Greetings! Each week, Dr. Jack Van Impe, a man who can quote Scripture in rapid fire succession, sends out a "Message of Hope"...the following is a compilation of several such "messages" that I have found to be fascinating, I hope you will too! This is rather lengthy, but I believe it will be beneficial!
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE
THE KNEE BONE CONNECTED TO...
This is a rather lengthy post but well worth your time in reading it...Dr. Jack Van Impe, a man who can quote Bible Verses in rapid fire, weekly sends out "A Message of Hope" and I found these to be very thought provoking, I hope you will too!
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE
THE KNEE BONE CONNECTED TO...
Queen Victoria asked her Jewish prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli, "Can you give me one verse in the Bible that will prove its truth?"
He replied, "Your Majesty, I will give you one word -- Jew! If there was nothing else to prove the truth of the Bible, the history of the Jews is sufficient."
The survival of the Jews is a miracle. Scattered among the nations, despised by kings and generals who tried to destroy them, they have endured as a people. Why?
A Date with Destiny
The reason for the preservation of the Jewish race is found in the Bible. While their trials were foretold by the ancient prophets, so was their ultimate triumph. The same Book that announced their coming dispersion guaranteed their return to the land God had promised them: "Hear the word of the LORD, 0 ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock" (Jeremiah 31:10).
So the future of the Jews has always been sure. Efforts to destroy them as a race have been futile because they are destined to play an important role in end-time events. Actually, the Jews have been and still remain the most secure race on earth. The Hamans and Hitlers of history have come and gone, but the Jews remain. That is consistent with the message of the Bible: "Though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished" (Jeremiah 30:11).
This tiny scattered people, moving through the nations of the world, has had such a definite date with destiny that no power on earth could destroy them.
Further, the future of Israel was pronounced by Jeremiah to be as certain as the laws of the universe:
"Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord"(Jeremiah 31:35-37).
The ability of the Jews to remain a people apart while scattered throughout the world is another evidence of the divine plan. Minister and author Walter Brown Knight once wrote, "Through the centuries, the Jew has maintained his racial identity. Like Jonah in the belly of the great fish -- undigested, unassimilated -- the Jew has remained unassimilated, unamalgamated, undigested though he has wandered among all nations."
The Jews have been on a journey to Jerusalem for nearly two thousand years. Although at times some have lost sight of that destination in spite of their "Next year at Jerusalem" at Passover, the story of their sojourn through many lands and their ultimate return to the land of their fathers has been told again and again by the prophets.
Visit to a Cemetery
Perhaps the most vivid of all descriptions of the scattering and return of Israel is given by the prophet Ezekiel in his vision of the valley of dry bones. An acquaintance with this vision is essential to the student of prophecy who longs for an understanding of the events taking place in the Middle East in our day:
"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, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them 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 saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army" (Ezekiel 37:1 -- 10).
What an experience! The prophet was taken to a cemetery, a great valley full of bones. Exposed to the wind and sun, the bones had become dry and bleached. Ezekiel looked upon a valley full of skeletons, certainly not a happy sight, And while looking, he was asked: "Can these bones live?" In faith, he replied, "O Lord GOD, thou knowest."
Ezekiel was then given the responsibility of prophesying about these dry bones. He actually spoke to them and informed them that they would receive flesh, breath, and life. While he was speaking, there was a great noise and a shaking as the bones came together, attaching properly bone to bone. Finally, the skeletons, covered with flesh and given life, stood to their feet and became a great army. Further explaining the frightening experience, the prophet said:
"Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, 0 my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, 0 my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And 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" (Ezekiel 37:11-14).
Ezekiel's strange vision can be interpreted in this way: The bones represent Israel. Their disconnectedness and dryness indicate the people of Israel's scattering and lack of hope. The graves are the nations in which they dwell. The imparting of sinew, flesh, and breath is a miracle timed for the last days.
The Jews are to come out of their graves, i.e., the nations to which they have been scattered. They will return in unbelief and without spiritual life, but finally after being settled in their land, there will come a time of conversion -- new birth:
"And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, 0 my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And 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" (Ezekiel 37:13,14).
Understanding Ezekiel's vision is not difficult. But is it finding fulfillment in our day? Is there a point in time at which it can be reasonably said that the bones of Ezekiel's vision began coming together?
