The Bible and the Balfour Declaration

A Consideration of Bible Prophecy - by Derek Hilsden | 17th October 2020

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This presentation was a redelivery of a Special Talk originally presented on 29th October 2017 to recognise the Centenary of the British Invasion of Palestine

103 years ago, the military forces of the British Empire were locked in combat, not only on the Western Front but also with the Turkish forces of the Ottoman Empire supported by Germany. The pivotal battle of Beersheba was fought on the 31st October 1917, opening the way for the advance of the British Egyptian Expeditionary Forces into Palestine. On the 9th December the city Jerusalem was surrendered to the British Forces, and on the 11th December General Edmond Allenby took official control of the city and proclaimed Martial Law. 

He was the first Christian since the Crusades that is for 683 years, to take control of Jerusalem,. The Prime Minister of Great Britain, David Lloyd George, described this victory as a “Christmas present for the British people.” It was welcome news after a year of bitter disappointment on the Western Front. The British Allied Forces under Allenby drove the Turkish army out of Palestine, launching the battle of Megiddo on September 19th 1918. 

It was in the middle of this conflict in Palestine that the Balfour Declaration came into existence. It was a public statement issued by the Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour, on behalf of the British Government. How was it that the Government came to issue such a declaration? 

  1. When it was wholly preoccupied in the greatest conflict ever known? 
  2. When victory was by no means certain? 
  3. When the Turks had forced the Allies to withdraw from Gallipoli? 
  4. When the Turks controlled Palestine? 
  5. Turkish forces, aided by Germany, were attacking the British controlled Suez Canal? And 
  6. When modern Zionism was in its infancy, the congress having only met 11 times, and primarily it was a European movement and besides, not all Jews supported it. It aspired to create a Jewish State but its location was not agreed. So why did the British Government commit its support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine? 
The answer to these questions, we believe, is to be found in the way people of the British Isles took hold of the ancient writings of the Jewish people -‘The Bible,’ even, coming to regard themselves as ‘the People of the Book’. The apostle Paul states plainly that it was to the Jewish people that the lively oracles of God were committed, these are the Old and New Testaments. From the time of the Reformation, the British people took the Bible to themselves as no other nation. 

Christianity is thought to have come to England by AD 43, but in 595 Pope Gregory the Great chose Augustine to lead a mission to England, where he became the first archbishop of Canterbury. After that time, the Bible became available only in Latin. As a result, the majority of men and women became ignorant of the Scriptures, relying on Priests, Monks and Friars for religious guidance. 

It was not until the 14th century that John Wycliffe translated the Latin Vulgate into Middle English, producing handwritten manuscripts which were distributed among his followers in order to teach ordinary men and women from the Word of God about Jesus Christ. Wycliffe held that the Scriptures alone were the authoritative voice of true Christianity. But it was to be nearly 140 years before English scholars were able to obtain and study Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. Thomas Linacre, physician to Henry viii concluded, “If these Greek writings were true, we are not Christians.” So great was the difference between the teaching of the Church and that of the New Testament. 

At that time, a brilliant scholar arose who was determined that people should be able to read the Bible in their own language. William Tyndale was fluent in 8 languages, including Greek and Hebrew, and produced translations of both the New and Old Testaments. He stated how he, “had perceived by experience, how that it was impossible to stablish the lay people in any truth, except the scripture were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue, that they might see the process, order, and meaning of the text.” Later he informed a catholic priest, “I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the scripture than thou doest.” The King James Version of the Bible is 83 per cent Tyndale’s work, though he has never received credit for it, instead he was executed near Brussels in 1536 as guilty of heresy. 

The Great Bible

The Great Bible - 1539

In 1536 Henry VIII established Regius Professorships of Hebrew at Oxford and Cambridge Universities. This encouraged English scholars to study Hebrew and gave rise to a Hebraist movement which helped produce the King James Version in 1611. The study of the Hebrew Old Testament became very popular among educated people before there were any Jews in England. By 1539 the Bible became available to the general public. Copies of Henry V111’s Great Bible were made available in every Parish Church for public reading, and read it they did!, resulting in a revolution! 

Sir Henry Finch, the greatest legal mind in England, a Hebrew and Greek scholar, published the result of his studies in a book of 234 pages, entitled “The World’s Great Restoration or Calling of the Jews.” He quoted many prophecies from the Bible to prove that the Jewish people had been scattered into all countries of the world; and that before Christ’s return they would be gathered to their ancient homeland becoming a kingdom at the Return of Christ who would be King over all the earth, and all nations would submit and all kings would bow down before him. King James was gravely offended, he considered the work libellous, and Finch and his publisher were imprisoned, and the books were destroyed. Today a copy is very rare, but a few have survived. Finch, now a broken man, died in 1625 as did King James. 

