Two striking facts are apparent to every careful student of history; and, properly interpreted, these facts form a very illuminating background for the understanding of certain sections of God's prophetic utterances. Prophecy is really human history written as it shall be enacted and history may in many cases be defined as prophecy fulfilled by human conduct. Man is so lacking in originality and so prone to react to any given set of circumstances in a certain way, that history is itself a form of prophecy. That is to say, if we desire to know what man will do in any emergency or how he will conduct himself in any crisis, we need only find out how he comported himself under similar circumstances in past time. It seems to be established by all past history that the race will always respond in the same manner to the pressure of a given condition. Therefore the shrewd student of human affairs can sometimes prognosticate human conduct in the light of past experience.
It is for this reason that we said that two lessons from history may shed light on prophetic passages. The first of these facts is that there have always been focal points in human conduct. These may be better defined as crises in conduct, or epochs in human relationships. Such climaxes may be reached once in a generation or even oftener, or they may occur only after centuries have elapsed. One such crisis was the World War of 1914-1918, and the present conflict in Europe may turn out to be another.
The significance of this fact for our present consideration lies in the fact that God's Word prophesies that the end of our age will have its climax in such a focal point, in what shall be the next to the last gathering of armed men dedicated to a program of conquest and invasion. Their abortive attempt may be best known as "The Battle of the Valley of Jehoshaphat, although no battle will be fought, in the strictest sense of that word.
The second point of our premise is the fact that there are also certain geographical foci in human history. At one time human history centered in Mesopotamia, before it shifted to Egypt. Later the focus of history, geographically speaking, was Greece, then Rome.
After centering around the Mediterranean Sea for the greater part of all human history, the scene shifted to Europe. From thence it leaped the Atlantic Ocean to find its center in the New World. For a generation these western continents have been the focus of human interest, and history has been directed from this part of the globe.
But the Word of God warns us in no uncertain terms that the Western Hemisphere is not destined to remain the geographical focus of world events. The historical and the geographical foci will be in the tiny land of Palestine, when our Lord Jesus returns to end human dominion and establish His kingdom for His millennial reign..
Thus Palestine is destined to become the storm center in the drama of human events. A crisis is prophesied for that land, for it shall be invaded by an army hungry for loot. This army is destined to be all but exterminated by supernatural forces, and thus we cannot properly call the debacle a battle.
The result will be the personal return of Jesus Christ and the, beginning of the reign of Heaven over the earth. This Golden Age cannot come until the crisis is past; so we look with interest at the present condition of the nations and lands which will later be involved in the surging tide of these mighty events, to see if in this instance "'coming events cast their shadows before."
The poet Campbell very truly says, "Coming events cast their shadows before." How much truth lies in that statement history can testify, for the man who is wise enough to discern the signs of his own times is never caught napping by the swift tides of human events.
In the dark and tragic days in which we now live, many are wondering with fainting hearts just what the future may hold. Bleak foreboding blackens the immediate horizon, lighted only by the flickering flames of a world that is again on fire. Every safeguard which humanity labored to erect for the defense of civilization has been demolished in the crash of heavy artillery, and the "assured gains" of human brotherhood have all been swept away by the swelling tides of human hatred and lust. The voice of love has been drowned out by the ghastly medley of pain and fear torn from the throats of suffering women and babies. The once bright highways of human progress are impassable today, buried so deeply under the corpses of murdered men that no one generation will suffice to clear them for human progress.
Is there then no fight to alleviate the bitter darkness of this frightful age? Just one.
"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path," sang the Psalmist of old and his words are eminently true today.
The prophetic sections of the Bible offer to this bewildered age the only help that is or shall be available. It is well indeed that we give heed to the Lamp of prophecy, until the day dawn and the Day Star arise.
But we must proceed here with wisdom, exercising caution and restraint. There is great danger at such times and in such stress that men will go beyond what is written and merely cloud the issue with human interpretations of God's Word. We pray that we may be guarded from that very common mistake.
We are not prophets: we are students of prophecy!
We are not called upon to prophesy: our task is to study the prophecies.
To that end this series of books is offered. "'What saith the Word of God, and how do present events fit into the pattern of His revelations?" is the question we shall seek to answer in a manner that is sane, restrained, and Scriptural. For that reason we shall deal only with events which are foreshadowed by some actuality which may be observed in our own age.
As an instance, the Bible prophesies a League of Ten Nations which shall one day rule the world. This future combination was foreshadowed by the recent puerile and pitiful League of Nations. Even though this recent League was the most colossal failure in human history, it speaks of the possibility of the League which is to be.
The present dictators point to the coming man of sin, even as the present war authenticates the coming invasion of which prophecy speaks.
In presenting these papers on prophecy, the author hopes only to stir up the mind of his readers to the end that the thoughtful among them will search the Scriptures to see if these things be so. Only as they know the Word of God can the children of light keep themselves from being overwhelmed in amazement at the dark deeds of this sinful, Christ-rejecting age.
Palestine, the Coming Storm Center
5. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
6. In his day Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely, and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
7. Therefore, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
8. But, the Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I have driven them, and they shall dwell in their own land.