Following the ascension of Alexander III as Czar of Russia, thousands of Jews fled west in hope of finding freedom from persecution. Others turned their minds to nationalism. The ancient hope of a return to their homeland began to surface. To many, the thought seemed farfetched because Palestine was under Turkish control. Nevertheless, the desire of the Jews for a sanctuary moved them to establish two organizations, the purpose of both being the setting up of a Jewish homeland in the land of Palestine. Both groups were formed in 1882.
Birth of Zionism
The first of these organizations was called "Hoveve Zion," or "Lovers of Zion." This was a worldwide movement to promote interest in Jewish settlement in Palestine.
The second organization was a small group named "Bilu," composed of people who actually went to Palestine and began to work the land in spite of the objections of the Turks. The circumstances were very difficult and the settlements that were started were not economically successful. They were taken under the protection and assistance of Baron Edmund DeRothschild. In this way they survived.
The move among the Jews to return to their land, the stirring of the dry bones, was a small affair for more than a dozen years. In 1895, however, a dramatic event set one man's heart afire for the cause of Zionism. His name was Theodor Herzl.
Herzl, a Jewish Austrian newspaperman, had come to Paris to cover the public humiliation of Alfred Dreyfus, a French soldier convicted of collaboration with Germany. Dreyfus, a Jew, seemed the perfect example of one who had assimilated into the European culture and society, overcoming race and religion barriers. Having attended a famous military academy in France, he had received the rank of captain. Now he was accused of giving French military information to the German military attaché at Paris. Despite scanty evidence, a secret court-martial condemned Dreyfus to public humiliation and life imprisonment on Devil's Island. The case has gone down in history as a miscarriage of French justice.
The public humiliation of Dreyfus took place in January of 1895. Theodor Herzl stood with the crowd and heard them begin to cry, "Kill the traitor, kill the Jew." As the Jewish writer listened to the screams of the mob, a shock wave rolled through his entire being. Herzl heard that same crowd in effect crying for his blood, since he was also a Jew.
Walking away from the spectacle, Theodor Herzl was a broken man. Like Dreyfus, he had lived in comfort and had almost forgotten the persecutions of his people and the barriers that had existed between Jews and Gentiles through the centuries. Now he understood that those barriers still remained, that hatred for Jews was still real, and that all Jews were in jeopardy wherever they found themselves in the world. This awful awakening sent Herzl into seclusion to write a book that would shake the world and play an important role in establishing the State of Israel.
Herzl's book was a one-hundred-page work entitled: Der Judenstaat -- The Jewish State. The book began: "The Jews who will it shall have a state of their own."
In 1897, two years after the publication of his book, Theodor Herzl called the first World Zionist Congress to session in Basle, Switzerland. The meeting was held in a gambling casino. The name of those determined to bring about the return to their land would now be "Zionists," so named for Mount Zion in Palestine. Herzl was elected the international executive. A Jewish fund was established as well as a land bank to make it possible to purchase land in Palestine. A flag was chosen. The colors were white and blue for the colors of the tallith prayer shawl, and "Hatikvah" (The Hope) was designated as a national anthem.
At the conclusion of that first Zionist Congress, Herzl wrote in his diary, "I have founded the Jewish state. If I were to say so today, people would laugh at me, but in five years' time, certainly in fifty years, it will be seen that I was right." (On November 29, 1947, almost fifty years after Herzl wrote the words, the General Assembly of the United Nations by a majority vote made the birth of the State of Israel legally possible. In May of 1948, the nation was born.)
The new leader of Zionism exhausted himself in the cause to which he was committed. During the next eight years he met with many of the world's statesmen. This leader of a homeless people had a vision of a modern-day exodus. He dreamed not of straggling groups finding their way back to the Jewish homeland, but rather of great companies of Jews settling in their land and prospering there.
Herzl spent much of his early effort seeking sponsoring nations among the European powers. His first thought was of Germany and he wooed Wilhelm II. Finding no help there, he turned to England. In 1903, one year before Herzl's death, the British offered the Jews the country of Uganda as a place to settle. Although the Jews rejected this African area, England's offer gave official recognition to the Jewish right of a homeland. Herzl counted that a great victory.
Shortly after the turn of the century, increased persecution in Russia sent many immigrants to Palestine. Herzl's work was bearing fruit. Among these Jewish settlers was a young man named David Green from Plonsk, a Polish town northwest of Warsaw. His father, an attorney, had been an avid Zionist and young Green had listened enthusiastically as his father discussed the merits of Zionism with his friends.