King James IJames I (1603-1625)
King of England, Scotland & Ireland
Commissioned a revised translation of the Bible in the English vernacular in 1604; now known as the 1611 version

However, as time passed, more and more people were reading the Scriptures as a result of the publication of the 1611 Authorised Version. People in the United Kingdom were becoming dissatisfied with the authoritarian rule of Charles 1st, as well as with the established Church. Parliament was full of Dissenters, Presbyterians and Puritans. Of the 150 sermons delivered in the Long Parliament between 1640 and 1645, 125 were from the Old Testament and 25 from the New. The study of Hebrew and Greek was encouraged in the Universities. Increasing discord between the Crown and Parliament led to Civil War, resulting in ¾ of a million dead in the United Kingdom and Ireland. James I 1603 – 1625 King of England Scotland and Ireland Commissioned a revised translation of the Bible in the English vernacular in 1604 Now known as the 1611 version Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army was formed in 1645. Its soldiers were full-time professionals. Each man was issued with Cromwell's Soldiers' Pocket Bible, a pamphlet version of the Protestant Bible. Before Cromwell's soldiers went into battle, they would pray and sing from the Book of Psalms. According to Cromwell, his soldiers never lost a battle after The Soldiers Pocket Bible was issued to them in 1643. 

Oliver CromwellOliver Cromwell (1599-1658)
The Lord Protector 

King Charles 1st was executed and Oliver Cromwell became the Lord Protector. Cromwell believing the Bible to be the Word of God, found inspiration in it for governing the New Republic. Millennialism, the belief that Christ would return to reign 1000 years, flourished in these turbulent times, and with it concern for the Jewish people. Various petitions were made to Parliament favouring the Jews, but the most significant came from a Dutch Rabbi, Manasseh Ben Israel in November 1655; requesting that the Protector permit the Jews to re-enter England after an enforced absence of 365 years. 

Manasseh Ben IsraelManasseh Ben Israel (1604-1657) 

Manasseh had discussed Bible prophecies with English Anabaptists living in Amsterdam, and subsequently wrote a book entitled ‘The Hope of Israel’; in which he identified the English as the Merchants of Tarshish of Ezekiel’s prophecies. He urged Cromwell that re-admitting Jews to England would hasten the Coming of the Messiah. Getting a bill through Parliament was difficult for religious and commercial reasons. So Cromwell allowed the Jews to return anyway, without an official act. During the 17th and 18th century, the study of Bible prophecy was taken seriously, and many exponents issued numerous books and pamphlets on the subject. Though many made wild and speculative claims, the theme of the restoration of the Jews to their ancient homeland continually came to the fore. 

The Restoration of the Jews

The Restoration of the Jews the Crisis of All Nations; to Which is Now Prefixed, a Brief History of the Jews from their First Dispersion to the Calling of Their Grand Sanhedrim at Paris, October 6th, 1806. and an Address on the Present State of Affairs, in Europe in General, and in This Country in Particular
J. Bicheno, M.A. (1807)

In 1807 James Bicheno published ‘the Restoration of the Jews and the Crisis of all Nations’. Bicheno believed that the Jews would be restored to Palestine before the return of Christ; and indeed, there are many passages in the Bible foretelling the world-wide dispersion of the Jews, and equally as many predicting their restoration to their ancient homeland. 

Jeremiah states that God will bring the Israelites from the North Country and gather them from the coasts of the earth. “He that scattered Israel will gather him and keep him as a shepherd does his flock.” John Thomas in 1848 showed from Bible prophecies that the Jews would colonize Palestine on purely political principles and return in unbelief of the Messiahship of Jesus, under the efficient protection of the British power. 

Thomas wrote, 70 years before the Balfour Declaration “I know not whether the men who at present contrive the foreign policy of Britain entertain assuming sovereignty of the Holy Land and promoting its colonization by the Jews. Their present endeavours are of no importance because the finger of God has indicated a course to be pursued by Britain which cannot be evaded and which her counsellors will not only be willing but eager to adopt when the crisis comes upon them.” 

Again, “The possession or ascendancy of Britain in Egypt, Ethiopia and Seba, will naturally lead to the colonization of Palestine by the Jews.” These predictions were made at least 35 years before Britain involved itself in Egypt’s affairs in 1883. 