PALESTINE: Center of the Coming Storm
The twenty-third chapter of Jeremiah contains a prophecy which is as yet unfulfilled--one of many such in the Old Testament. It is a noteworthy fact that all prophecy which awaits fulfillment in the march of time deals with some phase of the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ, and this paragraph from Jeremiah is no exception. The four verses which are printed at the head of this chapter refer to a return to Palestine which still, awaits the people of Israel, and which they are destined to make in the fullness of time.
This return will mark a new era in the history of the Jew, and from it he will reckon time as from a new starting point. Even as the ancients spoke of God as the One who brought them out of the land of Egypt, so that future generation will refer to Him as the One who regathered the children of Israel from the world-wide dispersion which is their present condition. The sure promise of this God, thus recorded, is that He will some day gather all the great mass of the Jews from the ends of the earth and establish them again in the land of Palestine.
There can be no question that this particular promise refers to a future event, since the prophecy states that when this return occurs, a Jewish prince, known as "'the Branch," shall reign in the land. His reign will not be over Palestine alone, for from there this king shall "execute judgment and justice in the earth"! Peace and security shall be the position of the Jew during that reign, and the king shall bear the name of Deity!
There has never been even a remote approximation to a fulfillment of this prophecy in the past history of Israel. It is true that after Jeremiah wrote, a remnant of the Jews returned to Palestine, but this was only a partial return. Further, we are forced to note that they did not return from all the countries whither they had been driven, but came back only from Assyria. Also, they returned to be enslaved by a conquering Gentile power; no king of their own lineage reigned over them. The despotism of Herod, a Roman puppet whom they hated fiercely, could hardly be a fulfillment of the promise of a righteous reign of justice and godliness!
There are other prophecies, however, which define and limit the clear statement of this return. If you will read the first eleven verses of the thirtieth chapter of Jeremiah, you will see that this return is to be accomplished only after a time of tribulation and suffering. In this section of the great book of Jeremiah, God again states that He will return Israel to Palestine. But first there shall ascend a trembling voice of fear and pain, and the nation shall cry and groan in travail in a day that shall be known in history as the time of Jacob's trouble. After this, the Lord will deliver the Jew from the yoke of Gentile dominion, and raise up to him as king a son of David. Before the Jews may experience the blessing of the return, however, they must pass through the purging fires of pain.
The same promise of a glorious return a glorious return after a time of sadness is recorded by this same prophet in verses seven to fourteen of the thirty-first chapter. Here we read the identical promise of a return to freedom, happiness and autonomy after anguish and despair.
But until the time of the redemption of these many promises of God, the land of Palestine is to remain under Gentile dominion, and the Jew shall be as a stranger and a foreigner in the land God gave him to be his special possession! The present mandate over Canaan that is exercised by Britain is rooted in the consent of certain Gentile nations which formed the now defunct League of Nations; the owners of the land were never consulted in the arrangement. This situation is itself an evidence of the inspiration of the prophetic writings. Even as our Lord Jesus said in Luke 21:24, "And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."
These words are familiar to students of the Bible, and they cover the entire span of time which began with the sad record in Jeremiah 39, and will end with the events of the nineteenth chapter of Revelation. Or to say the same thing more precisely, the "times of the Gentiles" began with the year 589 B.C. and will end when Jesus returns. But His return will be immediately preceded by a storm in Palestine which will shake the nations of the earth. The Jews, returning to Palestine, will rebuild that land and make it the treasure spot of the future. Certain nations will invade Palestine to rob Israel, and the invasion will usher in the returning Messiah, Who will smite the armed host and relieve the siege of the ancient city. We shall come back to this thought as our study progresses; right now we must pause to survey the present situation of and in Palestine.
The new era really began during a crisis in Great Britain's conduct of the war of 19141918. Students of history will remember that Britain entered upon that war woefully unprepared, and faced the prospect of disaster because of her confidence in promises of world peace. After desperate months of struggle, when the need of the armed forces was most critical, word leaked out that the munitions were almost exhausted and only a miracle could save the embattled empire. This situation precipitated a crisis in the cabinet of Lloyd George, and deep concern swept over the entire realm. The chief high explosive used by Britain was cordite, and in its manufacture acetone is essential. The supplies of this material had been limited to begin with, and the accelerated rate of manufacture had completely exhausted all reserves. Unless some method of producing acetone synthetically could be discovered, certain disaster faced the armies of the Empire.
A great company of Israel has held to the hope of a return to Palestine in every age of the many exiles, and in these times such Jews call themselves "Zionists," and their organized movement is known as "Zionism." The official head of this company was and still is one Dr. Chaim Weizmann, a noted and able chemist. His aid was solicited by Lloyd George, and he accepted an appointment which made him head of the research laboratories of the Admiralty. Urged to speed at any cost, and under the pressure of an anxious cabinet, this brilliant young scholar perfected a method of synthesizing acetone from horse chestnuts and gave Britain a cheap and satisfactory supply of acetone, so that the manufacture of cordite could continue.
Asked to choose any reward that a grateful government could give him, Dr. Weizmann would accept no other honor or emolument for himself than the satisfaction of a duty well and faithfully done, but pleaded for the recognition of Zionism. In return for his work for Great Britain, he asked the official aid of the government in establishing in Palestine an official Jewish state for all Jews who desired to dwell there, and the bargain was sealed, if the Empire weathered the storm of war.
