If some of you are of that theological genre who believe that no specific signs exist of the Rapture of the Saints and that Israel’s present status is not to be considered eschatologically significant, I promise not to heckle or you, nor to claim that we who find much prophetic fulfillment of prophecy related to Israel today, constitute an elite spiritual cognoscenti. We are students together. Letus learn! Many are confused by prophecy? A careful look the whole counsel of God and the many moving pieces of prophecy can be challenging! We look at topics like, “Desolation of Jerusalem, Times of the Gentiles, Fullness of the Gentiles, Restoration and more.” Is God about to fulfill the final week of Daniel’s 70 weeks of prophecy or is it already come to pass? Let’s take a closer look.
“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation there of is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter there into. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. Luke 21
Restoration of Israel-The Sign?
Dr. James Combs
In the light of the literally earth shaking events now occurring in Asia. Europe and Africa, changing forever the Post World War II status quo the time has comefor a thorough reevaluation and restatement of biblical prophetic truth, as itrelates to the end times.
Just a small video clip here and a longer one further down in the article.
Political developments over these final years of the Twentieth century have bothconfirmed and brought into question much of what we prophecy speakers have been saying during the 1900s.
The UN anticipated rapid collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialists Republics into amultiplicity of smaller nations, although Russia is still the largest countryin the world, necessitates a restudy of the Gog and Magog prophecies of Ezekiel 38, 39.
Theapproaching culmination of a de facto United States of Western Europe, a dreamcherished by John Foster Dulles in the American Eisenhauer era, demands a newthorough study of eschatological thought on the final stages of Western, Greco-Roman civilization, as described by the Old Testament prophet Daniel and theNew Testament prophet and apostle John in the Apocalypse.
Certainly,the recent Middle East War, a response to the military and imperial designs ofIraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, has relevance to the ancient prophecies of theScriptures about Babylon and other nations surrounding the land of Israel. Heis still in power in 1992.
Israel itself, still technically at war with certain Arab nations, remains perchedprecariously on the western edge of the Asian continent, arguing, negotiating,reasoning with America and with her Arab neighbors, unsure about what the longterm future may be. One amazing outcome of the recent war has been the ongoingdialogue with Arab neighbors about their mutual future, talks which thus farhave produced millions of words and practically no action.
With these concepts in the background and with the overarching truth of theprophetic word ever paramount in our thinking, the purpose of this paper is to explore and discuss some of the major prophecies concerning Israel in the endtimes, and to raise a new the question as to whether or not eschatologists havebeen on target in focusing on the modern restoration of Israel as being, inpart, a direct fulfillment of Ezekiel 37 vision of the valley of dry bones.
If some of you are of that theological genre who believe that no specific signs exist of the Rapture of the Saints and that Israel’s present status is not tobe considered eschatologically significant, I promise not to heckle or you, nor to claim that we who find much prophetic fulfillment of prophecy related to Israel today, constitute an elite spiritual cognoscenti. We are students together. Letus learn!
Thispaper will focus on three primary areas: first, Christ’s Predictions aboutIsrael’s future; second, Ezekiel’s Prophecies about Israel’s restoration; and third, America’s Place in Israel’s past, present, and future.
I. CHRIST’S PREDICTIONS ABOUT ISRAEL’S FUTURE
I draw your attention to the Gospel of Luke 21:20-24:
“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation there of is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter there into. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
And THEY SHALL FALL BE THEE EDGE OF THE SWORD, AND SHALL BE LED AWAY CAPTIVE INTOALL NATIONS: AND JERUSALEM SHALL BE TRODDEN DOWN OF THE GENTILES, UNTIL THETIMES OF THE GENTILES BE FULFILLED.”