Abdulmajid IAbdulmejid I (1823-1861)
[Abdülmecid Han bin Mahmud]

The Ottoman or Turkish Empire ruled throughout the Middle East, and the Muslim authorities imposed strict exclusion on Jews from owning land. In 1844, after pressure from the British Government to stop persecuting Christians and Jews, Sultan Abdulmecid issued an Edict of Toleration. This Edict, dated in the year 1260 of the Muslim calendar, not only curtailed persecution, but also allowed the purchase of land in Palestine.1260 years is a prophetic time period in the book of Daniel. 

However, the first colonists to arrive in Palestine were not Jews, but German Christians, known as the Templars, who set up an agricultural settlement in 1868, at the foot of Mount Carmel, more than a decade before the first Jewish settlement of Petach Tikvah was established in 1878. Their experience was helpful to the first Jewish colonists in creating the first modern Jewish agricultural settlement. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 meant that Britain now had a shorter and more direct route to India. 

Meanwhile, Benjamin D’Israeli, a Christian of Jewish descent, became Prime minister. In 1875 he arranged for Britain to purchase the controlling number of shares in the Suez Canal for about £4 million, afterwards requesting Parliament’s approval. In 1878 at the Congress of Berlin, Cyprus was brought under the British flag. 

In 1878 Robert Roberts issued a pamphlet, ‘Prophecy and the Eastern Question’, predicting the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the settlement of Jews in Syria under a British Protectorate. He sent a copy to all members of the House of Lords and House of Commons, and received an acknowledgment from W. E. Gladstone, the Leader of the Opposition, expressing his coincidental interest in Biblical prophecy. 

 In 1882, true to prophetic expectations, 40,000 British troops seized possession of the Suez Canal and established a de facto Protectorate over Egypt, which lasted until 1956. At the same time, the Ottoman Empire was slowly disintegrating, as many Bible students had been predicting from Revelation 16:12 for more than 250 years. 

God has promised to restore Israel to her own land:
  • Isaiah 43:5-6 "Fear not: for I am with thee:  I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth;..."
  • Ezekiel 37:21-22 "And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, where they have gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all."

Up until this time, no great movement of Jews towards Palestine had begun. Jews were still persecuted in many countries, particularly in Germany and Russia, leading to large numbers of immigrants to the United Kingdom and the United States. But few Jews then sought to settle in Palestine. Yet the remarkable thing is that in the U.K. the Restoration movement gained new momentum. The prophet Jeremiah 16:14-17 describes a future return of people from all lands where they had been driven, to the land of their fathers, and this would be achieved through two different agents:

  1. “Behold, I will send for many fishers, says the Lord, and they shall fish them, and
  2. I will send many hunters and they shall hunt them and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.” 
In the Scriptures, to whom does the term ‘fishers’ pre-eminently apply? There can only be one answer: the followers of Jesus are Fishers of Men. 

Matthew 2:23 refers to ‘that spoken by the prophets’ concerning the Messiah, “He shall be called a Nazarene.” In Acts 24:5 the Jews refer to the followers of Jesus as the sect of the Nazarenes. Today "yeshua ha notzri" is the modern Hebrew equivalent of ‘Jesus the Nazarene’. The actual prophecy is found in Isaiah 11:1, where the rod out of the stem of Jesse is called ‘the Branch’ in Hebrew "natzer" (נֵצֶר), from which is derived "natzerot". 

Jeremiah 4:16 speaks of ‘watchers’ coming from a far country. The Hebrew word used is "notsreym" (נֹצְרִים), also occurring in Jeremiah 31:6. If this word occurred in a modern Hebrew newspaper today, its meaning would be ‘Christians’; Christians will cry, ‘Arise, let us go up to Zion the city of the Lord our God.’ And so they have. For the 35 years, Christians from all over the world arrive in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, for the past few years being welcomed by the Prime Minister. 

Dr John Thomas

Dr. John Thomas (1805-1871)

"There is, then, a partial and primary restoration of Jews before the manifestation, which is to serve as the nucleus, or basis, of future operations in the restoration of the rest of the tribes after he has appeared in the kingdom. The pre-adventual colonization of Palestine will be on purely political principles; and the Jewish colonists will return in unbelief of the Messiahship of Jesus, and of the truth as it is in him. They will emigrate thither as agriculturists and traders, in the hope of ultimately establishing their commonwealth, but more immediately of getting rich in silver and gold by commerce with India, and in cattle and goods by their industry at home under the efficient protection of the British power."