From this point on, events moved with startling rapidity. The first item of interest was a proclamation known as the Balfour Declaration because it was sent to Lord Rothschild by the great Balfour. The exact text of this paper is quoted here in these important and significant words:
|His Majesty's government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best efforts to facilitate the attainment of this object: it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.|
The manner in which the Zionist leaders moved to preserve the rights of non-Jewish communities in the Holy Land will be referred to later. Just now we are concerned with establishing a time table of events.
The second episode occurred on December 9,1917, when General Allenby marched into Jerusalem at the head of his victorious army. The way in which the sacred city was preserved from bombardment and spared the devastation of artillery shelling is a story too long to repeat here. Suffice it to say that Isaiah 31 was fulfilled in a marvelous manner. While the ruins of other shattered villages may still be seen in Palestine, grim reminders of the war and its havoc, Jerusalem suffered no harm.
We now leap ahead to March, 1918, when the Jewish flag was unfurled from the Tower of David in the ancient part of the city, and General Allenby proclaimed a Jewish state.
The next important event was the Armistice of Nov. 11, 1918, bringing victory to the Allied Powers, and giving them the power and privileges customarily accruing to conquerors. Thus Great Britain found herself in a position to fulfill all her promises and pledges.
She moved accordingly, and on May 24, 1920, the League of Nations officially ratified Britain's mandate over Palestine, giving her sovereignty over the territory.
When one Herbert Samuel became Governor of Palestine, he was the first Jew to reign in fact in that land since the days of the Maccabees, and it seemed as though we were on the verge of the golden age for Israel! Since that day hundreds of thousands of Jews have returned to Palestine, and have poured into its rehabilitation hundreds of millions of dollars.
These colonists have astounded the world by the transformation which they have wrought. They changed deserts into orchards. They metamorphosed wastes into cities. They brought beauty where desolation had reigned, and caused the waste places to yield fruitful harvests.
And all of this has been accomplished in the midst of even as the prophets foretold!
The land has been troubled in many ways and by many factions. First and foremost among the disturbing elements is the Arab population whose ancestors have lived there for some six hundred years. They claim the land by right of priority and because of these six centuries of tenure. Ask them how their fathers got the land, and they will proudly answer, By the, sword!" And it is useless to remind them that before they took the land for the six-century tenure, it had belonged to the Jews for three thousand years! God gave the title of the land to the descendants of Abraham, confirmed it by the Palestinian covenant, and promised them possession for the price of obedience. When they forfeited the land because of their sin and apostasy, He healed their backslidings and restored them. Once again thrust out of their homeland, be6use of their crucifixion of their Messiah, they were promised reestablishment therein, in preparation for the Second Advent of David's Son. Thus the Arabs are usurpers and have no claim in fact.
Furthermore, the Arabs have not possessed Palestine for six centuries, by right of conquest or by any other right whatsoever. Prior rights are vested in Israel, if conquest is to be the basis of title. The conquest of the land by the Jews, in the day of Joshua, goes back twenty centuries before the Arabs overran the land with the sword. The Arabs did hold the country from 637 A.D. until the Turks took it away from them in 1516 A.D., and the Turks held the country until Great Britain wrested it from them as part of the soils of the war of 1914-1918. If "right of conquest" is to the basis of the final disposition of the land, then Great Britain has the final word.
But the case for Israel is even stronger than this. It will be remembered that the Balfour declaration expressly stated that the establishing of a Jewish state should not violate the rights of non-Jewish residents or communities. For this reason the leaders of Zionism met with the Arab rulers and asked them to set a price on their lands. This was done, and Israel bought this land from the Arab owners in spite of the fact that the price asked was about six times its value in the poor condition in which it was then.
At once the new owners began to plant, cultivate, build and develop. After more than a decade of heartbreaking labor, and after spending some three hundred million dollars, the laboring Israel turned Palestine into a paradise. Thereupon the disgruntled Arabs began to stir up strife. No doubt a difference of ideology entered into the issue. The Arab desires a land that is wild, unfenced and unplowed, that he may use it to graze flocks and herds. The Jew desires to fence his land and cultivate it, and thus wrest a living from the soil. And when Jewish sweat and treasure began to show results and the land produced in payment, the Arabs cried I out that they had been cheated, and demanded that the land be returned to them.
The Jews asked, "'What price do you offer to buy it back?"
The Arabs replied, "Unfortunately we can't pay, as we have no money. But it is our land, and has been for six hundred years!
The bewildered Zionists retorted, "But you sold it!"
The Arabs closed the argument by saying, "The sale was a mistake and we regret it. Now we intend to take the land back."
Thus "troublous times" began could write by the hour of the scenes of outrage and bloodshed that followed, and tell of personal experiences and tragedies that I witnessed in Palestine during the terror which followed. I feel that no impartial observer can fail to sympathize with the Jews in their courageous and heroic effort to keep their land and make their home secure. And, like most such observers, I cannot help feeling that God will yet judge Great Britain for her shameless failure to confirm the promises made to Zionists and to stand by Israel in this struggle. His Majesty's government has most certainly not kept its word in this respect.
