“As oft as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do proclaim the Lord’s death till he come.” (1 Cor. 11:26)
TWO PASSOVER MEMORIALS: We trust that all of the Lord’s consecrated people everywhere will avail themselves of their privilege of memorializing the death of the Redeemer for our sins. As our Lord and the Apostles met and symbolized His death in advance of the event, so it is appropriate for us to meet on the anniversary to celebrate His sacrifice.
This is one of the most interesting features of Jesus’ earthly ministry. The doing of this annually, in harmony with the evident purpose of the Lord in establishing this Memorial instead of the Jewish Passover, makes the occasion a very impressive one, much more so than any celebration which ignores the anniversary feature and celebrates occasionally – monthly, weekly, quarterly, etc. Let us not find fault with others who do differently; but, as opportunity offers, let us inform them of our reasons for observing this great event on its anniversary.
Jesus knew that the Apostles did not know that this was to be His last supper with them. Although He had intimated the nearness of His death, His disciples had found it impossible to comprehend that any such disaster could be so near at hand as He had intimated. Jesus, however, with full consciousness of what it meant, was longing for the consummation of His work. It was probably on the very day at the close of which He and His disciples went to eat the Passover that Jesus said, “I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I in difficulty until it be accomplished!” (Luke 12:50) – a baptism into death, which was finished the following day.
Peter and John were the two disciples sent to make ready the Passover. Evidently Jesus was at Bethany, at the home of Lazarus, when He sent this word. It is supposed that the large upper room in which the Passover was eaten by Jesus and His disciples was the same one in which the apostles and others were gathered to await the Pentecostal blessings.
In the evening of the same day, Jesus with the entire twelve met in this room, all the preparations having been attended to. They met to celebrate the Jewish Passover at its appointed time. The lamb had been roasted, and the unleavened bread prepared, also the bitter herbs. Everything, we may be sure, was exactly in conformity with the original requirement; for Jesus and His apostles were bound by every feature of the Jewish Law as much as were other Jews – the new dispensation not yet having been ushered in. Every feature of the law was binding up to the time of the Pentecostal blessing, which marked the Divine approval of the sacrifice of Jesus and the Divine acceptance of all those who had become His disciples by a full consecration.
KINGDOM HONORS DESIRED
So far from realizing that they were on the eve of a great tragedy, the apostles believed that Jesus would very soon be enthroned as King. They remembered His promise that they should sit with Him in His throne. This promise seemed so near of realization to them that they could think of little else but the degree of honor which they would have in the Kingdom. They seemed to feel that unless they contended stoutly for it, they would not get so honorable positions. Perceiving their attitude of mind, Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; but ye shall not be so; but he that will be greatest amongst you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.” (Luke 22:25,26)
These were the new standards, difficult for them to understand; and apparently they are still difficult for the followers of Jesus to comprehend fully. The one who will be chief in the Kingdom will be the one who was the chief servant in the flesh. This greatest servant of all was, of course, the Lord Jesus Himself. But the Master intimates that the same principle holds good in respect to all of His followers. Whoever of them will most faithfully, most earnestly, most zealously, serve the brethren will thereby be increasing his favor with God, and be preparing himself for so much higher station in Messiah’s Kingdom.
With the thought that any menial service would signify admission of their unworthiness of a high place, the disciples made no arrangement for feet‑washing, not wishing to assume the role of servant. In that sandy country feet‑washing was almost a necessity when sandals were worn. By way of rebuke, Jesus arose from the table and performed this menial service for His disciples, telling them the import of the lesson – namely, humility – and intimating that no matter how humble a service they might be able to render to each other, they should be glad to render it.
This lesson is still with us, not as a form or ceremony to be performed, but as an illustration of a principle. Any humble act of service done to one of the Lord’s brethren corresponds to this feet‑washing.
THE CRISIS IN JUDAS’ LIFE
The Passover Supper proceeded – the eating of the lamb with the bitter herbs and the unleavened bread, which considerably resembled thick pancakes, and which was sometimes used instead of a spoon to sop up the essence of the meat. One of the Gospels declares that Jesus began to be heavy-hearted, and then said, One of you twelve, eating with me as my guest, as a member of my family, is plotting my betrayal.