-excerpt from Elpis Israel, 1849

The Scriptures indicate that we should in no wise diminish the Christian dimension that lies behind the Restoration of the Nation of Israel. John Wilkinson, founder of the ‘Mildmay Mission to the Jews’, wrote the book ‘Israel My Glory’, and he discussed with many Jews about the coming of their Messiah and their return to the homeland. David Baron, a Polish Jew who accepted Christianity, formed the ‘Hebrew Testimony to Israel’ organisation. As early as 1809 the Christian Mission to the Jews was founded with many supporters from among Anglicans and other denominations. Other committed Christians of public standing were: J. C. Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool, he preached the restoration of the Jews, publishing a book ‘Are You Ready for the End Time?’ The 7th Earl of Shaftsbury was a prominent advocate of Christian Zionism and an early proponent of the restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land, and a first major politician to propose the resettlement of the Jews to Palestine. 

Charles Spurgeon, known as ‘the Prince of Preachers’, regularly addressed congregations of 7,000. He believed that the Bible prophesied the restoration of the Jews to their ancient homeland, maintaining that this would occur before Christ’s return. There were many other preachers from various denominations who supported the Jewish Restoration. Their views influenced a considerable number in both Parliament and the Government. Little by little Britain’s foreign policies were directed to the Middle East, towards Egypt and Palestine, and developments among the Jews were taking place elsewhere. 

Alfred DreyfusAlfred Dreyfus (1859-1935) 

In 1894 a French Jewish Officer was falsely accused of passing French Military secrets to the German Embassy in Paris. Found guilty by a military tribunal, Dreyfus was sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island where he spent 5 years. At the trial, a young Jewish reporter, Theodore Herzl, was shocked by the prejudice against Jews. If they kept separate from Gentiles they were hated, and if they tried to assimilate they were hated. Herzl concluded that the only solution was for the Jews to have a state of their own. Writing a treatise on the subject entitled ‘Der Judenstaat’, the Jewish State, becoming the founder of modern Zionism. Providentially political Zionism and Christian Zionism were to meet. 

Der JudenstaatDer Judenstaat
Theodor Herzl (1896) 

William Hechler was appointed the Anglican Chaplin to the British Embassy in Vienna in 1885. His father belonged to the London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews. In March 1896, by chance he discovered the book ‘Der Judenstaat’ by Theodore Herzl. on street vendor’s stall. Having read the book Hechler sought out Herzl and discussed with him Bible prophecies of Jewish restoration, of which Herzl. knew nothing. They became lifelong friends. Hechler had connections with German aristocracy and introduced him to the Grand Duke of Baden, who conveyed Herzl’s scheme for a Jewish State to the Kaiser. The Kaiser agreed to meet Herzl and they met in Jerusalem on November 1898. This brought political legitimacy to Herzl and to Zionism. 

In August 1914 the First World War began. Armies all over Europe were mobilised and in Britain a nationwide appeal for volunteers was made, not only to the citizens of the United Kingdom, but to all the colonies of the Empire. Posters and postcards, portraying the British Lion summoning the young lions, her Colonies, to assist in the conflict were popular at the time. It was felt significant by Bible believers, who saw the connection between the restoration of Israel in the latter days and the young lions: both of which are referred to in Ezekiel 38. 

War Propaganda

At that time Britannia really did rule the waves, as we can see from the Spithead Review in 1914. Churchill changed the fleet from coal, of which Britain had plenty, to oil, of which Britain had none. But oil was discovered in 1908 in Iran and afterwards in Iraq. A pipeline was constructed from Kirkuk to Haifa on the Mediterranean and it had to be protected. 

Chaim WeizmannChaim Weizmann (1874-1952)

On the Western Front the war was not going well for the British. The Germans had modernised their equipment but the British relied on old stock. Not only so, but a crisis occurred through a shortage of artillery shells and the guns were rationed to 12 per day! David Lloyd George the Welsh Wizard became Minister of Munitions, and with Winston Churchill, he immediately sought for a solution. He found it in a brilliant Jewish chemist, Chaim Weizmann of Manchester University, who discovered a method of producing acetone on an industrial scale. It was used in the manufacture of cordite. Consequently, Britain had a continuous supply of shells till the end of the war. Weisman’s work gave him access to British Cabinet Ministers, such as Balfour and when asked what he would like as a reward for his work, he replied, “A country for my people.” 

Jews were also recruited for the war effort. Some 60,000 served in the British armed forces in the First World War. A campaign however was launched by the Jewish Chronicle and the request was made to the Government to form a Jewish Battalion, which was granted. Initially in 1915, the Jews were formed into the Zion Mule Corps that served with distinction in Gallipoli, showing themselves fearless under heavy fire. 