It is argued that the question is one concerning the rights of native Arabs against Jewish immigrants, but this is not so. If you consult the records you will see that for every Jew who has returned to Palestine, six Arabs have immigrated into the land, and it is these immigrant Moslems from Syria, Iraq, Transjordania and Arabia who are causing the disturbance. It is the age-old Arab system of loot and pillage, the strong seeking to rob the weak. And while Britain stands by and permits this to happen, courageous Israel goes right on planting, building, reclaiming and using her own blood to fertilize the soil!
The second contributing factor in these "troublous times" is to be found among a certain class of Jews. Among the refugees who fled to Palestine, especially from Russia and Germany, were many who were Jews in name and lineage only. That is to say, they were impregnated with higher criticism and in some cases were literally atheistic, and they despised Moses and the Law. This situation was bound to produce trouble, as the orthodox Jews demanded reverence for the Sabbath and recognition of the day as a time of religious activity alone. The modernistic Jews refused to conform, and opened their cafes, business houses and places of amusement in Tel Aviv. They even went so far as to promote sports activities on that day, holding cricket matches and football games.
When the orthodox sought to enforce the local laws concerning the Sabbath, riots actually occurred, making it necessary for the British police to interfere and restore order! In one case it was necessary to send armed troops to put down the disturbance. The British took a hand and decreed that since Palestine was to be a Jewish state, the orthodox opinion should prevail and the Sabbath must be respected. But the issue is not settled; the sullen and resentful obedience of Jewish infidels is only temporary, and trouble may yet boil over in this cauldron of Palestine.
A third disturbing factor may be clearly discerned in the ambitions and activities of Il Duce, Benito Mussolini. The "great Italian" has a fond dream of rebuilding the Roman Empire, and he is eternally vigilant for opportunities to further this cause. He is an opportunist to further this cause. He is shrewd and able, and rarely misses an opening. Unhindered by ethics or questions of honor and decency where the welfare of Italy is concerned, Mussolini has long dreamed of a Palestinian "grab."
For this reason he has been ceaselessly active in, stirring up strife in the Holy Land and has been especially shrewd in his tactics. He erected a powerful radio station in Libya, which broadcasts several hours a day in Arabic. The programs were magnificently planned to rouse the rabble Moslem hordes. For thirty minutes the radio would carry the type of entertainment the Arabs dearly love traditional song and story. Then for ten minutes there would be clever propaganda, the general theme of which was that Italy was the friend of the Moslems and that Britain was their enemy. The promise was made that if the Arabs would join the Italians, Palestine and Egypt would be given back to them, and Mussolini would be the Protector of Islam.
The shrewd Duce then presented lovely radio sets to the Arab coffee shops and other places of congregation, and these sets were soldered so that they could receive only the Italian Libyan station. Thus the customers of such shops were a certain audience for the propaganda.
And so poor, down-trodden Palestine was once more the political football in an international game, and the "troublesome times" were intensified. Even as we write, the fate of the Lovely Land trembles in the balance. For if the Axis powers win this war, Italy will take Palestine for her part of the share of the spoils. In that case the Jews will be driven forth from their own land, and once more the returned remnant of that persecuted people will be homeless. But if we are really in the "last days," this will not come to pass, for at the end of the Age of Grace, Israel must be in possession of Palestine, because that land is to be the cause and the scene of a great conflict. The armies of certain allied powers will invade the country, to be destroyed by supernatural power. Immediately thereafter the Lord will return to set up His Kingdom which shall endure for a thousand years.
This "battle" must not be confused with the "'Battle of Armageddon" which we believe will take place after the thousand year reign. The twentieth chapter of Revelation states that Satan is bound in the abyss for the thousand years of the kingdom, but is loosed for a short while after the thousand years are finished. He again deceives certain of the nations, and "Gog and Magog" again take the field against the people of God. Besieging the sacred city, they press their campaign until fire from heaven destroys their armies. Now, if "Armageddon" is to be the last battle, it is obvious that it cannot come at the end of the Tribulation, but comes at the end of the thousand year reign.
It is more accurate, perhaps, to call the coming battle "the battle of Hamon-Gog" (Ezekiel 39:11). Or, since the "valley of passengers may be identified as the Valley of Jehoshaphat, we might properly name this battle after that site, and call it "the Battle of the Valley of Jehoshaphat."
For full Scriptural understanding from this point on, it would be extremely wise for the reader to lay this book aside now, and read chapters 37, 38 and 39 of the prophecy of Ezekiel. Please do so, and then return to note these significant facts:
1. Chapter 3 7 states that the people of Israel will return to Palestine, and become a united nation. They will there reestablish the worship of God, and dwell in peace.
2. Chapter 38 prophesies that soon after this return, Palestine will be invaded by an allied army, headed by "Gog, the chief prince of the land of Magog." It is generally understood by scholars that the land of Magog is Russia, hence Gog will be the man who is ruler of Russia when this invasion begins.
The allies of Russia are named in verses 5 and 6, being Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer and his associates, and Togarmah and his allies as well. "Gomer" refers to the Balkan states, as we shall show in the second volume of this series, which deals with this war. "Togarmah" signifies Armenia. Verse 9 speaks of the actual invasion, while verse 11 tells of the defenseless condition of the invaded land. It looks as though the expedition will be as simple as taking candy from a baby and the 12th verse gives the motive of the invasion. In a word, the armies are there for loot. We shall return to that thought, but first let us press on to the conclusion of the outline.
