Jewish Hopes and Prospects
Chapter 4: The Regathering Of Israel
ONE of the most marvelous and significant fulfillments of prophecy in our time is the regathering of Israel to their homeland. According to the Scriptures, it is one of the evidences that signifies that the establishment of God's kingdom, with its accompanying blessings upon the whole world of mankind, is near at hand. (See, e.g., Isa. 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-4; Luke 21:29-31; Rom. 11:12, 15.) Both Jew and Gentile look for and hope for the establishment of this kingdom (Dan. 2:35, 44; 7:13, 14, 18, 22, 27; Matt. 6:10); hence a description of significant happenings connected with the regathering of Israel to their homeland, such as is given here, should be of deep interest to all.
THE TURNING POINT OF RETURNING FAVOR
In the Berlin Congress of Nations, in June 1878, the European Concert of Nations, under the leadership of Disraeli, a Jew, then Prime Minister of England, made it a matter of International Law that the Jews be given the right of settling in Palestine, with the removal of onerous handicaps from them. It was there that England assumed a general protectorate over the Asiatic provinces of Turkey, among which was Palestine; and the Turkish government amended its laws relating to aliens, which ameliorated the condition of Jews then residing in Palestine, as well as partially opened the door for others to locate there, with the privilege of holding real estate. Previously, the Jew was but a dog, to be cuffed, kicked and abused by his Mohammedan ruler, and was denied the most ordinary privileges of existence, in the land sacred to him with memories of the past, and with promises touching the future. We must remember, however, that the year 1878 was but the turning point of returning favor to Fleshly Israel. Their rise again to favor and their return to the land was to be gradual, even as their fall was gradual.
JEREMIAH 16:14-16 EXAMINED
Since Jer. 16:14-16 is one of the clearest Scripture passages describing Israel's regathering to the Holy Land, we will examine it in this connection. We quote: "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, the LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers. Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks." The "land of the north" is Russia, where until recently nearly one half of the Hebrew race resided, and "all the lands" refer to all other lands, especially those of Europe, such as Poland, Germany, Romania, Hungary, etc., where the Israelites have been scattered during the Gospel Age; from these places God here promises to bring them back into their own land.
Ever since 1878, in harmony with His promise in Jer. 16:16, God has been sending "fishers" with the attractive bait of Zionism to draw the Israelites, as symbolic fish, to Palestine. These fishers have been, in part, those statesmen who have politically assisted Israel to return; in part those Israelitish agitators who have been arousing their persecuted brethren to go to Palestine; and in part those spiritual Israelites (Christians) who have been proclaiming the Biblical Zionism. In 1882 Leo Pinsker, the forerunner of Dr. Theodor Herzl, encouraged by the prospects opened up by the Berlin Congress of Nations, began to preach what was really the comfort of Isa. 40:1, 2. Many prominent Israelites, such as Lilienblum, Levanda, Ruelf, etc., joined him in a world-wide proclamation of this message of comfort. In 1896 Dr. Herzl published his Jewish State, which aroused that form of agitation that is called Zionism, in the narrow sense of that term. All Jewry has been receiving this comfort ever since the Spring of 1878 in an ever-increasing measure.