David Green was not content to simply debate the issues. He longed to live in Israel and had come there to contribute to the establishment of that nation. In their book, O Jerusalem, Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre write that young Green found Jerusalem like a modern tower of Babel, with Jews speaking forty different languages and half of them unable to communicate with the other half.
Changing his name to David Ben-Gurion, this young immigrant became the editor of a Zionist trade union paper committed to the revival of the Hebrew language. After Herzl's death, he would become an important force in the establishment and development of the nation he loved.
The foundation of the nation had been laid. The dry bones were coming together. Ezekiel's vision was on its way to fulfillment; the most significant sign of the end times and the return of the Messiah would, in the next half century, become a reality.
But there were troubled times ahead.
War would come to Europe and to the world. Jews would find themselves in the middle of a global war, having friends on both sides of the conflict. The war itself would threaten to extinguish Zionism. For a time it would seem as if the bones of the vision would retreat to the dust and be as dry as the arid soil of the land the Jews were seeking to reclaim.
How did this struggling people manage to overcome the perils of World War I?
What part would World War I play in the development of the State of Israel and in setting the stage for the final drama of the ages?
What events in World War I were necessary to prepare the world for closing time?
World War I - The Threat to Survival
While traveling on a train the West, Leon Tucker spoke to a Jew about Israel. The Jew said he was perfectly satisfied in the United States. His home was here, his business was here, and his family had become established here. He was not interested in Jerusalem of the building of the nation of Israel.
"Stretch out your right hand," Tucker said. The Jew held out his right hand and Tucker looked at it. Then he said, "Stick out your tongue, please."
"Are you trying to make a fool of me?" the Jew asked.
"No," Tucker replied, "but I would like to see your tongue." The Jew stuck out his tongue.
Tucker looked at it and quoted from Psalm 137:5,6: "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy."
The Jew bowed his head and with tears said, "I have never been so rebuked in my life."
The Young Idealists
The years following the founding of Zionism demonstrated that many Jews had indeed forgotten Jerusalem. Having become comfortable, especially in the West, most Jews preferred to stay in the nations to which they had wandered.
Just before the turn of the century, however, there was a wave of Jewish immigrants to Palestine. Moved by Herzl's book and his eloquence, a number of young idealists came as pioneers to the land of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Many of these new arrivals were students. The education they were to receive in their chosen land was to be a difficult one. Palestine was under the control of Turkey, a nation hostile to Jews. The land was denuded of forests and most of it had returned to desert. Ancient terraces that had once protected the soil of Israel had long been destroyed, and erosion had conquered much of the are a. The vital partnership of soil and farmer, so needed for agricultural success, had been broken for centuries and conditions were deplorable.
Mark Twain, who visited Palestine in 1867, described it as:
...a desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds -- a silent mournful expanse. ...A desolation is here that not even imagination can grace with the pomp of life and action.... We never saw a human being on the whole route.... There was hardly a tree or a shrub anywhere. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.
Even as late as 1913, the report of the Palestine Royal Commission quotes an eyewitness account of the Maritime Plain as follows:
The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts. ...No orange groves, orchards or vineyards were to be seen until one reached Yabna village.... Not in a single village in all this area was water used for irrigation.... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen.... The ploughs used were of wood.... The yields were very poor.... The sanitary conditions in the village were horrible. Schools did not exist.... The rate of infant mortality was very high.... The western part, towards the sea, was almost a desert.... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria; many villages were deserted by their inhabitants.
But this hostile land would be tamed. The desert would yet blossom as the rose.
As the years passed, trained people would arrive -- scientific farmers, irrigation experts, builders of factories and cities, educators, and thinkers. These immigrants of diverse abilities and interests would in the next three- quarters of a century bring the dead land to life a gain. But what a task lay before them!
By 1914 there were about 100,000 Jews in Palestine, mostly in the area of Jerusalem. Though Herzl was no longer living, his dream was beginning to materialize. Foundations were being laid. Preparations were being made for the birth of a nation. Then World War I broke out.
Caught in the Middle
World conflict was especially unwanted by the Jews. Being small in number and finding themselves caught in the middle of strategic territory held by Turkey and desired by Great Britain, many Jews feared the worst -- death of their nation before its birth, the abortion of Israel, the destruction of Zionism.
Turkey's alliance with Germany threatened disaster to Jews in Palestine. Work had to be halted on the homeland. Jews with citizenship in any of the Allied nations were deported. Some Jews were forced to accept Turkish citizenship. Dozens were executed, accused of spying for the Allies.