3. Chapter 39 describes the defeat of the invaders and their complete rout. Of the invaders, five-sixths, will die a casualty list such as no previous war has ever known. For seven months the victors will be busy burying the bones of the dead, after vultures and beasts of prey have picked them clean. This will be the last war before the coming of Christ, and a graphic description of it is later given, we believe, in the 19th chapter of Revelation.
To return to a former thought, the campaign will be undertaken for the sake of spoils. The nations will have bankrupted themselves in bootless wars, famine will grip much of the earth, and the godless powers will be desperate for money, materials, and food. Their eyes turn to peaceful Palestine as the only available source of all three. If one should ask how so small a country could be worth robbing, we would not have to seek far for the answer. Remember that when Palestine is invaded, all the Jews in the world will be there. You can have three guesses as to where the wealth of the world will then be. The bankrupt nations will look upon the treasures possessed by Israel and reach out with rapacious hands to seize them.
Indeed, the "shadow" of that richness is to be seen even now, in "Potash, Ltd." The source of much of Palestine's future wealth is the Dead Sea. Out of it, industry is recovering the stimulants to agriculture which have made possible the transformation of bleak and barren hillsides into fruitful groves, and which has caused desolate deserts to spring into life and beauty.
It will not be amiss to remind the reader that the Dead Sea occupies a sink the altitude of which is 1292 feet below sea level. Into, it for countless centuries all the hills and upper plains have drained. Since the sea has no outlet, and since the rate of evaporation is very rapid, the mineral content of the water is astonishingly high. It is the heaviest concentration of certain soluble salts known to occur anywhere in the world. At the greatest length the sea is forty-seven miles long, and it reaches a width of nine and a half miles at its widest expanse. It covers an area of 340 square miles, and its depth varies from twelve feet at the south end to 1300 feet at the deepest part of the northern end.
The name "Dead Sea" was given to this large inland lake in the second century of our era. Before that it had many names. It was commonly called "The Salt Sea" in the days of our Lord, and was also known as "The Sea .of the Plains". Josephus calls it "The Asphalt Lake". The modem Arabs still refer to it as "Lot's Sea". They believe that at the time Lot's wife was turned into salt, her body melted in this lake, and made it what it has become! 'They also believe that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was partly due to a hail of chemicals which helped to impregnate this vast sink with its present bitter contents.
Many and weird are the tales which ancient travelers have told about this dismal place. They reported that nothing could live therein, that to swim in its waters would bring death, and that birds attempting to fly across its baleful surface dropped dead half way over. The lake was believed to be accursed, and useless for man.'
How different the truth of the matter is, every modem student knows. In 1930 a British corporation was formed, called "Potash, Ltd." to explore, develop and reap the rich harvest of chemicals that awaited men in the Dead Sea. Chemical engineers discovered that the waters of this strange lake contain vast quantities of many of the substances most valuable to industry, agriculture and warfare as these pursuits are conducted in our generation. They found that from the depth of 200 feet down, the waters were practically a saturated solution of various salts. Consequently a pipeline thirty inches in diameter and 2800 feet long was laid, terminating at a depth of 200 feet below the surface of the sea. By the use of enormous pumps this water is lifted for the harvest.
In recovering the valuable salts from the water, the cheapest technique known to man is used. Since the soil on one shore is heavy clay, which does not permit the water to escape by filtration, it was not necessary to build evaporating pans. Instead, a tractor and a scraper were employed to dig out a series of vast and shallow pans, located one above the other. Gravity and solar heat then do the rest, assisted by the incessant winds. The summer sends the temperature to more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The wind blows all day from the south, and from the north all night. Under these conditions the water in the shallow pans is quickly evaporated, leaving behind a residue of chemicals. At certain stages of evaporation the water is drained off into lower pans and the process continued. Thus the treasure is reaped with the minimum of labor.
If you will now look at the simple diagram which faces this page, you will note how this process progresses from stage to stage. The water in the top pan condenses to a certain state, and is then allowed to flow down into pan number two. This is possible because of the steep slope of the sides of the sea, which is deep in the hills. And when this water is drawn off in this fashion, it leaves behind the first form of salt, which is sodium chloride. This, as you know, is our common table salt.
When the water in the second pan has evaporated sufficiently, it is again drained off into pan number three, leaving behind the double salt known as carnallite. This is composed of magnesium and potassium, which are easily separated. Thus we have recovered three chemicals in two evaporations.
In the third pan the process continues. When the water is again drained down into an number four, it leaves behind magnesium bromide, from which pure bromine is obtained cheaply.
In the fourth and last pan the rest of the water is completely evaporated, and the process is finished. This final stage yields another salt, which if washed with pure water will yield potassium chloride which is 987o pure. But where are we to get fresh water, on the shores of the Dead Sea? Faced with this problem, the engineers experimented by sinking a test well, and right where they needed it, they brought in artesian wells whose flow and capacity seem unlimited.