Jer. 16:16 mentions also the "hunters" that would hunt the Jews from every mountain (kingdom), from every hill (the less high, less autocratic governments, viz, the republics or limited monarchies), and out of the holes of the rocks (the secret hiding places among the strongholds of human society, where they have found protection during their dispersion). A hunter pursues with intent to destroy. The "hunters" here refer to the persecutors and ravishers of Israel. In 1878 fierce persecution arose in Romania and Galicia, and especially in Russia, which in 1881 passed the May laws, in consequence of which Jews were fiendishly rooted up from their homes in Russia, Poland, Romania and Galicia. In the years that followed, thousands of Jews were persecuted, many being ruthlessly slaughtered; others were forced to flee for their lives. The Kishinev massacre of 1903, in which over 500 Jews were slaughtered in cold blood, was one among many of the dark deeds of the hunters driving Israel to seek refuge in other countries; among other places, in Palestine. Jewish men, women and children by the thousands were forced to march at the point of bayonets to serve as a blanket of flesh to protect Russian soldiers marching against the enemy in World War, Phase 1 (1914-1918). The armies of some other countries were likewise remorseless, and in Poland thousands of Jews were burned in pogroms. The use of Jewish children and adults for vivisection, their sterilization and various unspeakable atrocities and the murder of millions of Jews, especially by Hitler and his confederates, during World War, Phase 2 (1939-1945), caused many to flee, some finding their way back to Palestine. Thus God has used the wrath of man to praise Him (Psa. 76:10).
REGATHERED ISRAEL INCLUDES ALL 12 TRIBES
In promising to regather the children of Israel, God did not refer merely to the ten tribes (sometimes called Israel, Ephraim, etc.) as distinct from the two (usually designated Judah), but rather to all twelve tribes, for all twelve tribes were represented in "the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. 10:6), which house was cast off in 33 A.D. That all twelve tribes are meant is clearly indicated in Isa. 11:11, 12, where both the ten tribes as Israel and the two tribes as Judah are specified: "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time [even as He did the first time, at the end of the Babylonian captivity] to recover the remnant of his people … And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth [all of which has been going on ever since 1878, but was never done before, for before their Gospel-Age dispersion the twelve tribes had never been scattered unto the four corners of the earth]."
Also in Ezek. 36:22, 24 God refers to all twelve tribes under the name of Israel, when He says: "Therefore say unto the house of Israel … I will take you from among the heathen [nations], and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land [Palestine, their promised land]." This regathering was to precede the full end of the Gentile nations into which God had scattered them (Jer. 30:10, 11; 46:27, 28), and was to be from every quarter, to make of them "one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel … and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all … and they shall dwell in the land … for ever" (Ezek. 37:21, 22, 25).
DR. THEODOR HERZL'S WORK
In the 1890's, when Dr. Herzl (especially in his book, The Jewish State), envisioned Palestine as a free homeland for the persecuted of Jewry, few among them realized or even dared hope that it would really become an accomplished fact within this generation. They mourned for Zion, and waited; they did not generally know that God's set "time to favour her" (Psa. 102:13) really had come. Except in a few cases, they did not realize that their appointed time was accomplished (Isa. 40:2), that their "double" had been fulfilled and that God's favor was gradually returning to Israel; nor did they suspect the meaning of the "seven times" of chastisement (Lev. 26:18, 21, 24, 28), nor that this period of Gentile domination, "the times of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24), had about run its course. Nevertheless, Dr. Herzl and his associates began—no one knew exactly why—frantically to appeal to Jewish pride, to instill patriotism into God's Chosen People, "Israel after the flesh," to establish Zionist societies in various countries, and to educate and enthuse all Jewry for possible great developments ahead. The first International Zionist Congress met in Basle, Switzerland in 1897. By 1900 this political Zionism had begun to influence numbers to return to Palestine. Dr. Herzl continued actively to advance the cause of Zionism until his death in 1904, which came as a stunning blow to the Zionist movement, after which its progress became unsteady for awhile. By 1909 its leaders saw it trembling in the balances, and were frankly afraid it would come to nought.
NEW ENCOURAGEMENT GIVEN
But Zionism could not fail, for it had and still has the backing of Almighty God. Pastor Charles T. Russell, a Gentile friend of the Jewish people, and a deep student of the Hebrew prophecies, was used to arouse the languishing Zionist movement. As early as 1889, before even the Jewish world had heard much of Herzl and Zionism, Pastor Russell had published his book, The Time is At Hand, in which he set forth the prophecies which clearly indicated that 1914 would mark the end of the "seven times," or "Times of the Gentiles," and would mark an important change also for God's Chosen People Israel; in his book, Thy Kingdom Come (published in 1891), he had included a long chapter on "The Restoration of Israel." (Both of these books are still available.) In 1910 The Overland Monthly magazine published a series of 12 articles from Pastor Russell's pen, on "God's Chosen People," which aroused great curiosity and interest among the Jewish people.