In 1917 the Jewish soldiers were formed into the 38th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, with their own cap badge and flag, under the command of John Henry Patterson. It was the first Jewish fighting force in 2,000 years. Patterson has been described as the Godfather of Modern Israel’s Defence Force. He was the Godfather of Jonathan Netanyahu, the Prime Minister’s brother, who died in the Entebbe rescue in 1976. 1916 was a miserable year for Britain; food shortages and the numbers of allied casualties on the Western Front in the Battle of the Somme amounted to 624,000 with still no breakthrough. David Lloyd George, now the British Prime Minister decided to open a new Eastern front in Palestine. 

WW2 propaganda 

The British Egyptian army secured Rafah on January 9th and pushed on to Gaza; but after two attempts, failed to take the city. Lloyd George replaced the commander with Edmund Allenby, instructing him to take Jerusalem by Christmas. However, the Turkish forces blocked the British advance at Beersheba a place well known to Bible students. Abraham constructed a well here some 3,800 year ago. The Turks had control of that water supply, without which the British could advance no further. The Anzac’s were given the task of taking Beersheba on 31st October. In the face of heavy fire, the 4th Light Horse Regiment jumped the trenches and then attacked and defeated the Turkish infantry on foot! 

Battle of BeershebaThe Charge of the Australian Light Horsemen at the Battle of Beersheba (31/10/1917) 

On November 2nd 1917, the Balfour Declaration was issued. It was the Islamic year 1335 and students of Bible prophecy remembered the last chapter of the book of Daniel. For there it is written, “Blessed is he that cometh to the thousand three hundred and thirty five days.” In this year 1917 (or 1335) Jewish soldiers entered Jerusalem and prayed at the Wailing Wall for the very first time since AD70. How was it that the Balfour Declaration came to be issued by the British Government? Well, remember Weizmann’s request – and then consider that of the ten members of Lloyd George’s war cabinet: seven had been raised in non-conformist families. Three were sons or grandsons of Church members. Jan Smuts belonged to the Dutch reform church and Arthur Henderson of the Labour Party was a Methodist Lay Preacher. All came from Bible reading families and knew of God’s promises to the Jewish people. Lloyd George confessed that as a boy he was taught more history of the Jews than about his own land, “I could tell you all the kings of Israel but could not name half a dozen kings of England.” It is interesting to note that 9 members of the Cabinet voted in favour of the ‘Declaration’, and the only dissenter, Edwin Montague, was a Jew! 

The Balfour DeclarationThe Balfour Declaration (1917) 

General Allenby was dismayed to have been transferred to Palestine, but General Beauvoir de Lisle told him to cheer up because it was not possible that he should fail to be in Jerusalem by the 31st December. Then De Lisle explained that Bible prophecies indicated that ‘1917’ would be the end of the times of the Gentiles, spoken of by Jesus Christ. He also advised Allenby not to ride in state into Jerusalem, for, he said, “That is reserved for One higher than you!” By the 7th December, Allenby’s army was in the vicinity of Jerusalem and by the evening the Ottoman defenders had retreated.

The next day the British troops were led in prayer by their chaplains. The Bible reading for that day was Isaiah 31 which has the words, “As birds flying the Lord of Hosts will defend Jerusalem; defending it He will deliverer it and passing over He will preserve it.” Allenby ordered the Royal Flying Corps to fly over Jerusalem dropping leaflets, calling on the city to surrender. 

The Mayor of JerusalemThe Mayor of Jerusalem, Hussein Effendi el Husseini, meeting with Sergts. Sedwick and Hurcomb of the 2/19th Battalion, London Regiment, under the white flag of surrender, 09/12/1917

A British patrol was met by the Mayor of Jerusalem with the Ottoman’ Governor’s letter surrendering the city. Jerusalem was taken without a shot being fired! In the event on December 11th, Field Marshal Allenby did walk into Jerusalem through the Jaffa Gate, met the leaders of various communities and declared Martial Law in Jerusalem. The British Advance continued, fighting the battles of Megiddo, the capture of Damascus and Aleppo. The Ottoman Government signed an armistice the 30th October 1918 and World War 1 came to an end. 

The League of Nations convened a meeting of the Allied Supreme Council to allocate the mandates for the Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire in April 1920, confirming the Balfour Declaration into International Law, granting Great Britain the mandate over Palestine. Between 1920 and 1948, Britain appointed 7 High Commissioners over Palestine. 

Their task was never easy, mainly due to Arab discontent over the Mandate, which was encouraged by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al Husseini, who was appointed by Herbert Samuel the British High Commissioner as Grand Mufti over Palestine! Husseini was actually co-operating with Adolf Hitler by making propaganda radio broadcasts and helping the Nazis recruit Bosnian Muslims for the Waffen-SS. Moreover he agreed with Hitler’s intentions: the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe. 