Another problem for Jews in World War I was a division of loyalties. Jews fought on both sides of the conflict, and with equal patriotism. Unlike World War II, when Germany was an enemy of all Jewish people and thus unified them, World War I offered no such clear-cut decision. Jews in Germany were generally loyal to that land and served with devotion.
War Does Not Take God by Surprise
Although World War I brought great difficulties to the Jews and made the development of their homeland precarious, there were some important positive results from that tragic conflict. Students of the Bible understand that all events work out God's great plan. Even war does not take God by surprise. The working out of His program is not affected by the violence of man: "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain" (Ps. 76:10).
The first positive spin-off from World War I was the issuing of what is known as t he Balfour Declaration. Eager to involve the Jews on the side of the Allies and being especially concerned about their strategic location near the Suez Canal, British foreign secretary Arthur James Balfour, on November 2, 1917, sent the following declaration to Lord Rothschild expressing British sympathy with the cause of Zionism:
His Majesty's Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
British support for the establishment of the State of Israel was now on paper and declared to the world. If the aim of that move was to gain Jewish participation in the war, it was successful. The publication of the Balfour Declaration produced Jewish volunteers for service from Great Britain and other nations, especially the United States. It appeared now that instead of destroying Zionism, as had been feared, World War I would actually play an important role in establishing the Jews in their land.
Freedom for Jerusalem!
The second important development in the wartime drama was the arrival there of British General Allenby. The conquest of Jerusalem became one of his first objectives, and the success of his effort is well known.
The Balfour Declaration had been issued on November 2, 1917. One month later, General Allenby freed Jerusalem from the Turks. On December 9, 1917, Allenby's forces liber ated Jerusalem without firing a shot. When the Turks had discovered that a general was on the way whose name was Allenby (to them "Allah Bey" -- the Prophet of God), they had taken this to mean God was against them and they evacuated the city. It is also said that seeing airplanes in battle for the first time panicked the Turks because they were aware of Isaiah's promise of Jerusalem's deliverance: "As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it" (Isaiah 31:5).
Whatever the reasons, Jerusalem was free and the Jews rejoiced. And what a great occasion that victory must have been for General Allenby! He later told how as a boy as he knelt to say his evening prayers he had been taught by his mother to pray: "And O, Lord, we would not forget thine ancient people, Israel. Hasten the day when Israel shall again be Thy people and shall be restored to Thy favor and to their land." At a reception given for him in London, Allenby said, "I never knew that God would give me the privilege of helping to answer my own childhood prayers."
Statehood for Israel
A third benefit resulting from World War I was the public and official appreciation given to Dr. Chaim Weizmann, a Jew, for his contribution to the war effort of the Allies. Weizmann, who was born in Russia in 1874, studied chemistry in Germany and then taught at universities in Switzerland and England. During World War I he devised an improved method of making acetone, which is used in making explosives. This discovery may actually have affected the outcome of the war.
The prime minister of England credited Weizmann with saving the British army because of his work in providing explosives. When Great Britain tried to reward Weizmann for his work, he said, "There is nothing I want for myself, but there is something I would like you to do for my people." Weizmann requested the establishment in Palestine of a national homeland. It was generally thought that his work had a great deal to do with bringing about the Balfour Declaration. Weizmann later became the first president of the State of Israel.
Following the war, the newly formed League of Nations approved the providing of a national homeland for the Jews as outlined by the Balfour Resolution. President Woodrow Wilson proposed that the land of Palestine be under a British mandate as a temporary arrangement, the ultimate aim being emancipation and independence of that area. The proposal was adopted and the Jews rejoiced.
All seemed ready now for the fulfilling of the words of the Hebrew prophets concerning the return of the Jewish people to their land:
For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and w ill deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God (Ezekiel 34:11 -- 15).
But the battle was far from won. Difficult days were ahead for the Jews. The British mandate in Palestine did not turn out as the Zionists had hoped. Disappointment lingered. The vision of hundreds of thousands of Jews pouring into Palestine would have to wait another generation for fulfillment. Frustrating quotas allowing only small numbers of Jewish immigrants plagued the planners of this new nation. The struggle continued.
But What of the Arabs?
Hoping to keep peace with the Arabs, the British placed ridiculously small immigration quotas on the Jews. In 1930, a Royal Commission of Inquiry under agricultural and settlement expert Sir John Hope Simpson concluded that only 20,000 more settlers could be admitted to the land without forcing the Arabs out. At that time there were approximately 850,000 Arabs and 170,000 Jews living there. Simpson could not foresee that in the years to come millions would occupy the area, enjoying a far higher standard of living then he observed in 1930.
