About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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They Fall From Greatness


It was December, 1917, when he led his troops into Jerusalem.  Victory was in sight.  The Ottoman Empire 's rule was collapsing before his eyes and he couldn't have been happier.  British Field Marshall Edmund Allenby (1861-1936) dismounted from his horse, and as a gesture of respect, he walked into the HolyCity.  As a child, he and his mother would routinely kneel by his bed to pray for Jerusalem as Psalm 122:6 instructs.  


Edmund Allenby's mother was raised in an environment influenced by what history calls the Great Awakening that swept across England during the 1700's.  This movement was in stark contrast to the stale, lifeless, tradition laced, remnant of Reformation theology.  One of the movement's leading Bible teachers was John Wesley (1703 - 1791).  Like Allenby's mother, I was raised in an Evangelical setting that esteemed Wesley as its hero, and I suggest, for good reason.  


Wesley, and others like him, influenced English society on several fronts, not the least of which was the issue of slavery.  In 1772, Lord Mansfield, in the Somersett Case judged slavery to be unsupported by English law.  In 1808 parliament banned the trading of slaves.  In 1833 it abolished slavery altogether.  Of course, abolition doesn't necessarily equate to freedom. 


The Great Awakening produced an enthusiasm, dedication, and conviction, in its adherents that had long since departed from Reformed and Lutheran denominations.  The movement also brought other Biblical issues to the cultural table, such as Israel's place in prophetic history.   


Some suggest that Irish theologian John Darby (1800 - 1881) founded the dispensational approach to Biblical interpretation that included the Futurist view of prophecy.  That's not true.  A hundred years before Darby, John Wesley interpreted the Bible in terms of  dispensations, taught the Futurist view of prophecy, along with Israel's place in prophetic history.


By 1700 much of Christendom rejected the idea that Israel had any significance in the eyes of God.  Men like Wesley helped change that. Their influence was seen in the government's support of Jewish migration from England to Palestine by the mid 1800's.  By the time Edmund Allenby captured Jerusalem in 1917, the pro Israel movement known as Zionism was well established. 


As British troops marched victoriously across Palestine in 1917, Allenby must have been thrilled to hear the news from back home.  The Balfour Declaration of November 1917 declared the necessity of a Jewish state.  The League of Nations (forerunner to the United Nations) declared the same in 1922 and thus England was authorized to facilitate the establishment of a Jewish state from the spoils of World War 1. 


Great Britain was now at the height of international prominence and influence, which I believe, was in part due to its support for the Jews, as Genesis 12:1 to 3 states would be the case for those who bless Israel.  England's story doesn’t end here.  The Genesis passage also states that those who curse Israel will be cursed.   


As Hitler was exterminating Jews, Britain was forming friendships with Arabs in the Middle East.  As a result of these friendshipsEngland slowed down Jewish immigration to Palestine.  Many Jews fleeing Hitler's terror were actually sent back to Europe by Britain, only to die in Hitler's death camps.  In one real sense of the word, England aided Hitler in killing the very people it once supported, but that's still not the end of the story.      


The Balfour Declaration adopted by the League of Nations defined the boundaries of the new Jewish state that Britain was responsible to facilitate.  The historical fact that is purposely and systematically ignored these days is that England failed to give the Jews their promised land.  Instead, England gave 75% of the Jewish designated land to the Arabs.  England not only failed to fulfill its League of Nations mandate, it violated God's foreign policy as seen in Genesis 12:1 to 3, resulting in the loss of its greatness to America, who was willing to support the newly created state of Israel.   


The Great Awakening that permeated English culture in the 1700's found its way to America in the 1800's.  It's called the Second Great Awakening.  With Evangelical fervor, adherents to the movement spread their convictions across America.  A Biblical based support for  Israel became a vital component of U. S. foreign policy, that is, except for a time in the late 1970's, mid 1990's, and now with the present administration's two state solution policy.  As it was with Great Britain, this is not the end of the story for America. 


The effects of the Second Great Awakening  in America have been undermined by  Secular Humanism with its doctrine of  relevant tolerance.  Support for Israel may not exist in the present American administration's foreign policy, but it still exists in the foreign policy of the Kingdom of God.  Like Great Britain in the past, America is defaulting on its future, but again, that's not the end of the story.  Joel 3 predicts the day when all nations will curse Israel.  Hitler's terror will pale in comparison.  This, is the end of the story.  Edmund Allenby's nightly childhood prayers will be ultimately answered as the Lord Jesus Christ puts an end to the anti-Semitic nonsense that has existed since the day Abraham's son Isaac was born.  Until final victory comes to Israel, let the nations be warned, the Word of the Lord remains.  He who blesses Israel will be blessed and he who curses Israel will still be cursed.      

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