Few would dispute that these words uttered by Christ in about 30A.D., shortly before His crucifixion, were literally fulfilled some 40 yearslater when the Roman general Titus besieged, conquered and destroyed themetropolis of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. From then on throughout this Dispensation,successive non-Jewish, Gentile regimes have “trodden down” the city,beginning with the Romans and later the “Byzantines,” to be followedby a series of Muslim religio- political powers for more than a thousand yearswith the exception of the ninety year era of the European Crusaders and the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem eight centuries ago.
This went on until the winter of 1917-18 when General Allenby marched into Jerusalemand the British Empire began a mandate, later endorsed by the League of Nations, over the Holy Land.
Even the birth of the modern state of Israel in 1948 did not include the ancient Holy City under its control, until 1967 and the Six Day War.
And even yet, the Muslims hold sway over the Solomonic-Herodian temple area.
Since Luke’s summary of Christ’s Olivet Discourse is not set forth in directchronological order, but arranged topically, the words concerning the FIG TREE and THE GENERATION THAT SHALL NOT PASS AWAY TILL ALL BE FULFILLED, appear afterthe profound pronouncement of Luke chapter 21:27,
“And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and greatglory,” a description of the glorious appearing, as in II Thessalonians1:7-10.
Notice carefully verses 29-32:
“And he spake to then a parable; Behold the fig tree and all the trees; When theynow shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves, that summer is now high at hand.
So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away till all be fulfilled.”
We are well aware that many solid dispensational Bible scholars view the word generations, (genea-Gk) as indicating the family, race or people of Israel.Thus, as explained by Lawrence 0. Richards, “Jesus is here promising the preservation of the Jews as a distinct people until the time of the time of theend foretold by Old Testament prophets.” An alternate view is also suggestedby Richards, “This generation as a class is unbelieving and perverse”(Mt. 23:36; Luke 17:25), as in the case of the Jews who rejected Christ or inthe historical fact of persistent unbelief throughout human history. Both concepts have wide acceptance.
However,commonly taught among many premillenial and dispensational scholars andstudents is the belief that genea here means a people alive during a specificand somewhat definable time period. The word occurs forty-two times in the NewTestament and can be interpreted in the light of each passage’s context.
Undoubtedly,the term genea can be understood as applying to people living over a span oftime, as is evident from a careful examination of Matthew one, where the Hebrewand Davidic ancestry of Christ is traced over a period of nearly 2,000 years.
Look at Matthew 1:1:
“Thebook of the generation (geneseos-Gk) of Jesus Christ … the son of David, theson of Abraham
We shall not here read these ancestral names, but focus, if you please on verseseventeen.
“For all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David unto the carrying away to Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away to Babylon to Christ are fourteen generations.”
Now the interesting fact about this in the light of biblical chronology is that three different over all time periods are indicated, even as the life spans ofthe individuals listed likewise varied in length.
From Abraham to David (a very general expression, since Matthew may be referring toeither a time of birth in each case or to the period during which they lived)is a time span of about 80 years. Bear in mind that Ussher’s chronology may or may not be exact and accurate, to the specific year.
Dividing 14 into 980 results in a “generation” of 70 years. This compares with David L. Cooper’s assertion that a – generation could mean a human life span,as in Psalm 90:10:
“The days of our years are three score years and ten: and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow …”
Cooper believed a generation was therefore from 70 to 80 years in maximum length.
Now notice that the period between David and the carrying away to Babylon was approximately 420 years, from say, 1026 when the Davidic Kingdom was at it speak and before Absalom’s rebellion, to 606 B.C. and the beginning of the 70year captivity (Daniel 1, etc.). That would make a genea equal to about 30years, slightly longer if the period began with David’s birth (circa 1065 B.C.)
Last,the period from about 606 B.C. to the birth of Christ in say, 6 B.C. (calendars and chronologies are not accurate on that point) figures out about 40-43 yearsfor a generation. That matches well with the 40 years in the wilderness, during which the ancient Israelite “generation” that came out of Egypt all died off, that is, those over 20, with the exceptions, of course of Caleb and Joshua.