To support their restrictions of Jewish immigration, the British issued a series of "white papers" that supposedly gave good reasons for their action. The most shocking of the policies set forth in these official documents was the declaration that within a specified time a majority vote of the Arabs could halt all Jewish immigration. Of the final of these infamous papers, Winston Churchill said:
There is much in this white paper which is alien to the spirit of the Balfour Declaration, but I will not trouble about that. I will select the one point upon which there is plainly a breach and repudiation of the Balfour Declaration, the decision that Jewish immigration can be stopped in five years time by an Arab majority. This is a plain breach of a solemn obligation.
Others joined Churchill in protesting the injustice, but the British continued their restrictive action throughout their mandate. It would take another global war to finally build Jewish resolution sufficient to break down the barriers that made it illegal for them to reenter the land.
Winning the War but Losing the Peace
Hindsight declares that in World War I the Allies won the war but lost the peace. One of the reasons for this tragedy was the bitterness born in a young Austrian corporal in the German army named Adolf Hitler.
Angered at the humiliation brought to his people by the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I and bitter about society in general, Hitler set out to get revenge. He found a sympathetic following among many of the veterans of the defeated German army and later, in the economic chaos that befell Germany, among a good portion of the population. His ultimate political success, making him dictator of Germany, became one of the most regrettable developments of the twentieth century.
Though volumes have been written attempting to analyze the troubled mind of Adolf Hitler, his hatred of the Jews found expression in such inhuman policies and practices that they can only be attributed to satanic influence.
Taking the reins of the German government, he would embark on a binge of bloodshed that would victimize all nations. But none would suffer as the Jews. Six million of the children of Israel would die at the hands of Hitler and his henchmen. The world would never be the same again, and Jews everywhere would be determined to settle for nothing less than a land of their own -- the land of their fathers.
Hitler's holocaust -- the travail of Israel
The Jews have enriched all the nations in which they have settled - an inevitable fact because of the promise given to Abraham when he left his home to go to a land of God's choosing: "And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great, and thou shalt be a blessing" (Gen. 12:2).
According to the psalmist, God chose Israel for His "peculiar treasure" (Ps. 135:4). And although it has not often been recognized, the Jews have been a treasure to all nations of the world.
Mark Twain wrote:
Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous, dim puff of stardust in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of. He is as prominent on this planet as any other people. His commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also altogether out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in the world in all the ages and he has done it with his hands tied behind him.
Blessings through the Jews
Even those who hate Jews take advantage daily of their many contributions. Those who have heart disease and use digitalis are benefiting from the work of Ludwig Traube. If one has a toothache and uses Novocain, he is helped by the work of Carl Koller. If one contacts typhoid fever, his recovery is likely to be the result of the work of two Jews, Widal and Weil. If one has diabetes and uses insulin, it is because that product is available through the research work of a Jew named Minkowsky. The list is long; the blessings that come to us through the Jews are many.
When settling in their ancient homeland, the Jews brought blessing to the Arabs who dwelt there. That may sound absurd in the light of present conflicts in the Middle East, but it is true.
In 1937 the Peel Commission was sent by Great Britain to survey the situation in Palestine. The commission was headed by Lord Peel and composed of a group of men of exceptional ability. Its report in part was as follows:
It is difficult to detect any deterioration in the condition of the Arab upper class. Landowners have sold substantial pieces of land at a figure far above the price it would have fetched be fore the First World War [It must be noted that this commission's study was during the depression of the thirties].... In recent transactions, mainly Palestinian Arabs have been concerned and the transactions have all been considerable.... Partly, n o doubt as the result of land sales, the effendi class has been able to make substantial investments of capital.... At least six times more Arab-owned land is now planted with citrus than in 1920.... Some of the capital has been directed to building houses for lease or sale to industrial enterprise.... In the light of these facts, we have no doubt that many Arab landowners have benefited financially from Jewish immigration.... A member of the Arab higher committee admitted to us that nowhere in the world are such uneconomic land prices paid as by the Jews in Palestine.
The general beneficent effect of Jewish immigration on Arab welfare is illumined by the fact that the increase in Arab population is most marked in urban areas affected by Jewish development.... We are also of the opinion that up till now the Arab cultivator has benefited on the whole from the work of British administration and from the presence of the Jews in the country. Wages have gone up and the standard of living has improved. Jewish example has done much to improve Arab cultivation, especially citrus.