Husseini urged his own followers, “Kill the Jews wherever you find them! This pleases God, history and religion. This saves your honour. God is with you” Husseini instilled his anti-Jewish venom into his nephew all too well, he is better known as Yassir Arafat. 

In 1929 riots broke out and the Jews of Hebron were massacred. Similarly Jews were forced to flee for their lives from Jerusalem. Remaining Jews were evacuated by the British authorities, and the centuries old Jewish presence in Hebron was brought to an end. Jews had lived in Jerusalem for centuries, in fact none other than Karl Marx in a report posted to the New York Herald Tribune in 1854 stated that there were 8,000 Jews in Jerusalem compared with 4000 Muslims. While a pamphlet issued by the Supreme Muslim Council acknowledged that it was beyond dispute that the AL-HARAM AL-SHARIF was built on the site of Solomon’s Temple. 

Disruptions continued throughout 1928-9. In Europe, the Great Depression paved the way for Hitler’s rise to power and the outbreak of World War 2. In Germany the Jews were now regarded as the enemy of the German people. 

 Husseini was appointed Grand Mufti of all Palestine by Lord Samuel

Now the second phase of God’s plan prophesied in Jeremiah 16 had begun: “I will send for many hunters and they shall hunt them from every mountain and from every hill and out of the holes of the rocks.” And what deadly hunters they proved to be, pursuing their prey through forests and mountains and even through the sewers of Warsaw! 

Voyage of SS St Louis

On 13th , May 1939, the German transatlantic liner St. Louis sailed from Hamburg, Germany, bound for Havana, Cuba. On board were 937 passengers. Almost all were Jews fleeing from the Third Reich. Most were German citizens, some were from Eastern Europe, and a few were officially "stateless." On arrival the Cuban Government refused them entry, and the St. Louis returned to Europe on 16th June. At first no country was prepared to have them. Reluctantly Britain, Belgium and France accepted the Jews between them. All 254 who went to France and Belgium perished in the Holocaust. 

Meanwhile in Britain the Government, alarmed by increasing Jewish immigration from Europe, issued the ‘MacDonald White Paper’ in 1939, limiting Jewish immigration to Palestine to 75,000 over the next 5 years. It ended Jewish land purchases, in Palestine and promised Palestine independence within 10 years and announced, “It is not British policy that Palestine should become a Jewish State!” 

The British White Paper of 1939:

  • Limited Jewish Immigration to Palestine to 75,000 over the next 5 years
  • Ended Jewish land purchases
  • Independence for Palestine within 10 years
  • It is NOT British policy that Palestine became a Jewish state 

British White Paper of 1939

The League of Nations Commission held that the White Paper conflicted with the Balfour Declaration. Lloyd George described it as “an act of perfidy.” Churchill voted against his own party, the Commons voted in favour by a 60 per cent majority. The Jewish Agency in Palestine declared, “The historic bond between the people and the land of Israel will not be broken.” David Ben Gurion stated “It was the greatest betrayal perpetrated by the government of a civilised people in our generation.” Chaim Weisman called it “a death sentence for the Jewish people.” And he was absolutely right, a death sentence for 6 million Jewish victims.

In a speech to the House of Commons, Conservative Sir John Haslam reminded the Government and all members of the House of their Christian heritage: the Bible. In his speech, he referred to those prophecies which covenanted the land to the Patriarchs and the people of Israel, and those in which God promised to restore them to their land, to rebuild their cities, to restore its agricultural capacity, and to move no more from that land. He concluded with reading Psalm 15, and said, “This Psalm has come to be known as the Gentleman’s Psalm. We claim to be a Christian nation; at least, we claim to be gentlemen. I would repeat, whoso doeth these things shall never fall.” The House received his words in absolute silence, with no intervention. The old Lancastrian had shown the Commons their true selves. Gentlemen do not break promises! 

 The Greatest Betrayal

Winston Churchill rebuked the Government saying, “Now there is the breach; there is the violation of the pledge; there is the abandonment of the Balfour Declaration; there is the end of the vision, thee hope, the dream; this is another Munich.” In the Jewish cities of Palestine, in Jerusalem, massive protests took place at the betrayal of the promise. The Balfour Declaration had been torn asunder. 

Jewish Protest Against White PaperOne of the many Jewish protests in response to the British White Paper of 1939

The Old Testament relates how the kingdom of the Phoenicians, the greatest seafaring nation in antiquity, once entered into a covenant with Israel, assisting greatly in the construction of Solomon’s Temple. For which they were greatly blessed and became extremely wealthy as you can read in Ezekiel chapters 26 to 28. Their capital, Tyre became the greatest trading city in the ancient world, the mart of nations, such as Brexiteers wish Britain to become at the present time. However, when Israel suffered assault, they changed their allegiance, and were themselves brought to ruin when Tyre also was destroyed. Britain reneged on its promise to the Jewish people, notwithstanding the loyalty they had given in both World Wars, with 30,000 serving in WW2; Britain lost its Empire and became bankrupt. Not only did Britain break faith with the Jews, it became their enemy, refusing refugees fleeing the Nazis, entry into Palestine. 