Many of us have made much ado over the “40 year generation,” due to the Israelites’ experience, but this whole subject must be rethought in view of the afore said observations.
The point is, a generation, a genea, if a time period is intended, is of varying length. It could be as little as 30 years or about 40 or as long as 70,possibly even 80 years.
When Jesus spoke of a certain genea not passing away, he can indeed be referring tohuge numbers of people alive over a period of many decades.
Now if that is what Jesus meant, then what event would signal the beginning of this last generation?
Look now again at the “fig tree,” as used prophetically in the OldTestament (Hosea 9:10) and specifically by Jesus when on earth. In Luke 13:6-9,the typology is incontrovertible: Israel is the fruitless fig tree. When Jesusperformed his only negative miracle, He cursed the barren fig tree (Mark 11:12-14,20, 21), that on the very day of His triumphal entry and his almost immediaterepudiation prior to the Crucifixion. While Christ taught the principle of faith from this miracle (Mark 11:22,23), the visual object lesson as related to Israel cannot be ignored.
Infact until modern times, the “fig tree,” representing Israel’s national existence, remained “barren.” In this century, in myjudgment, the “fig tree,” Israel becoming a nation, has budded, witha resurgence of Judaism and a dream of a new temple in Jerusalem. Just when”the budding” started (Luke 21:30) we shall explore.
I continue to assert that the budding of the fig tree is a specific sign of the end times and that the generation alive or beginning with that event shall bein progress when “all will be fulfilled,” including the coming of Christ, the parousia.
A careful consideration of all facets of Jesus’ apocalyptic messages in the Gospels in the light of contemporary events should be a continuing priority among premillenial and dispensational advocates, but extremism, date-settingand bizarre theories are to be avoided.
II. EZEKIEL’S PROPHECIES ABOUT ISRAEL’S RESTORATION
With all of the foregoing information in mind, let us revert to the Old Testament and focus on Ezekiel 36 and 37. An in-depth analysis of chapter 36 reveals the promises of God for national restoration and the prophecy of spiritual rebirthand a golden age. In keeping with a literalist view of Old Testament prophecy,these events must take place. This does not preclude, of course, spiritualapplications suitable to our times, especially in the “new heart”passage (vs. 26), but the basic hermeneutical approach must be based on thehistorical and prophetical message meant by Ezekiel and directed to Israel.
Chapter 37, the vision of the dry bones is especially significant. A careful study ofthe entire chapter is English and in Hebrew is warranted, but beyond the scopeof this paper.
In summary, Ezekiel is transported in a vision to the midst of a valley, which wasfull of bones. This signified, as God said in vs. 11: “These bones are thewhole house of Israel.” That the passage deals with the end times isevident from the contextual promise of vs.-22 and 24: “And I will makethem one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall beking to them all … And David my servant shall be king over them: and they allshall have one shepherd … “and my servant David shall be their princeforever” (25). The ultimate outcome of the fulfillment of this vision isthe Messianic reign of Him who will sit on the throne of his father David”(Luke 1:31)
Commandedto prophesy to “the bones,” Ezekiel obeys:
“SoI prophesied as I was commanded and is I prophesied, there was a noise, andbehold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when Ibeheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin coveredthem from above: but there was no BREATH IN THEM … Then said he unto me,Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saiththe Lord God; Come from the four winds, 0 breath, and breathe upon these slainthat they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath cameinto them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding greatarmy.” (Ezekiel 37:7-10)
I see seven stages in this process:
Third,the bones coming together
Fourth,the sinews appearing
Fifth,the flesh coming upon them
Sixth,the skin covering them
Seventh,there is no breath in them … but the breath, the life, will come.
Now let us compare theseseven stages of restoration as forecast by Ezekiel with events over the last115 years in connection with the rise of Zionism and all events leading up to1948 and into our times.
Again,we are well aware that some prophetic scholars doubt that what we have beenseeing over the last century is the actual fulfillment of many Old Testamentprophecies relative to Israel’s evolving status. This writer does not sharetheir opinion.