The reclamation and anti-malarial work undertaken by Jewish colonists have benefited all Arabs in the neighborhood. Institutions founded with Jewish funds primarily to serve the national home have also served the Arab population. The Arab charge that the Jews have obtained too large a proportion of good land cannot be maintained. Much of the land now carrying orange grove s was sand dunes and swamp when it was purchased.
But if this is true, why the Arab-Israeli conflict?
A similar question might also be asked concerning the reaction to Jews all over the world. Why are the Jews so maligned and hated when they are so productive and helpful? There can be but one explanation -- the fulfillment of prophecy: "And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the Lord shall lead thee" (Deut. 28:37).
So the Jew finds himself in a difficult situation. He is a blessing, yet a byword. He is a treasure, yet he experiences great trouble. He is a contributor, yet he causes conflict wherever he goes. In short, although the material gains brought by Jews are desired, the Jew himself is unwanted. Nowhere was this more true than in Germany during the Third Reich. The official government policy became the extermination of the Jews while salvaging their accumulated wealth, including all personal possessions down to the fillings in their teeth.
Hitler's Nazis made no secret of their hatred of the Jews from the very beginning. Part of their platform in 1920 was: "None but members of the nation may be citizens of the state. None but those of German blood, whatever their creed, may be members of the nation. No Jew, therefore, may be a member of the nation."
When Hitler finally came to power in Germany, the fate of the Jews in Europe was sealed. Like many before and after him, Hitler blamed the Jews for all the ills of society. He saw the Treaty of Versailles that ended the First World War as a Jewish document. Weaknesses in the German economy were attributed to the Jews. He faulted the Jews for the birth and presence of communism in the world. He accused the Jews of being revolutionary and instigating internationalism, a supposed plot o f the Jews to destroy Germany and seize control of the world. They became his favorite scapegoat, and their suffering at his hands rivals the most gruesome of human crimes.
Hitler's persecution of the Jews began in 1933; shortly after he took office. On April 7 of that year he stripped all Jews of offices in the German civil service. Government officials, doctors, lawyers, and workers in educational and cultural fields were all required to sign the following statement:
I declare officially herewith I do not know of any circumstance -- despite careful scrutiny -- that may justify the presumption that I am not of Aryan descent; in particular, none of my paternal or maternal parents or grandparents was at any time of the Jewish faith. I am fully aware of the fact that I expose myself to prosecution and dismissal if this declaration proves untrue.
Within three months, thirty thousand heads of Jewish families had been deprived of income.
The future sufferings of the Jews were also announced in two lines of a song called "The Horst Wessel Song," which became the theme of every major parade in Germany. Translated, two lines of the song were: "When Jewish blood flows from the knife, Things will go much better."
Under Hitler's direction there was a steady rise in outrageous demands and unlawful acts against all Jews. By 1938 every synagogue in the nation had been burned, the windows of every Jewish establishment had been shattered, and twenty-five thousand innocent Jews were in concentration camps.
In the infamous Buchenwald camp Jews were shipped and tortured during the day, while throughout the night a voice shouted over the loudspeakers, "Any Jew who wishes to hang himself is asked first to put a piece of paper in his mouth with his number on it so that we may know who he is."
Nazi atrocities against the Jews began to stir world opinion. Finally, in July of 1938, a conference of thirty-two nations was called in order to consider some means of rescue for these persecuted people. Spokesmen for various Jewish groups were heard, including Golda Meir, and the sufferings of the Jews in Germany for the previous five years were reviewed, as well as the evident course of persecution in the future.
Hitler was bent on raising a generation of Jew-haters. Proof of this was demonstrated by the following statement from one of the new German school reading books: "Remember that the Jews are children of the devil and murderers of mankind. Whoever is a murderer deserves to be killed himself." That look at the direction of education in Hitler's Germany ought to have been enough to move the conference to positive action.
But the world united to trap the Jews for Hitler.
A tragic provision was passed on the final day of the conference that closed the door to freedom for the Jews in Germany and most of Europe. The measure read: "The delegates of the countries of asylum are not willing to undertake any obligations toward financing involuntary immigration." In other words, only Jews who could pay their own way would be able to escape. Since Hitler forbade Jews to leave the country with more than five dollars, that resolution made escape impossible.
The action of the conference was so negative that it not only closed the door to freedom for Jews but also closed the mouths of critics in other nations. Hitler reacted to the decision of the conference in a speech, stating: "The other world is oozing sympathy for the poor tormented people but remains hard and obdurate when it comes to helping them. "
He informed the South African defense minister: "We shall solve the Jewish problem in the immediate future... the Jews will disappear."