The small steamship ‘Struma’ in 1942, carrying 800 Jews, being refused entry to Palestine was moored at Istanbul waiting for clearance by the British Embassy. Its diesel engine had broken down. It had run out of food, fuel and water. The Turks towed it out into the Black Sea and abandoned it with its passengers, where it was sunk by a Russian submarine. Only one person survived. 

The British Detention Centre at Atlit near Haifa

Meanwhile, as Parliament debated about the Jews, war had already begun. From 1945 to 1948 Jewish refugees headed for Palestine in any way possible, crowded aboard unseaworthy vessels; some sinking, some making it to Palestine; others intercepted by the Royal Navy. Later the Jews, many of them survivors of the concentration camps, were intercepted, transported to internment camps in Cyprus and Mauritius, or to a British Detention Camp at Atlit near Haifa, complete with barbed wire and watchtowers it is still there today. Between 1939-1948 more than 80 ships crowded with refugees from the Holocaust, sailed to the Promised Land; only to discover British intransigence, even though the mass murder of European Jewry was known to the Allies in 1942. In that year Britain had 34,000 Jewish immigration certificates available for Palestine. At the end of the war, they still retained 3,000 undistributed certificates. These were some of the British ships that intercepted Jewish refugee vessels. these are the names of all 28 ships so employed.

The 28 Royal Navy warships that hunted down the refugees:

HMS Peacock | HMS Talybont | HMS Chevron HMS Chequers | HMS Jervis | HMS Saumarez  HMS Venus | HMS Virago | HMS Brissenden   HMS Childers | HMS Chivalrous | HMS Octavia HMS Haydon | HMS Espiegle | HMS Chieftain  HMS Welfare | HMS Charity | HMS Providence  HMS St Brides Bay | HMS Cheviot | HMS Ajax  HMS Chaplet | HMS Verulam | HMS Mermaid  HMS Mauritius | HMS Phoebe | HMS Pelican  HMS Runnymede Park

Arab immigration into Palestine went on unchecked. President Truman sent his personal representative to Palestine to investigate what was going on. In Haifa he was appalled at the desperation of the Jewish refugees and the brutal conduct of the British soldiers in dealing with them. The British policy gave rise to the emergence of Jewish terrorism: the Irgun, led by Menachem Begin and Lehi, otherwise known as the Stern Gang. These turned against the British, with a bombing campaign against the British intelligence, immigration, tax collection offices and police stations. 

In October 1945 the Haganah, the Jewish Defence Force, originally trained by Orde Wingate, a British Officer known to the Jews of Palestine as Ha’Yedid (the Friend) joined the Irgun, and now refused to cooperate with the British authorities any more, and Palestine became ungovernable. The British developed fortified areas in Jerusalem: whole streets being turned into barbed wire entanglements that became known as Bevingrad. The Irgun blew up the British Headquarters in the King David Hotel. 

On August the 6th 1945 the United Stated dropped the first Atomic Bomb on Japan. That Bomb was designed by Jewish Scientists and it not only brought an end to the war it also changed the world. 

List of Jews associated with development of the Atom Bomb

Meanwhile British Secret Intelligence launched Operation Embarrass, blowing up ships in Italian ports due to carry Jewish refugees to Palestine. By 1947 100,000 British soldiers were in Palestine and still the struggle continued. Civil war broke out in late 1947 and British authority broke down. The government of the United Kingdom notified the United Nations of its firm intention to end its mandate in Palestine on 14th May 1948. That day arrived and the High Commissioner, Alan Cunningham, departed from Haifa by sea; while in Tel Aviv David Ben Gurion declared the establishment of the Jewish State in Eretz Yisrael, to be known as the State of Israel, to come into force at midnight. As the prophet Isaiah indicates in 66:8, “Can a land bring forth in a day? Can a nation be born at once?” It was in Israel’s case. And as soon as it was born, a coalition of Arab armies from seven states invaded the territory seeking to terminate its existence. Reminiscent of Herod’s slaughter of the innocents.