Hereis how I view it:
FIRST,THE NOISE. Among the dry bones of dispersed Israel there began a noise about1878 with the embryonic beginnings of Zionism. Throughout Jewry worldwide therebegan to be an increasing desire to regain the ancient Holy Land and toreestablish the national identity of Israel. By 1882 a book by Leon Pinksker entitled “Auto Emancipation” began to be circulated. The ideaadvocated was for Jews to begin to move to Palestine, buy property and begin settlements, to seek to influence governments to encourage this process, to spark a worldwide movement, which would become known as Zionism.
This”noise” increased during the 1880s and was enhanced by a widely disseminated book in 1896 called “The Jewish State,” by Theodor Herzl, who strongly urged the creation of a Jewish settlement in Palestine witha self-government. “On August 27, 1897, a great congress was convened inBasle, Switzerland, attended by over 200 delegates from all over the world …they adopted Zionism as a program and gave the following definition: ‘The aim of Zionism is to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law.'” (Gaebelein)
This meeting was the first in a series of what became known as the World ZionistCongress. The “noise” was increasing in volume.
Afterthe First Congress Theodor Herzl wrote, “At Basel I created the Jewish state. If I stated that in public today, it would be received with laughter all over the world. Perhaps in five years time, however, and certainly withinfifty, the whole world will understand.”
OnNovember _29,1947 – fifty years after the First Zionist Congress – the General Assembly of the United Nations voted in favor of the creation of a Jewish statein Palestine.
SECOND,THE SHAKING. While persecutions had plagued the Jews for many centuries, thosewhich occurred in the latter part of the Nineteenth Century and the first partof the Twentieth had a profound effect. In Russia where hundreds of thousands of Jews had settled, fierce pogroms, organized massacres and violentpersecutions, commenced in 1882. Again in 1887 and in the 1890s and in 1905,the programs continued.Over 25,000 Jews a year left Russia with many going to America and a few to Israel.
THIRD,THE BONES COMING TOGETHER, BONE TO HIS BONE. The first Alijah, literally, an”ascent,” the migration of Jews to Palestine, began about 1882. Theywould continue through 1918. There were about 100,000 Jews in Palestine when itthen became a British “mandate.” Bones came together, people of allwalks of life and backgrounds over the decades, each capable of finding a nichein a society, which would evolve into a whole nation. Farmers mostly at first came, then tradesmen, teachers, professionals, people with a dream. The Zionists Congresses held every two or three years or oftener, greatlyencouraged the “bones” to come together. In 1922 the City of TelAviv, an all Jewish city, *as founded.
On November 2, 1917, during this period, a policy statement contained in a letterform Lord Balfour, Foreign Secretary of Great Britain to Lord Rothschild, one of the rnega-rich Jewish bankers of England and Europe, was issued:
It is known as the BALFOUR DECLARATION:
“His Majesty’s government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of anational home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors tofacilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood thatnothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights ofexisting non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political statusenjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
Behind the scenes this was the result of the negotiations of the great Jewish chemist,Chaim Weizmann, inventor of acetone, smokeless gunpowder and many other amazingformulas. Dr. Weizmann provided invaluable service in his scientificcontributions to the British war effort in World War I. In response, the Balfour Declaration become the announced policy of the British Empire.
By 1947 there were 600,000 Jews in Palestine, “bones had connected with bones.”
FOURTH,THE SINEWS APPEAR. These sinews speak of muscles and strength. So it was thatin the 1948 war for independence, 600,000 Jews held back the Arab armies,representing a hundred million people.
FIFTH,THE FLESH CAME UPON THE BONES. A Solidity, an infrastructure had been developing in earlier years that finally showed itself substantial and powerfulwhen Israel became a full fledged nation in May of 1948.