There may have been a double object in this statement. First, it would show the disciples that Jesus was fully aware of the premeditated betrayal. They would not, therefore, think that something had happened to Him unexpectedly, or out of the Divine program. Second, our Lord may have meant this as a final reproof to Judas – to startle him, to cause him to think. At very best a traitor’s course is dishonorable, but doubly so when the traitor accepts the hospitality of the one against whom he is plotting and eats his bread.
Consternation spread amongst the disciples; and one after another they asked, “Is it I?” The import of this question would be, It is not I whom you have meant! Even Judas joined in the general inquiry, “Is it I?” The Apostle John was seated next to Jesus, and St. Peter beckoned to him that he should ask the Master who was meant. It was probably a whispered inquiry, heard by Jesus only. Our Lord’s whispered reply was, “It is the one to whom I will give a sop.” Presently, having prepared a special sop, a mark of special interest, he handed it to Judas. Thus St. John and St. Peter knew the affair.
Apparently it was but a short time after this that Judas withdrew, the record being that “Satan entered into him.” (John 13:27) The spirit of the evil one got complete control of him while he stopped, and weighed and balanced the matter of selling his best friend for thirty pieces of silver. It is entirely probable, therefore, that Judas was not present when Jesus, a little later, instituted the Memorial Supper which Christians now celebrate.
THE SIGNIFICATION OF THE MEMORIAL
The Memorial Supper which Jesus instituted is totally separate and distinct from the Passover Supper, and yet they are closely related; for the one was the type and the other its archetype, or higher type, with a still higher signification. In the one a literal lamb was used to typify Jesus, the Lamb of God; in the other, the archetype, the breaking of the bread represented the death of Jesus.
The Jews celebrated the birth of their nation and its deliverance from Egyptian bondage. This had its start in the passing over of their first‑born when the tenth plague came upon the Egyptians. St. Paul shows us that the first‑borns of Israel, spared in that Passover night, typified the Church of the first-borns, spared or passed over, in the present time, while the night of sin prevails and before the morning of Messiah’s Kingdom is ushered in.
We are not to understand that the apostles comprehended Jesus’ meaning when He explained to them the signification of the supper which He instituted. Rather, as He had already foretold, the Holy Spirit brought these things to their attention and enabled them to comprehend their meaning, after they had received the Pentecostal blessing and enlightenment. Now we may see the import of Jesus’ words, “This is my body, broken for you.” We perceive that He could not have meant, as some have thought, that the bread was turned into His actual body and the wine into His actual blood. He could not, therefore, have meant more than to say, This bread symbolically represents my body, which is to be broken for you; and this wine represents my blood, which is to be shed for you tomorrow – my life given up.
Neither should we think that Jesus meant that special virtue would result to the disciples from the eating of that bread and drinking of that literal cup. We should properly look far beyond these things, and see that He meant this: Only as you by faith partake of the merits secured by death can you have the great blessing provided for you as my disciples. The apostles believed that the death of Jesus was for their sins, and that it constituted the basis of their acceptance with the heavenly Father. They realized that only as they appropriated the life of Christ would they be truly recipients of all these blessings.
THE SEALING OF THE NEW COVENANT
Jesus spoke of the cup, the fruit of the vine, as representing the blood of the New Covenant. The Law Covenant was the Old Covenant, which failed to bring the blessings to the Jews, because they could not keep it. Hence, also, they were not qualified to bless the other nations of the earth. But God promised a New Covenant, a better one, which would be introduced by a new and higher, or superior, Mediator than Moses. That New Covenant, God declares, will accomplish what the old Law Covenant failed to accomplish; for the New Law Covenant will be inaugurated by Messiah, its Mediator, at His Second Advent. His Kingdom, established in power and great glory, will rule, bless and instruct mankind, and will “take away the stony heart and will give a heart of flesh” to all who will respond to those blessed opportunities.
Jesus’ death constituted the blood which seals, or makes efficacious, that New Covenant. But mark further: The Church is not to be blessed under that New Covenant of the Millennial Age, which will be inaugurated at the second coming of Jesus, at the establishment of His Kingdom. The Church is to be blessed in advance of that New Covenant. Indeed, their consecrated lives (blood), accepted by our Lord, are counted in as a part of His own sacrifice, which seals the New Covenant. Hence the New Covenant cannot be fully sealed until the entire Body of Christ, which is the Church, shall have shared with Him in the drinking of His cup – in the sacrifice of earthly rights, privileges, life itself.