THE 1910 HIPPODROME MEETING
In 1910, after Pastor Russell's return from Palestine, where he had made friends with Dr. Levy of the Zionist organization and had addressed an interested audience of Jews in Jerusalem, some American Zionists, mainly on Dr. Levy's recommendation, invited him to address a Jewish mass meeting at the New York Hippodrome. We quote their letter of invitation to him:
"New York, September 20, 1910
"Pastor C. T. Russell, Brooklyn, N. Y.
"Dear Sir:—Your sympathetic interest in the Jewish people for years past has not escaped our notice. Your denunciations of the atrocities perpetrated against our race in the name of Christianity have added to our conviction that you are a sincere friend. Your discourse on "Jerusalem and Jewish Hopes" has struck a responsive chord in the hearts of many of our people. Still we doubted for a time if any Christian minister could really be interested in a Jew as a Jew and not merely from a hope of proselyting him. It is because of this feeling that some of us requested you to make a public statement respecting the nature of your interest in our people and we desire you to know that the statement you did make was very satisfactory. In it you assured us that you are not urging Jews to become Christians and join any of the sects or parties of Protestants or Catholics. That statement, Pastor Russell, has been widely published in the Jewish journals. We feel, therefore, that we have nothing to fear from you as a race. On the contrary, in that statement you mentioned that the foundation of your interest in our people is built upon your faith in the testimonies of our Law and the messages of our Prophets. You may well understand how surprised we are to find a Christian minister acknowledging that there are prophecies of the Bible still unfulfilled, which belong to the Jew and not to the Christian, and that these prophecies, according to your studies, are nearing a fulfilment of momentous interest to our Jewish race and, through us as a people, to the nations of the world.
"These things, Pastor Russell, have led to the formation of a Jewish Mass Meeting Committee, which, by this letter requests you to give a public discourse, especially to our people. If you will kindly accept this invitation, will you permit us to suggest a topic for your address, which, we believe, will be very interesting to the public and especially to the Jews, namely, "Zionism in Prophecy"?
"As for the meeting: We suggest Sunday afternoon at three o'clock, October 9th. We have secured an option on the Hippodrome, New York's largest and finest Auditorium, for that date, and we hope that this date and the place will be agreeable to your convenience. We assure you also of a large audience of deeply interested Hebrews, besides whoever may come of the general public.
"Trusting to hear from you soon, we subscribe ourselves,
JEWISH MASS MEETING COMMITTEE."
A VERY UNUSUAL MEETING
More than 4,000 representative Jews attended this meeting at the Hippodrome, and heard what was extremely unusual for them to hear—a Gentile addressing them, and that on their own Hebrew prophecies! In his discourse Pastor Russell told of the taking away of the dominion from Zedekiah, the last of the line of David to sit upon the throne of God's typical kingdom, when Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, overthrew him and desolated the land, and how the Gentile governments, beginning with Babylon (Dan. 2), were promised a lease of power during the period in which Israel was cast off, which would continue until Messiah, "he whose right it is" (Ezek. 21:25-27), would come and establish God's kingdom on earth, this period of Gentile domination being in the prophecies designated as "seven times," which, in harmony with symbolic usage elsewhere in the Scriptures, is to be understood as representing 7 x 360, or 2520 years, beginning with Zedekiah's overthrow and extending to 1914, when the lease of power to the Gentile governments was due to terminate in a great time of trouble, preparatory to Messiah's establishment of God's kingdom on earth, with God's Chosen People, Israel, as its chief representatives and instruments among men, through whom all nations would be blessed in harmony with the promise made to Abraham (Gen. 22:16-18).