What hath God wrought in this strange little land of Palestine! For centuries He has been storing up these priceless ingredients for the use of our day! To show something of the value of this deposit, we have printed the assay of the present content of the Dead Sea. Note that the figures are thousands of millions of tons in each case, so that the first item should be read, "magnesium chloride, twenty-two thousand million tons." And the rest likewise.
|Name of chemical||Amount present in million ton units|
This gives us a total of forty-one thousand million tons of chemicals in sight and immediately available. In addition to that, the streams of that region are pouring into the Dead Sea every year forty thousand additional tons of potassium chloride. So as fast as it is taken out, the content is replenished, and this will go on as long as the cycle of precipitation and evaporation continues. The value of this deposit cannot be expressed in dollars and cents--there just isn't that much money! All the money ever minted since the days of Julius Caesar would not equal the cost price of this chemical treasure, if it had to be purchased in the mass.
So God has provided wealth for Israel. To make it available, He established the mechanism of recovery. He arranged the slope and nature of the soil to save the engineers time and money, and put artesian water where they would need it to finish their task.
It is largely because of this vast wealth that Russia and her godless allies will invade that devoted land, just at the dawn of That Day when Jesus shall come again. This will be the reason for the storm of battle that shall yet break over Palestine, the last conflict before the setting up of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the restoration of Israel to her ancient place as the chosen of God.
It is wrong to speak of the Jews of the present age as the "Chosen People" for they have forfeited that title and distinction because of disobedience and unbelief. They were the Chosen People in the dispensation which preceded the age of Grace, and they will be again in the age of the Kingdom of Heaven, but the Chosen People of this interlude are those who compose the Church of Jesus Christ. The Scriptures are very clear upon this subject, and the Word of God cannot be set aside by the unbelief and ignorance of men. To get this idea firmly in our minds, and to correct a popular fallacy concerning Israel in this age of her disobedience, let us take a quick survey of the Bible on this subject.
The first covenant that God made concerning Israel is recorded in the 12th chapter of Genesis, and is known to students as "The Abrahamic Covenant." The first three verses of this chapter read:
"Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee:
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;
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee, and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."
This may be called the primary covenant, and for the sake of emphasis we have put certain salient sections of the covenant in italics. It will be noted that in the promise thus made, God guaranteed to Abram certain things, to wit:
1) A certain land, to be his and his seed's possession.
2) A great nation to come from him.
3) The blessing of God to rest upon him personally.
4) A great name to be conferred upon him.
5) He to become a blessing.
6) God's blessing was to rest upon those who blessed Abram, and God's curse to be upon those who cursed His friend Abram.
7) Through Abram all families in the earth are to be blessed.
This, then, is the primary, or basic covenant, and it was later modified and enlarged by certain other conditions and promises that were added from time to time. Will you please note, however, that in this first, or Abrahamic covenant, nothing is said about his progeny becoming the "Chosen People", or of being under a peculiar relationship to God?
We now turn to Genesis 15:18, and there we read of the secondary covenant, in these words:
"In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt, unto the great river, the river Euphrates;"
and verses 19, 20, and 21 name the peoples who are to be later dispossessed. But please note again that there is still no mention of the choosing of the progeny of Abram as a peculiar people, who shall be called the Chosen of God.
The next addition is in the 17th chapter of Genesis, where we find the tertiary covenant. This is the third time that God has spoken to Abram about his future, and the future of his descendants, although Sarai had as yet borne no child, and his only issue was Ishmael, who had been born thirteen years before the events in the seventh chapter which we now note. This new utterance of God contains certain promises, which are presented in this order:
1) Abram is to be multiplied exceedingly
2) His name was to be changed from Abram ("father") to Abraham, "Father of a Great Multitude.")
3) Nations and kings are to issue from him.
4) The covenant God made with him was to be extended to his children for an everlasting covenant
5) The Lord was to be a God to him, and his children.
6) The land of Canaan is to become their everlasting possession.
It is again to be noted that no statement or promise is here made that the seed of Abraham are to become the Chosen People, only that God is to be their God, and they shall worship Him. All of this was again confirmed, as in the 22nd chapter of Genesis, but nowhere in the covenants that God made with Abraham was a promise stated or implied that his progeny should become the Chosen People.
The first mention of such a special distinction for Israel is found in the covenant that God made with the people, on the eve of their flight from Egypt. This new chapter and the dawn of this new covenant are set forth in the 6th chapter of Exodus, in the promise that God made to Moses personally. This, also, we shall call the primary covenant with the People, which was modified later with additions and conditions. After revealing Himself to Moses by a Name Which Abraham had not known, JEHOVAH GOD promised to take Israel out of bondage, and fulfill part of the covenant made with Abraham by settling the delivered people in their own land. In the 7th verse He says:
"And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians."
Those words are clear and explicit, and admit of no misunderstanding. After the escape from Egypt, the children of Abraham are to be taken to God as His own people. To see the basis upon which the promise rests, we turn to Exodus 19:5, 6, where we read:
"Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation."
The covenant which God made with Abraham was eternal, and unconditional. But the covenant which He made with the people was conditional, and was to be limited by their obedience. Only if they would obey God's voice, and keep their part of the covenant did He promise to keep His part. It was a mutual contract, and violation by either party would release the other party from any further obligation under such contract. Keep this thought in mind when we get to the strange words of the prophet Zechariah.