SIXTH,THE SKIN COVERED THEM. The skin is the border of the body. By 1950 thepartitioned borders were relatively secure, but in 1967 during the six day warIsrael gained control of most all of the territory west of the Jordan River,which constituted the lands of the ancient tribes of Israel, land held now fortwenty-five years in spite of internal and external pressures.
SEVENTH,THE BREATH OF LIFE. This is still future. When the “wind” of the Holy Spirit’s power finally blows upon Israel in the future, “all Israel will be saved,” that is all living Israelis will behold their Messiah coming inpower and great glory. And it will be Jesus. But that is yet to come.
But 1948 remains the key year in my judgment, the birth year of modern Israel.
Now,thinking again of the length of generations, God seems to deal with Israel inforty and seventy year periods both in biblical times and in modern times.Remember the forty years in the wilderness, the 40-year reigns of Saul, David and Solomon, the seventy years of captivity, the seventy years from the Holy Family’s return from Egypt to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
Hereare the most significant dates in the restoration of Israel as a nation since 1878.
Noticethe time spans between some of these dates:
*l878_1948- from the beginning of the roots of Zionism until the culmination andnationhood. In 1976 when I ran for the United States Congress, the Israeli Embassy sent me a book entitled “Seventy Years of Nation Building,” documenting the whole period!
*1878_1918- from the beginning of Zionism until the Balfour Declaration, the conquest ofJerusalem by General Allenby in the winter of 1917-18 and the beginning of the British Mandate. A period of forty years. Next notice:
*1897_1967- from the First Zionist Congress to the control of the entire “Promised Land and Jerusalem,” following the six day war, seventy years.
*1897..1937- from the First Zionist Congress to the full scale Anti-Semitic drive by theNazis in Germany, ultimately resulting in the slaughter of 6,000,000 Jews,forty years. The next significant date is the winter of 1917-18.
*1918_1988- from the British takeover of Palestine to the Intifada, the uprising of Palestinians under Israeli control, seventy years.
*1948_l988_from the birth of the nation Israel to the Intifada, se years.
Now if these same time periods continue to be significant, and each one could beconsidered “a generation” by comparison with Matthew 1, then whatbearing might this have on this generation shall not pass away till all befulfilled? Has that terminal generation begun and is it process?
What I am now saying is confessedly speculative, but nevertheless most interesting.
If 1948 is the pivotal date and that is when “the fig tree” budded, thena forty year generation could not be the case, although some of us became perhaps unduly excited in 1988 and even back in 1981, seven years prior to theforty year mark. Christ did not return then.
If the terminal generation began in 1948 and a 70 year generation is considered,that carries us to 2018. But what if the maximum period of Psalm 90:10 is a”generation?” That would move us forward to 2028.
Supposein the mind and plan of God, the budding of the fig tree did not begin with1878, 1897, 1918, or 1948, all of which dates have been suggested by various writers and commentators, but rather in 1967 when Jerusalem was no longer”trodden down of the gentiles?”
The end of “the times the Gentiles” is to be heralded by the resumed controlover Jerusalem by the Jews, as Luke 21:24 seems to say. Yet, they do notcontrol totally the temple area, and all Arab neighbors contest their claims to sovereign rights over the ancient city.
To add, for the sake of speculation, 40 years to 1967 brings us to 2007; to add 70years brings us to 2037
Again,any such generation does not have to run its full course of years, but itsimply will not “pass away.”
My opinion is that 1948 remains the pivotal date and that the final generationprior to the Second Advent is now in process, although I do not rule out processes that themselves cover a considerable span of time, and therefore doregard 1967 as equally important.
Onlyin our times have so many events of seeming prophetic and apocalypticsignificance come together to form a backdrop for the imminent return of JesusChrist for His saints.
While no one knows the day or hour or time, we continue to WATCH, as Jesus commanded.
III. AMERICA’S PLACE INISRAEL’S PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
In conclusion, it is appropriate to discuss “the untold story of America’s 150 year fascination with the idea of a Jewish state, and of the complex roleplayed by this country in the creation of modern Israel.”