Many who were silent and suspicious at the beginning of Pastor Russell's address later burst into applause as he inspired them with new hope in the light of their Scriptures. Among those who heard him at this Hippodrome meeting were many Jewish rabbis, teachers, lawyers and editors, e.g., Dr. Jacobs, of the American Hebrew; W. J. Solomon and J. Brodsky of the Hebrew Standard; Louis Lipsky, of the Maccabean; A. B. Landau, of the Warheit; J. Pfeffer, of the Jewish Weekly; S. Diamont, of the Jewish Spirit; J. Barrondess, of the Jewish Big Stick; Mr. Goldman, of H 'Yom and Leo Wolfson, President of the Roumanian Societies.
A RELIGIOUS ZIONIST MOVEMENT BEGUN
After this Hippodrome Mass Meeting Pastor Russell addressed numerous other Jewish audiences on the same theme, both in America and in Europe. Large numbers of requests for his literature on Zionism began to pour in. As a result of the widespread interest, he published a special newspaper, Die Stimme, in Yiddish. Also, his weekly sermons in over 2,000 newspapers were reaching 10,000,000 readers each week, including many Jews. Thus he and his co-operators began to arouse the languishing Zionist movement, which up to that time had been mainly a political movement; and in a few years, by appeals to the prophecies and the promise made to Abraham (Gen. 22:16-18), they had rekindled the fires of Zionism along religious (but not conversionist) lines, and gradually made Israel aglow with the idea. This gave a new spirit and zeal, a new life and sinew, to that which in its languishing had come to resemble a valley of dry bones. It is this feature of the subject that is set forth in tableau in Ezekiel's vision (Ezek. 37:1-14), part of which reads as follows:
"The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones … very dry … He said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. … I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. And as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, … flesh came up upon them, … and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Then said he unto me … these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost. … Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD: Behold, O my people, I … shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD."
THE WORLD WAR—A PROPHECY FULFILLED
While Pastor Russell and his co-operators had thus revived the Zionist movement by appeals to the promises and to the prophecies and their fulfillment, many were still skeptical about the practicability of Zionism, for the Turks were still in control of Palestine, and, although they had permitted some Jews to return to Palestine from 1878 onward, they were not favorable to the Zionist hopes; also, because of the depleted condition of the land, it seemed difficult to see how many Jews could expect to make their living there. But those who thus doubted the practicability of Zionism were reckoning without a knowledge of God's plans for His Chosen People, Fleshly Israel. Additionally, many were skeptical about the ending of the Gentile times in 1914. When 1914 came there was an air of expectancy. Would any great change in world affairs come in the Fall of 1914, as Pastor Russell had predicted, to show that the lease of power to the Gentiles had expired, and that God was favoring Israel's return to their homeland?
The evidence, proving that the "seven times" (2520 years) had ended, came with the sudden outbreak of the World War, Phase 1, usually called World War 1. It was on the tenth day of the fifth lunar month in 607 B.C. that the temple, king's house, etc., in Jerusalem were fired by the Babylonians (Jer. 52:12, 13); and here exactly 2520 years later, on the tenth day of the fifth lunar month (Aug. 1, 1914), the World War began, it being the first feature of the great "time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time," "no, nor ever shall be" afterward (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21), which is overthrowing Gentile governments, preparatory to the establishment of God's kingdom on earth. Here was indeed a remarkable fulfillment of prophecy; and over 25 years beforehand Pastor Russell had from the prophecies accurately forecasted the beginning of the Time of Trouble as due in the Fall of 1914!
THE BRITISH PALESTINE CAMPAIGN
When Jerusalem was captured from the Turks in Dec. 1917, not merely Jewry but the whole world was thrilled. Everyone seemed to sense that here was something most unusual and significant. During the Palestinian campaign, the British troops, according to reports, were peculiarly affected as on no other battlefield, all being eager for information as to the history of each town or hill as it was taken. And so keenly interested was the reading public the world over, that the many newspaper correspondents were kept busy thumbing through Bibles, fitting Old Testament records to current events, and cabling column after column of dispatches filled with narrations of events that occurred on these same battlefields back in the days of Israel's ancient history.