Our present object is to see how this new covenant, made at the time of the exodus, was modified. The 19th chapter of Exodus which we have cited we shall call the secondary covenant, and we now turn to the 26th .chapter of Leviticus for the tertiary phase, which begins with verse three, in these words:
"IF ye walk in my statutes and keep my commandments, and do them:"
and then follows a list of twenty-six promises of what God will do. But all of them are predicated upon the important and indispensable "'if." The 12th verse contains one of these conditional promises, thus:
"And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people."
These mighty words of a great promise can be limited by only one condition, and that condition has been stated at the beginning of this series of promises, "If ... ye ... keep my commandments!" Which they certainly did not do! From this time on we read of the many backslidings of the people, for all of which God did not cut them off, but in mercy healed and forgave them time after time. Thus for more than eight hundred years God dealt with a backsliding people in mercy and love. He pleaded with them in famine and pestilence; He wrought for their redemption with sword and oppression; He scourged them for their sins with the lash of mighty enemies, but for all this they would not heed nor remain faithful to Him. Finally His mercy could no longer hold back the stroke of His justice, and the sinful and disobedient people were sent forth into captivity. And on the eve of their departure into slavery and bondage, Jeremiah still sang of His love and forgiving grace in these words from the 31st chapter of the prophecy which bears his name:
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt., which my covenant they brake; although I was an husband to them, sayeth the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After !hose days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE."
In the deep grief that God knew because of the willfulness and sin of Israel, He did not utterly forsake them. Although they cast Him off and broke His special covenant that had made them His Chosen People, He plans to restore them to this high honor at a later time, when they are back again in their own land for the millennial reign.
In the meantime, to see their position before God, we turn to the prophecy of Zechariah, and find this strange statement in the 11th chapter, verses 10 and 11:
"And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people. And it was broken in that day"
The phrase. "that day" is a familiar one to readers of the Bible. It is identified by Zechariah himself in the verses which immediately follow those cited. He calls it the day when for thirty pieces of silver the traitor should bargain to betray Beauty, the coming ""Shepherd" of Whom Zechariah sings. So then: in the day that He was betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, God broke a covenant which He had made with all the people, because they had first broken it with Him!
What was that covenant? Not the Abrahamic covenant; that was unconditional.
It was the "'special covenant" which God had made with all the people at the time of the exodus from Egypt. It was a conditional covenant, and if Israel did not keep her share of it, God was freed from His obligations under the same contract!
If we turn now to the New Testament, we see that this is all confirmed. In Luke 1:17 the angel announced that one of the purposes of the coming of John, the forerunner of Jesus, would be ' to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." Passing over in silence much that we king to dwell upon, we now come to Acts 15:14, where before the council of the apostles in Jerusalem James declared: "Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His Name."
From this it is a logical step to Romans 9:23, where it is written:
"And that He might make known the riches of His glory, on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom He hath called, not of the Jews only but also of the Gentiles. As He sayeth also in Hosea, I will call them MY PEOPLE which were not my people, and her beloved which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there shall they be called the children of the living God."
Gracious and mighty words are these, indeed. And we have lived to see the fulfillment of them in the erection of the Church of the New Testament. Out of Jew and Gentile alike hath He called all who will hear and answer, and of them He has made "'one body," a new creation, which we today call the Church. And it is this company who in the dispensation of grace are known as the Chosen People.
We read, for instance, in Titus 2:13: "Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to Himself a purchased people, zealous of good works. . ." And again we note the magnificent triumph of I Peter 29:
"But ye (the Church) are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him Who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; Which in times past were not a people, but are now the people of God."
So for the time being, the Church occupies the position that God offered to Israel, and which they cast away by sin, and by their rejection of the Messiah Jesus. But this displacement of Israel as the Chosen People is only temporary, for God assures them in Hebrews 8:10:
"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord, I will put their laws in their mind, and write them in their hearts, and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people."
In the light of this, what is the proper attitude toward Israel for the Church to adopt? The answer is simple: we are under the deepest obligation to evangelize them.
WE MUST CARRY TO THEM THE GOSPEL OF SALVATION BY FAITH IN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.
In the days when they were the Chosen People, God had provided a means for the forgiveness of their sins through the shedding of the blood of certain animals ordained to the sacrifice. But now the Hebrew Epistle warns us that "there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins" for those who reject the Son of God, but instead a fiery judgment that will destroy those who have trodden under foot the Son of God, and despised His shed blood. And this modem Israel has certainly done. Therefore it is the obligation and duty, and should be the pleasure as well, of every Christian to carry the message of regeneration to the Jew, as we do to all lost men everywhere. Those who die outside of the saving grace of Jesus Christ in this dispensation are undoubtedly lost; those who survive until His coming will be converted by the brightness of His appearing. Then they shall enter into that special relation to God that He has promised, and shall once more be "His People."
To do so, however, they must be back again in the land that He gave to them in the Abrahamic covenant, and which they lost because of disobedience. To see them returning in large numbers is the most delightful sight that the intelligent Christian can view, as it definitely indicates that the time of His Return draws nigh.