The Palestine PostFront Page of the Palestine Post (16/05/1948) 

As already mentioned Britain broke its promise to the people of God and lost its Empire. The greatest power in the world faded into mediocrity, sold out by its politicians and no longer a Christian country. Israel fought for its independence and applied to join the United Nations, which was opposed by the U.K. In 1949 Israel’s membership was accepted on a vote of 9 to 1 of the Security Council. The U.K. abstained. The General Assembly approved the application on 11th May by the required 2/3rd majority for Resolution 273. Since its establishment, Israel has fought 3 major conflicts against Arab coalitions seeking its destruction, with missile attacks in Desert Storm, 2 operations in Lebanon, 2 Intifadas, 3 operations in Gaza and 13,000 missile attacks. 

As a result of the 6 day war, Israel acquired the Old City and declared united Jerusalem the eternal capital of Israel. Two Arab nations, Egypt and Jordan, made peace with Israel. Since 1948 one million Jews have fled Arab lands and having their property and wealth confiscated, and have immigrated to Israel. 

Today, notwithstanding the censure of 225 U.N. Security Council Resolutions, and more U.N. Human Rights Council Resolutions than the rest of the world together – Israel is a prosperous nation. According to the respected Political Magazine, ‘American Interest’, in 2017, Israel is reckoned as the 8th Most Powerful Country in the World! 

What is the significance of all this? Well, in the first place the Balfour Declaration “viewed with favour the establishment of a Jewish Home in Palestine”. It is just as well because, notwithstanding all subsequent efforts by the British, the Arabs and the United Nations to prevent it happening, a national home for the Jewish people has come into existence, NOT because politicians in the middle of a world crisis threw in a sop to the Jews, but because long ago God had promised that He would make it happen no matter what. That promise was made known through Moses and the Prophets and recorded it in his Holy Word, the book that still has the greatest circulation in the history of mankind. The Holy Bible. If you haven’t read it you had better start doing so because God has not finished his intervention in world affairs. 

The prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 37) relates a valley of dry bones which came together into skeletons, and are then covered in flesh and sinews, becoming an exceeding great nation. The prophet is told, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. I will bring you into the land of Israel.” Israel has been scattered without a country, without a king and without a sacrifice, but afterwards they shall return. Why should we think it incredible that God should raise the dead? 

But it does not finish here. For Israel’s very existence is to be challenged once more. More of God’s purpose is yet to unfold, for Ezekiel’s prophecy in chapters 38&39 also relates how, in the time of Israel’s restoration, when the land of Israel has been recovered from desolation, and the people of Israel gathered out of the nations; dwelling safely and having obtained cattle and goods, they are confident in their ability to live securely. At that time, the prophet warns of a massive coalition of nations is to be formed that will invade the land of Israel. 

The Great Invasion by the Russian Led Coalition

The coalition is described in ancient Hebrew terms, but has long been understood to refer to Russia, Iran, and Ethiopia, including Sudan, Turkey and other European nations including Germany. It is described as a great company descending on the land of Israel like a storm. This coalition is challenged by another alliance described as the “merchants of Tarshish and all the young lions thereof.” In 1914, the power of Britain and her former colonies were described as such; of which the United States has become the most powerful. Also Sheba and Dedan, names referring to the tribes who settled in the Saudi Arabian peninsular, including the United Arab Emirates and Oman. 

Today we find Russian forces in Syria, Iranian forces in Iraq and Syria on the northern border with Israel. Russia is also building relations with Libya and Sudan. Most interesting of all is the co-operation of Israel with Jordan and Egypt against terrorism; and secretly with Saudi Arabia, which has granted Israel permission to overfly its airspace if it comes to war with Iran. The recent Abraham Accords took many by surprise as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have normalized relations with Israel.

Observers are increasingly aware that war is looming, and it is inevitable. A war in which, as the Revelation indicates, “the cities of the nations fall.” We now live in an age when cities can be vaporised in a matter of seconds. But when the Russian confederation invades, God’s anger will be unleashed and the Lord Jesus Christ will return, as he promised, with glory and great power. The invaders will be totally destroyed for, as the prophet Daniel records, “In those days shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” 

Science says there is no God and the majority of people believe it, but they look for evidence in the wrong place. The evidence is in the Bible, in the history of the Jewish people, in their return to their ancient homeland and in their activities in our own day and generation. Of Israel God says in Isaiah 43:12, “You are my witnesses that I am God.” The prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, puts it succinctly, “The Bible is the basis for why we are here, why we returned here, why we stay here.” The Bible is also the basis for believing that “that the long expected but stealthy advent of the King of Israel is on the verge of becoming a fact, and salvation will be to those who have not only looked for it, but believed the gospel of the Kingdom and the things concerning Jesus Christ, and are obedient to the faith with fruits proving true repentance.”

Derek Hilsden | 17th October 2020