Shortly thereafter, the official newspaper of the Gestapo declared, "Because it is necessary, because we no longer hear the world's screeching, and because after all no power on earth can hinder us, we will now bring the Jewish question to its totalitarian solution ."
World War II was especially historic to Jews because it was the first time world Jewry found themselves fighting a common enemy since they had battled the Romans in the first century. In other wars they had patriotically defended the nations in which they had made their homes. Now, recognizing that Hitler was their declared foe, Jews everywhere gave full effort to defeating him.
In 1939, when England declared war on Germany, 130,000 of the 450,000 Jews in Palestine volunteered for combat service with Britain. Jews performed valiantly during the war, both behind enemy lines, where they were in double jeopardy as Jews and freedom fighters and in conventional warfare as part of the armed forces of the Allied nations.
While devotedly serving the Allies, however, the Jews found themselves in a conflicting situation. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were fleeing before the advancing German army, hoping for entry into Palestine. Incredibly, the doors to that land were closed to them because of Britain's strict immigration policies. Nevertheless, the Jews gave hand and heart to the war effort, fighting as if the hated white paper that barred entrance to their homeland did not exist.
It is doubtful that any people ever suffered as did the Jews during World War II when they were the special object of Hitler's hatred. As the pace of the war increased, so did the mad dictator's effort to destroy the Jews. When German military successes increased Nazi-controlled territory, the noose around Jewish necks was drawn tighter. And the conquest of adjacent nations meant the encirclement of hundreds of thousands more of the Jews in Europe, who then became raw materials for Hitler's death factories, targets for his Jew-killing machine.
Moses had written:
Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee (Deut. 28:47, 48).
Hunger, thirst, and nakedness were only part of the privations and persecutions experienced by the Jews within Hitler's reach. German technical genius was set to work to build efficient equipment for the total destruction of the Jews. In Hitler's words, this was to be the "final solution" to the Jewish problem
The Murder Missions
When the German army moved into Russia, mobile killing units were dispatched for the sole purpose of following the army and killing Jews. Within five months, these murder missions had brought death to 500,000 Jews. Ultimately, about one and one-half million of the children of Israel would fall before the bullets of the Einsatsgruppen (the mobile killing units).
Equally dangerous to Jews were the mobile gas vans which were first used in Kelmo, Poland. Ninety Jews at a time were packed into each van and asphyxiated by carbon monoxide. The death rate in this operation ran about one thousand Jews per day.
But without doubt, the most efficient Jew killers were the Nazi concentration camps or "death factories." And there were many: Westerbork, Vught, Bergenbelsen, Buchenwald, Dachau, Grossrosen, Mauthausen, Ebensee, Theresienstadt, Sobibor, Auschwitz, Treblinka, and others.
Like a great industrial complex stretching across the ever-enlarging German empire, the camps were fed by trainloads of raw materials -- Jews -- and expected to produce whatever would pro fit the Third Reich. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were loaded into cattle cars and shipped like animals to the camps to be processed through the gas chambers and ovens.
The story is almost too hideous to tell. Moses had written, "Thy life shall hang in doubt before thee..." (Deut. 28:66) and the prophecy was literally fulfilled in the concentration camps of Hitler's "final solution."
Auschwitz was equipped to execute 10,000 Jews per day. Treblinka could destroy 25,000 per day. Arriving at one of these nightmare stations, a Jew might have life or death determined by the whim of one army officer. As the refugees came off the trains, one man might stand motioning to either the right or left. The left could mean the gas chambers while the right might allow a little time to work around the camp before the end.
Death Camp Deception
Reflection on the deception of the death camps is chilling. At Sobibor, a cordial greeting was given to new arrivals. Guards took children on their laps and gave them goodies. They were helpful with baggage, making official reports and providing tables for writing letters to friends. Pens and paper completed the illusion of helpfulness.
All the trappings of a holiday resort were at Sobibor. Everything seemed to inspire hope. There were canteens and parks. Rose gardens decorated the grounds. Yet it was there that in March of 1943 a wild celebration followed the execution of the millionth Jew. There was no hope at Sobibor.
Treblinka was set up as a rest center, a sanatorium. There was a waiting room and a railroad ticket office, giving the illusion that one would be able to buy his ticket for return after an assigned time there. Yet there was no return. Those arriving at Treblinka had simply entered the hopper of another of Hitler's killing machines. They would be destroyed, becoming some of the six million who were victims of Nazi hatred of the Jewish people.