Men are slow to learn the lessons of history. Six great Powers have tried to exterminate Israel, and one more outstanding attempt will yet be made. The Pharaohs tried it in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries B.C. The Assyrians attempted it in 775 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar made a notable attempt in 588 B.C., and Haman followed with the plan of 5 10 B.C. The next hopeful persecutor was Antiochus, Epiphanes) who sought to blot out the Jews in 170 B.C . The last great attempt to accomplish this hateful plan of extermination of a great people was that of Titus the Great, who in 70 A.D. came closer to succeeding than any of his predecessors had! But the people of Israel are far more numerous today than they were when Titus began his efforts against them, and history should teach conquerors to keep their hands off the Jew. God has sworn that they shall never be blotted out as a people until His purposes have been accomplished through them, and this oath He will respect.
And now, in this 20th century, we see the conquering Hitler engaged in the same ancient folly, fondly dreaming that he can blot out this people. He has set himself to wipe them out, root and branch, and if he had his way not one human being of Jewish lineage would be left alive on the face of this earth. Certainly, he has been ardent and tireless in his merciless campaign. He has brought more misery and suffering on Israel than any man, since Titus, has been able to inflict. He has filled their days with terror and their nights with fear. By his vicious and inhuman conduct he has turned the decent elements of humanity against him, and has so far failed of his purpose.
All that Hitler has accomplished by his European-wide persecution may be summed up in a sentence: he has accelerated the return of Israel to Palestine, thus apparently hastening his own doom! By driving the "A preserved people" back into the preserved land, Hitler, who does not believe the Bible and who sneers at the Word of God, is helping to fulfill its most outstanding prophecy! Thus does the wrath of men sometimes serve the purposes of God.
In all of this strange sequence of mighty events, the student of prophecy may discern three remarkable things. First, we see prophecy in the process of fulfillment, as the return of Israel gathers momentum.
Secondly, we thus have an unanswerable proof of the inspiration of God's Word. Well did God say to Isaiah, "I am He that knoweth the end of a matter from the beginning thereof!" Only Deity could foresee the present world situation and describe it twenty-five hundred years in advance. Thus when we see the words of Jeremiah and his predecessors coming to pass, we know in truth that "Holy men of old spoke as they were moved by the Spirit of God."
The third and last fact that emerges from the crucible of these world events is that God moves in human history, as well as in human hearts.
All of this adds up to a brightening of the blessed hope, and we may indeed trust in the nearness of our Lord's return. The prophecies state that when Jesus comes to reign, Israel will be dwelling in her own land. The present status is clear. A Jewish state is in process of development in Palestine.
The prophecies state that at the time of His return, Israel will have reclaimed the land and turned it into a storehouse of all that is needful for the sustenance of life. Since 1935 the ships that sail from Haifa carry the surplus of Palestine to the world market, and we have often purchased the fruits of the Holy Land in London and Rome.
The prophets further inform us that the Jews who bring all this to pass will be possessed of a vast treasure, making the prospect of loot irresistible to godless and pragmatic nations. We have already pointed out the unlimited wealth made available by "Potash, Ltd." in the easy garnering of the Dead Sea.
Shedding more fight on the future, the ancient writings reveal the helpless condition of the Jewish state, describing it 'as a country of unfenced cities, and a people that are dwelling in confidence, having neither bars nor gates. Is not this an exact description of the condition of Palestine today?
Rich, and rapidly growing richer, possessed of plenty in a world of famine and want, Palestine even now is a plum that makes the eyes of international robbers such as Mussolini and Stalin gleam with avarice.
So the storm which Ezekiel foretold is even now gathering, and no man can say when it will break. The only certainty is that it will come, and it may be very soon. But this will be the last world attempt to blot out the Jew. For the invading armies shall be almost annihilated, and the attempt to conquer Palestine shall terminate in the return of Jesus Christ. He will lead the armies of Heaven to overthrow Russia and her allies, and will remain to establish His kingdom, and to reign for a thousand years. Then indeed will Israel dwell safely, and will become again the Chosen People. Then indeed will the earth be filled with the knowledge of the love of God as the waters cover the sea, and men will cease from war and conflict, dwelling together in amity and peace with each other, with nature, and with God!
As the dark clouds of the final storm gather before our very eyes, may God grant that we shall not be taken unaware by the swift flight of events. When the hearts of natural men are literally fainting with the fear of what the future may unfold, we can lift up our heads, knowing that Jesus is coming again, and our redemption is nearly complete.
"Even so, Lord. Jesus, come quickly!"
Books by Dr. Harry Rimmer
THE HARMONY OF SCIENCE AND SCRIPTURE
MODERN SCIENCE AND THE GENESIS RECORD
INTERNAL EVIDENCE OF INSPIRATION
DEAD MEN TELL TALES
VOICES FROM CALVARY
THE CRUCIBLE OF CALVARY
THE PURPOSES OF CALVARY
FROM CANA TO CALVARY
THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION AND THE FACTS OF SCIENCE
THE EVIDENCES FOR IMMORTALITY
VOICES FROM THE SILENT CENTURIES
THE NEW TESTAMENT AND THE LAWS OF EVIDENCE
PALESTINE, THE COMING STORM CENTER
THE COMING WAR AND THE RISE OF RUSSIA
THE COMING LEAGUE AND THE ROMAN DREAM
THE COMING KING
THAT LAWSUIT AGAINST THE BIBLE
THE PRAYER PERFECT