Now I do not see America specifically mentioned in Bible prophecy, totalingdisagreeing with the relatively recent speculation that America is the Babylonof which Jeremiah wrote in his last chapters. If there are references to theUnited States, then America might be one of the young lions of “Tarshish,”mentioned in Ezekiel 38:13, since this country and the western hemisphere haveroots in England and Spain, which may be meant by “Tarshish.”
In addition there is a theory that one of the seven heads of the Beast inRevelation 13 and 17 connotes the world wide spread of Anglo-American civilization, the seventh in a series of powerful civilizations (Egypt,Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, being the first six, and a revived”Roman Empire” being the “eighth, but of the seven.”)
Nevertheless America has played a dynamic part in the development of the nation Israel.
We will take some significant dates and explain what happened.
*1814- Pastor John MacDonald of the Albany Chapel Street Presbyterian Church inAlbany, New York, began to preach on Bible prophecy and Israel’s right to the promised land. Among his views, not shared by this writer, was that Isaiah 18depicted the United States as “the land shadowing with wings.” Americawas only twenty-five years old as a nation, but he and others believed thiscountry’s destiny was to help the Jews again gain nationhood and thus fulfillmany Old Testament prophecies of their ultimate return.
MacDonald,who died in 1821, sparked an interest in the literalist interpretation of OldTestament prophecies about Israel, a concept which gathered momentum amongChristians throughout that century, flowering in the last decades into prophecyconferences, Bible conferences and prophetic preaching among Presbyterians,Baptist,Congregationalists, Interdenominationalists, and many others.
*1841- W. E. Blackstone is born in upstate New York, a person destined to exertenormous influence as a speaker (he was a Methodist evangelist at first),writer and educator, eventually becoming a vice president of the BibleInstitute of Los Angeles. He departed to be with Christ in 1935.
*1878- That date is most significant – Blackstone published his book JESUS ISCOMING, which sold over a million copies and has been translated intoforty-eight languages. I believe it is still in print. American Bible-believingChristians began to be more aware of the destiny of Israel, as the Scripturesset forth.
*1891- Blackstone, aided by D.L. Moody and C.I. Scofield, among many, composed adocument, not overly religious in content, but strongly humanitarian, callingfor America to back the desires of Jews to return to their ancient homeland. Noless than 413 prominent Americans joined in his appeal, among them John D.Rockefeller, Cyrus McCormick, J. Pierpont Morgan, the Chief Justice of theSupreme Court, the Speaker of the House, many senators, clergymen, newspapereditors and other prominent citizens. This was in the wake of the Russianpogroms of the 1880s and increasing anti-Semitism in Europe. It became known as THE BLACKSTONE MEMORIAL.
Oneparagraph read: “If they could have autonomy in government, the Jews ofthe world would rally to transport and establish their suffering brethren intheir time-honored habitation. For over seventeen centuries they have waitedpatiently for such a privileged opportunity … Let us now restore to them theland of which they were so cruelly despoiled by our Roman ancestors.”
The BLACKSTONE MEMORIAL was presented to President Benjamin Harrison on March 5,1891. This was five years before Theodor Herzl’s call for “Zionism.”A Bible Blackstone sent to Herzl, with prophecies of Israel’s marked, can beseen today at Herzl’s tomb in Jerusalem. Modern Israelis have designated asmall area of trees as “The Blackstone Forest,” and convocations are occasionally held there in his memory. In America, little notice was given to THE BLACKSTONE MEMORIAL.
*1800-1900s- Teas of thousands of Sunday schools were teaching millions of people of allages that Canaan was the “promised land” for the ancient Israelites,outlining in detail the history of God’s earthly chosen people. A mindset was being created throughout American Christianity, a concept, a zeitgeist, thatthe Jews really still ought to have their “promised land.” This contributed over the decades and generations to broad based support for thenation of Israel.