The hopes of Zionism were greatly revived by the wresting of Palestine from the ruthless Turks. And the capture of Jerusalem brought to the Jews great rejoicing—especially to those who longed for the land of their fathers, who continued to turn their faces toward Jerusalem when they prayed (1 Kgs. 8:46-53; 2 Chron. 6:36-39), who buried their dead facing east, and who purposely left partly unfinished every house that they built for their dwelling, as mute testimony to the fact that they were but sojourners, wanderers, pilgrims in a strange land not their own! Even Lord Rothschild, who was one of the world's wealthiest bankers, left unfinished one of the pillars in his palatial home, thus signifying his role as a child of the dispersion, with but a temporary abiding place, and symbolizing his hopes that some day Israel might be able to fold her tents and go back home.
HOW JERUSALEM WAS SPARED
The sparing of Jerusalem on Dec. 9, 1917, without bombs or gunfire and without demolishing any of its sacred buildings, seems nothing short of a miracle. Jerusalem is almost impregnable as a natural fortress or stronghold. The Turkish army could have held out for a long time, and the city might have been bombed and destroyed with a worse destruction than when it was laid low by Nebuchadnezzar in 607 B.C., at the beginning of the "seven times" (7 x 360, or 2520 years before the Fall of 1914), or by Titus and the Roman army at the end of the Jewish Age. But God's time to favor Israel having come, He spared Jerusalem from destruction—it was actually taken without a single shot being fired, though it was being held by fierce and well equipped Turkish troops.
It was not until after the armistice that the full story behind Jerusalem's easy capture came to light. It is said that as General Allenby approached with his army, he wondered how he could best take the city without too much damage. He did not wish to destroy it, and he abhorred the thought of devastation and bloodshed within its sacred walls. But war is war, and he had a duty to perform. While thus he was trying to formulate plans for capturing yet sparing the city, an enemy runner reached the Turkish commandant, and reported that a strong army was approaching, led by a powerful general named Allah-Bey (Allenby). The Turkish title Bey, used after a name, denotes special respect or rank. The news quickly spread among the superstitious Muslim troops, and the magic name Allenby was understood by them to be Allah-Bey, or, as the name can be read in Arabic, Allah-Nebi, meaning, "The prophet of Allah." Terrified by what to them was a sacred name, they refused to fight against a "prophet of Allah," fearing Allah's wrath. Unable to cope with the situation, the commandant finally gave orders to hastily evacuate the city before "Allah-Bey" arrived.
After humbly entering the city on foot and taking over its occupation, General Allenby provided food for the starving people and permitted them to resume their peaceful pursuits. Then he with his troops, and the "Jewish Legion" fighting under the Jewish flag, pressed on, clearing the Turks from the remainder of Palestine. But his name finally lost its magic, as the Turks came to understand it better, and he met with much resistance. However, he pressed on northward and by autumn Damascus was taken; and within two weeks of the time that the Jewish Legion succeeded in driving the Turks beyond the ancient Solomon-Davidic boundary near Damascus, thus emancipating the entire land from this people, who for centuries had been the chief thorn in Israel's side, the general armistice was declared, and the war that had been raging for four years came to an abrupt stop all over the world. It was as if God had said, "The main objective, so far as My Chosen People are concerned, is now accomplished; hence cease your fighting, and let Israel go up and rebuild their homeland."