The cooperation of non-Nazis in shipping Jews to their death is an unhappy story. Dutch resistance fighter J. A. Scheps rebuked his countrymen for their part in this awful slaughter, saying, "Don't you understand what they're doing to these helpless Jews? Don't you know how they torture our Jewish comrades? Have you bread-and-butter patriots never heard the voice of Rachel, she who mourns and will not be comforted for her children, the children you help carry to t heir death?"
Scheps challenged the Dutch engineers to refuse to carry the cattle cars full of Jews to their deaths. He called upon them to take a stand for righteousness and decency. Few did. Dutch trainmen transported 60,000 Dutch Jews in sixty-seven trains to one camp, Auschwitz, and only 500 returned.
The general procedure for Dutch Jews arriving at Auschwitz was to gas them immediately after being unloaded from the train. This was the heartless "It's-time- to-take-a-shower" routine. Usually women and children were taken first. All were ordered to undress in a common room. Clothes had to be neatly folded and shoes tied together (these would be sent to non-Jews thought worthy by the Third Reich).
The gas chamber appeared to be a shower room. To add reality to the lie, those entering were given a piece of soap and were promised a cup of coffee after the shower. When the room was packed with Jews, the forbidding door was shut and the gas was turned on. Within fifteen minutes the gruesome charade was over and it was time for the scavengers to begin their work. Gold teeth were removed. Wedding rings were taken off dead fingers. Women's hair was cut off. And the corpses were shoved into the ovens. The ritual was repeated again and again with the unfeeling efficiency of an assembly line. The end products were ashes and the few remaining possessions of European Jews who had already been robbed and uprooted."
The degree of Nazi hatred for the Jews may have been best expressed by the infamous Adolf Eichmann, who said, "I shall leap laughing into my grave, for the thought that I have five million human lives on my conscience is to me a source of inordinate satisfaction."
Can the fountain from which such thoughts flow be anything but satanic?
As the war drew to its close and Hitler's defeat was imminent, it became clear that history was about to bury another company of Jew-haters. God's promise to Abraham was invulnerable even to the military might of the Third Reich: "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 12:3).
On November 26, 1945, a statement by a Nazi doctor known for his bitterness toward Jews was published in Nuremberg, Germany. Admitting the tragedy of his own involvement in the attempted destruction of the Jews, he wrote:
We have forsaken God and therefore were forsaken by God.... Anti-Semitism distorted our outlook and we made grave errors. It is hard to admit mistakes, but the whole existence of our people is in question. We Nazis must have the courage to rid ourselves of anti-Semitism. We have to declare to the youth that it was a mistake
And what a mistake it was! It produced untold misery f or the Jews, exterminating six million of them and writing pages of disgrace in history concerning Hitler and the Nazis that will never be forgotten.
How different it might have been!
One author says: "Had Hitler loved the Israelites instead of hating them, he might have averted the greatest of all wars, the greatest of all destruction programs, and engendered the admiration of the world instead of its hatred."
Results of the Slaughter
Hitler's holocaust was decisive in bringing about the birth of the nation of Israel. European Jews had learned a hard lesson. They must never feel at home except in their own homeland.
The population of European Jews in 1939 had been 9,739,200. By 1945, Hitler's death camps and his portable killing units had reduced that population to 3,505,130. More than six million of the children of Israel had been victims of this slaughter.
Nevertheless, the Jews as a people were alive -- and Hitler was dead.
There was a future to be shaped, a homeland to be developed and work to be done in the land of their fathers. The Jews would do it. Having survived the holocaust, they were not to be denied their homeland. Immigration quotas and all other obstacles would be swept away in a new exodus to the land of Palestine.
The travail was not over. More years of struggle remained. But the birth of a nation was in sight -- the long-prophesied birth of the nation of Israel.
Other areas of God's prophetic program were developed by World War II. Russia had emerged as a military power. Europe was a shambles and would sense the need of cooperation and some kind of economic and political union, foreshadowing Daniel's prophecy of the revival of the Roman Empire. The immense wealth of the United States would be drained through postwar rebuilding of other nations and in acting as the world's peacekeeper and defender against communism, preparing the way for a power shift to Europe and the Mediterranean area. China and other nations of the East had been affected by the conflict and would move toward their end-time destinies.
Frightened, the world had entered the perilous nuclear age -- announcing the approach of closing time.