*l900s- In the first decade of this century no less than 300 pogroms were perpetratedagainst the Jews. Hundreds of thousands came to America. As the centurycontinued, American Jews like Louis Brandeis (later a Supreme Court Justice)and hundreds, later thousands of others, joined in supporting Zionism.
*1916- President Woodrow Wilson, a Bible reader and spiritual Presbyterian, tooknote of Zionism partially through the influence of Blackstone, and once said,”To think that I, the son of manse, should be able to help restore theHoly Land to its people.” Any such goals he might have had were lost afterhis severe stroke, following the end of World War I.
*1900_1940- The founding and proliferation of Bible Institutes with a Dispensationalistperspective; the growth of evangelical churches in spite of the modernist-fundamentalist controversy; the beginning of Dallas Theological Seminary withits premillenial, literalist view of Israel’s future; the influence ofpowerful, politically active Baptist pastors like J. Frank Norris of FortWorth, a strong premillenialist with a total church membership of 25,000; awide radio ministry and a major paper; the rise of radio ministries led byDispensationalists who believed in Israel’s right to Palestine, involving suchmen as Charles B. Fuller, M.R. DeHaan, Theodore Epp and many, many others …all of this enhanced the increasing mindset of America toward support of theJews’ aspirations and claims.
*1947- J. Frank Norris with a special letter from President Harry S. Truman takesLuther C. Peake of Dallas, G. Beauchamp Vick of Detroit and Wendell Zimmermanof Kansas City on a trip to Palestine. Norris, a close friend of House SpeakerSam Rayborn and Texas Senator Tom Connolly and a political activist, is askedto make a special report to President Truman about his October-November trip toPalestine. The British are pulling out as the Mandate is ending. A war seems imminent.Dr. Norris sent a detailed and biblically-based appeal to President Truman tosupport Israel and received a courteous and appreciative personal reply.
*1948- The Jews and Arabs are in conflict. Recognition of a Jewish state by theUnited States and the United Nations is vital, the Jews believe, to theirsuccess in founding a nation. America stalls. Secretary of State George C. Marshall is totally opposed, not wanting to antagonize a hundred million Arabs.Most of the State Department shares that view. America should have a hands offpolicy. Prominent Zionist leaders wish to see President Truman, but cannot gain access. But the Jews remember that Harry Truman is a Baptist (not withstanding his colorful language). In fact young Harry read through the Bible twice beforethe age of twelve.
Rememberthe brilliant chemist and diplomat Chaim Weizman? He is old now and full of days, but his mind is keen and quick. The Jews believe that Weizman couldinfluence President Truman as he did the British government thirty yearsearlier, but no appointment can be made. Truman wavers. George Marshall hint she will quit if Truman deals with the issue. A great majority of America’s diplomatic corps want America to stay out of the matter for now, but support aU.N. trusteeship over Palestine.
But Truman had a Jewish business partner back in the 1920s in a Kansas City haberdashery. Their ongoing friendship was so close that he could walk into the president’s oval office WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT. He was contacted and sent to Washington to appeal to the president on behalf of Weizman and the Jews’ goal. After thatJewish friend Eddie Jacobson makes a strong appeal, Truman agrees to see Chaim Weizman. That was March 13, 1948.
*March18, 1948 – Chaim Weizman visits the White House incognito. No one knows forsure what he said, but some kind of deep understanding must have ensued.
*March19, 1948 – U. S. delegates to the United Nations indicate that a trusteeshipover Palestine would be American policy, no recognition of the Jewish State.
*April23, 1948 – the eve of Passover, Chaim Weizman is summoned to the home of JudgeRosenman in New York, a man close to President Truman.
The judge excitedly tells Weizman that secretly the president still had “the little doctor” on his conscience that “if a Jewish state were declared and the United Nations stalled in its drive to establish trusteeship,the President of the United States would immediately recognize the new State.” But no word must get out. Only Dr. Weizman would be Truman’s point of contact with any of the Jews. Should word get out, the deal was off.
