised Land was given through Isaac and Jacob…..But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.(Genesis 17:21)
As Christians we are to ask the Holy Spirit for a burden to pray and intercede for the Arabs. They are also the sons of Abraham. It is the Holy Spirit that will break the barrier between the Jews and Arabs that they may be a home and a blessing for both of them. The Lord makes it clear that the gospel is for everyone.
There is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all people, both the Jews and the Arabs. The most remarkable prophecy concerning the future salvation of Arab remnants is found in the Book of Isaiah where the Lord says that when the Lord strikes Egypt and Assyria, they will turn to Him and He will have compassion on them and “heal them.” (See Isaiah 19:16-25)
In Jesus Christ those who have been enemies will unite in love and become brothers and sisters. The Lord will break every barrier and Egypt, Assyria and Israel will leave together in peace, worshipping the same living God! What an amazing picture.
In a nutshell, God cannot break His covenant. If He did, He would destroy Himself. God’s covenants are eternal, unbreakable. Those who teach that God broke covenant with the Jewish people are not teaching the whole counsel of God. This is what the Lord says concerning His covenant with Israel:
Thus says the Lord: If the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel for all that they have done, says the Lord. (Jeremiah 31:37 AMP)
Now who can measure the heavens or explore the foundations of the earth? Of course no one. Therefore God says that Israel is eternally His people.
God does not show Favoritism
In Romans 2:11 Paul also says “For there is no partiality with God.” He chose the Jews, not to be a repository of His blessings, but to be a vehicle through whom He would bless all the nations of the world, including the Palestinians and all the Arabs. But the main condition to receive God’s blessing–for both Jew and Arab, as well as all people—is to accept God’s gift of love in Jesus Christ by believing, repenting and obeying Him as Messiah. When we consider God’s grace towards the Arab people, we are again reminded of what Paul wrote when he considered God’s grace towards His brethren the Jews:
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unfathomable (inscrutable, unsearchable) are His judgments (His decisions)! And how untraceable (mysterious, undiscoverable) are His ways (His methods, His paths)! (Romans 11:33 AMP)
The message of God’s amazing grace towards the Jews and Arabs is available to all of us. There is no sin that is so dark that God’s grace is not stronger still and nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. He only requires that:
…..All people everywhere to repent (to change their minds for the better and heartily to amend their ways, with abhorrence of their past sins). Because He has fixed a day when He will judge the world righteously (justly) by a Man Whom He has destined and appointed for that task, and He has made this credible and given conviction and assurance and evidence to everyone by raising Him from the dead. His name Jesus Christ. In Hebrew Yeshua Hamashia which means salvation. (See Acts 17:30 AMP)
Israel is the key nation because all end time prophecy revolves around the Jewish people and prophecy is not given to us in Scripture just so we can know beforehand what will happen in the future. It is given so we will humble our hearts in repentance and seek God, to find out how God would have us participate in that prophecy, and to pray earnestly for its fulfillment.
Prophecy is given not only so we can understand our times, but so we can be part of God’s plan. Until that day of redemption comes we must not retreat to complacency and compromise. We must obey the Word of God and also bless His people. His Word calls us to watch and pray:
I have set watchmen upon your walls, O Jerusalem, who will never hold their peace day or night; you who are His servants and by your prayers put the Lord in remembrance [of His promises, keep not silence, and give Him no rest until He establishes Jerusalem and makes her a praise in the earth. (Isaiah 62:6-7 AMP)
Franz Kobler, The Vision was There (now-out-of-print book published in 1956 written by a non-Christian, Jewish author.
The Forsaken Promise 2 DVD Disk Set from Hatikvah Films
Kelvin Crombie, For the Love of Zion–Christian Witness and Restoration of Israel
Hugh Kitson, Jerusalem The Covenant City