WORLD-WAR RESULTS FAVORABLE TO ZIONISM
Thus the first phase of the World War (1914-1918) resulted in great advantages coming to the Jews in their return to their homeland. Not only did it free Palestine from the despotic rule of the Turks, but it also brought pressure on Britain to aid the Zionist movement; and, largely due to the activities of Dr. Chaim Weizmann, Britain on Nov. 2, 1917 issued the Balfour Declaration, which pledged her to "view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people" and to "use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object." The other Allied powers concurred in this declaration. Thus the way was opened for Israel's return to the land to advance by leaps and bounds.
After the end of World War, Phase 1, Britain was given the Mandate for Palestine, at the San Remo Conference of the Allied Supreme Council in April, 1920. This Mandate was confirmed by the Council of the League of Nations in 1922, though it did not come into effect officially until Sept. 1923. This should have led to unrestricted Jewish immigration to Palestine, but it did not; because of Arab opposition and disturbances in Palestine, Britain restricted immigration. However, the Lord in due time brought such pressure upon Britain (in part through World War, Phase 2) as forced her to let Israelites return with fewer restrictions.
A RECOGNIZED NATION
At long last, after many years of negotiation and the termination of the British Mandate, the State of Israel was set up in May, 1948. Dr. Chaim Weizmann was elected as its first President, and David Ben Gurion it first Prime Minister. Since then, many thousands have returned by air, sea, etc. Under the Law of the Return passed by Israel's Parliament in 1950, the gates of Israel were opened to whoever desires to return. It is reported that Jews have come from over 80 different countries, and that there are now over 6,000,000 Jews in Palestine. During 1948-49, the Jews were victorious in warfare with the Arabs. God will continue to assist the Israelites to rid the Holy Land of the Arabs. He will make it entirely Israel's possession, as the prophecies assure us, and will make their boundaries as extensive as they were in the days of David and Solomon.
A DEVASTATED LAND REHABILITATED
The first phase of the World War (1914-1918) had left Palestine economically in very desperate straits. The Turkish armies had overrun, pillaged and devastated the land, and for the previous centuries the Turks and Arabs had ruthlessly destroyed the forests, robbed the soil of its fertility and done little or nothing to prevent soil erosion, until in 1918 half of the land was written off as barren. But things were to take a decided turn for the better. God had promised (Jer. 32:37, 41-44) that He would "cause their captivity to return" and He would "cause them to dwell safely." Furthermore, in Amos 9:14, 15, He promised: "I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them [the land promised to Jacob's seed for an everlasting possession—Gen. 48:4; 17:8]."
A captive people, scattered ev'rywhere,
Amid the nations driven to and fro,
Yet never wand'ring from Jehovah's care,
And ne'er by Him forgotten in their woe—
That people is God's chosen Israel,
From far and near they gather to their home,
In peace and plenty shall they ever dwell,
And never from their habitation roam.
Wherever the returning exiles are settling, they are, under Divine blessing, through scientific agriculture and fruit culture, restoring the former fertility of the land. In 1927 the Pools of Solomon, dry for centuries, began to overflow and some 60,000,000 gallons of water were by measurements estimated to be in the pools. At that time the High Commissioner of Palestine was asked to declare a day of public thanksgiving for this seeming miracle. For many centuries the "early rains" had been scant, while the "latter rains" had disappeared entirely. But, according to report, these have returned to gladden the land, with the result that some parts of Palestine yield two or three crops a year. By irrigation, drainage, etc., hundreds of thousands of acres are being transformed from swampy, arid and malarial conditions into fertile land. E.g., the valley of Esdraelon (Jezreel), one vast malarial swamp, has been turned into an Edenic garden. Palestine's fruits, e.g., oranges, are considered superior to any others in the world. Close to 18,000 tons of olives, the biggest harvest in recent years, were picked in Israel during the past year; and over 1,000 olive oil mills now operate and manufacture numerous products. Indeed, O Israel, God "has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before. The threshing floors shall be full of grain, the vats shall overflow with wine and oil" (Joel 2:23, 24—RSV)
Jewish organizations outside of Palestine, especially in America, have assisted greatly in Israel's re-establishment in their land. In America alone they are reported to have raised over a billion dollars in the past ten years for philanthropic work in Israel. Building is going on at a tremendous rate. Jerusalem is expanding exactly as foretold in Jer. 31:38-40. In 1910 Tel Aviv was a mere handful of tents; now it is a thriving seaport with a population of over 400,000. Haifa was a small village; today it is one of the finest ports on the Mediterranean. Indeed, "they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations" (Isa. 61:4).