*May14, 1948 – The Jews are determined to go ahead to proclaim their state. theUnited nations is still debating the idea of a trusteeship with America’s spokesman supporting that idea. Consternation and disappointment have been rising among American Zionists. Chaim Weizman among a group of Jews in New Yorkremains strangely quiet.
At 6:00 p.m. Washington time, the proclamation of the Jewish State of Israel is tocome into effect, announced both in New York and Tel Aviv. That happens.
At6:11 p.m. the White House announces:
“Thegovernment has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed inPalestine, and recognition has been requested by the provisional government thereof.
“The United States recognizes the provisional government as the de facto authorityof the new State of Israel.”
Truman had kept his word, that Bible reading (and cussing) Baptist from Lamar,Missouri, had participated in the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
The dream of Pastor MacDonald, the vision of W.E. Blackstone and thousands of others, the desires of Jews around the world, the age-old predictions of the ancient prophets had come to pass.
*May 15, 1948 – The 30-year British Mandate and rule of Palestine is finally officially terminated.
*May 16, 1948 A message arrives fromTel Aviv for Chaim Weizrnan at his New York hotel, referring to him as the newHead of State. Later, news comes that he has been named President of theProvisional Council. In effect Chaim Weizman was the President of the State ofIsrael.
*May 25, 1948 – President Harry Truman welcomes President Chaim Weizman to the White House through the front door for a state visit. Weizman stays at BlairHouse, the official lodging for dignitaries. He presents Truman with a scrollof the Torah, symbolizing Jewish tradition.
Forthe first time since 63 B.C., when the Roman General Pompey ended the JewishHasmonean dynasty of kings and made Judea a vassal of the empire, anindependent Jewish nation exists. Over 2500 years had elapsed since the lastmonarch of the Davidic dynasty had sat on a throne.
Later,President Truman will response half humorously to an introduction by EddieJacobsen, saying that he helped create the State of Israel, before a crowd ofJews.
“Whatdo you mean ‘helped create’?” he replied. “I am Cyrus! I am Cyrus!”
Modern Israeli history continues.
We Christian Zionists watch with keen interest and strongly support the people of Israel from our dispensational perspective.
BUT THERE IS MORE, MUCHMORE, YET TO COME.
Time considerations have preempted extensive footnoting in the initial version of this paper. This material will be published in future issues of THE BAPTIST PREACHER and/or THE BAPTIST BIBLE TRIBUNE. These observations are drawn alsofrom nearly fifty years of extensive study.
Blackstone, W. E. JESUSIS COMING, 1878
Eban, Abba, HERITAGE:CIVILIZATION AND THE JEWS, Summit Books, New York, 1984
Feinberg, Charles L.ISRAEL IN THE SPOTLIGHT, Scripture Press, Chicago, 1956 and numerous otherworks by this writer
Gaebelein, HOPELESS, YETTHERE IS HOPE, Our Hope, New York, 1935 and numerous other works by this writer
Grose, Peter, ISRAEL INTHE MIND OF AMERICA, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1984
Hefley, James and Marti,ARABS, CHRISTIANS AND JEWS, Hannibal Books, Hannibal, Missouri, 1991
Kac, A.W. THE SPIRITUALDILEMMA OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE, Moody Press, Chicago, 1963
Kurtzman, Dan,BEN-GURION, PROPHET OF FIRE, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1983 and GENESIS,1948 by this author
Pike, Theodore, ISRAEL:OUR DUTY … OUR DILEMMA, Christian Research, Eureka Springs, Ark., 1984
Rose, Norman, CHAIMWEIZMAN, Viking, New York, 1986
Simon, Merrill, JERRYFALWELL AND THE JEWS, Jonathan David Publishers, Middle Village, New York, 1984
And various other magazine, newspaper and periodical accounts, plus commentaries and historical studies read over the last fifty years.
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