The Jews will continue to build up the country quickly and will make it enormously wealthy. Worldwide unrest will influence many wealthy Israelites to divert vast millions of treasure to Palestine, and to lay it up there for safe-keeping against financial losses during the time the Gentile nations are embroiled in the further stages of this great Time of Trouble. After its revolution and anarchy have taken their toll and decimated the Gentile population (Jer. 25:33), while the Jews will be dwelling in comparative peace and safety, the remnants of the European, Asiatic and African nations, on beholding the prosperous Israelites, will be stirred up to plunder them, with the result that they will bring upon them Jacob's trouble, Phase 2 (Jer. 30:4-8)—the last dregs of Israel's cup of woe. But their Messiah will give them such a signal deliverance (Ezek. 38:18—39:29) that as one man they will turn to the Lord (Zech. 12:9, 10); and the Holy Land will thereafter be indisputably theirs. Thus as a nation in their homeland, they will be the nucleus of the world of mankind, fitted for and waiting to receive the earthly phase of the Millennial kingdom which is to be set up first in their midst.
THE CAPITAL OF THE COMING KINGDOM
It is interesting to note that, despite the strong protests of certain Gentile governments, the capital of Israel, including its Foreign Ministry offices, is now fully moved from Tel Aviv and established in Jerusalem. This is as it should be, for under the new era soon to be established with its reign of peace, "out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem" (Isa. 2:3),—not from Tel Aviv, where the UN had decreed that the capital should remain, in keeping with its plan to put Jerusalem under international control.
Jerusalem is to be the capital of the coming Kingdom on earth, for which Christian people still pray, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." The Apostle Paul explained (Rom. 11:25, 26) that "blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in," after which "all Israel shall be saved [recovered from their blindness—Zech. 12:10]: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer [the Messiah and His joint-heirs—Rev. 14:1; Obad. 21], and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob [Fleshly Israel]." The Messiah is now building again the tabernacle of David, which was fallen down, that the rest of mankind might seek after the Lord (Amos 9:11, 12; Acts 15:15-17), for Abraham's Seed is to bless all the families of the earth (Gen. 22:18; Zech. 8:13-23; 14:16, 17; Isa. 2:2-4).
"Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart; O daughter of Jerusalem. The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly. … Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD" (Zeph. 3:14-20). "Blessed be the LORD the God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Halleluiah" (Psa. 106:48).
Scattered by God's avenging hand,
Afflicted and forlorn,
Sad wanderers from their pleasant land,
Do Judah's children mourn;
And e'en in Christian countries, few
Breathe thoughts of pity for the Jew.
Yet listen, Gentile, do you love
The Bible's precious page?
Then let your heart with kindness move
To Israel's heritage;
Who traced those lines of love for you?—
Each sacred writer was a Jew.
And then as years and ages passed,
And nations rose and fell,
Though clouds and darkness oft were cast
O'er captive Israel,
The oracles of God for you
Were kept in safety by the Jew.
And when the great Messiah came
For guilty man to bleed,
He did not take an angel's name,
No—born of Abraham's seed—
Jesus, who gave His life for you,
The gentle Savior was a Jew.
And though His own received Him not,
And turned in pride away,
Whence is the Gentile's happier lot?
Are you more just than they?
No; God in pity turned to you—
Have you no pity for the Jew?
Go, then, and bend your knee to pray
For Israel's ancient race;
Ask the dear Savior every day
To call them by His grace;
Go, for a debt of love is due
From Christian Gentiles to the Jew.
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