THE COVENANT OF SACRIFICE
Meantime, we see that Jesus and the Church receive their reward neither under the Law Covenant nor under the New Covenant, but under a special covenant, called a Covenant of Sacrifice. Reference is made to this covenant of Christ and the Church in the Psalms, where the Lord is represented as saying, “Gather my saints together unto me, those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” (Psa. 50:5) The gathering of those who enter into this special Covenant of Sacrifice with the Lord has been in progress for now over eighteen hundred years. We have every reason to believe that the sacrifice is nearly completed, and that soon all the sacrificers, members of the Body of Christ, will be glorified, changed by the power of the First Resurrection and will enter into the joys of their Lord, according to His promise: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne.” (Rev. 3:21)
As from the intelligent appreciation of the fact symbolized by the Memorial Supper a great blessing comes, and a joy proportionate to the participator’s faith and obedience, so also a condemnation attaches to an unworthy, improper participation in the Memorial. None are to participate except those who have come into relationship with the Lord by consecration of their hearts – their all – to Him and His service.
But let none think that they should remain away from the Memorial because of imperfections of the flesh. This is a great stumbling-block to many. So long as we are in the flesh, imperfection of word, deed and thought are possible – yea, unavoidable. St. Paul says that we cannot do the things that we would. It is because we need Divine grace to forgive our daily unintentional, unwilling trespasses that all whose sins have been forgiven and who have been accepted into fellowship with Christ are encouraged to come to the throne of heavenly grace in prayer. The Apostle says, “Let us come with courage to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16) It was because of our needs that God opened up the way and made this arrangement for us.
As there was but one Passover in type, so there is but one “Lamb of God” in antitype; and by taking notice of that antitype each year, we merely do so “in remembrance” just as the Jews to this day keep their Passover “in remembrance.” And the service for the occasion is unique; there is no other service like it in Christian ritual throughout the earth. When our Lord gave command that we observe it, He did so in simplicity of speech and with few words. “He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: This do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” (Luke 22:19,20) Yet, upon these two forthright and uncomplicated sentences great rituals have been erected by the various sects of Christendom – some more, some less. Fundamentally, no more would be required of us in our observance than our Lord’s statement; although it is certainly in keeping with decorum and orderly procedure that a preparatory foundation be laid for partaking of the bread and the wine by reading and explaining the various elements involved where more than one person “keeps the feast.” However, it is equally good decorum and orderly procedure that we avoid the pompous play upon words and “stage” performance, which is to be found in some quarters.
The solemnity of the occasion should be stressed, however, that all be done “decently and in order” – not shabbily, nonchalantly, as of some “common thing.” It is commendable that the Christian world overemphasize the “feast” with impressive service and sedate and select speech, rather than by the other extreme of no propriety at all. The Roman system requires each participant to attend “confession” – usually the previous afternoon or evening – before acceptance of the emblems; and, until recently, nothing was to be eaten or drunk the morning of the service. While this in itself stresses the great regard that the system attempts to display for the service, it also overawes those present in a manner never intended by Jesus when He instituted it. Here we need not discuss the errors that have been superimposed over the centuries by such nicety of display and demand. Blessed are we if we may arrive at that balance of mind and heart that does not overdo or underdo the service – greatness in simplicity, inspiration in solemnity, uplift and virtue in a “good and honest” participation.
All Christians should keep their accounts squared with the Lord. If they come short, they should lose no time in getting the account squared, in obtaining forgiveness through the merit of the Savior’s sacrifice. Such accounts with the Lord should be settled promptly at the time of their occurrence, or no later than the day of their occurrence. They should not be allowed to accumulate; for they will rise as a wall between the soul and the heavenly Father. But whatever has been the condition in the past, the Memorial season, above all others, is the time for making sure that no cloud remains between the Lord and us, to hide us from His eyes.
We trust that the celebration of the Memorial this year may be a very deeply impressive one, and occasion of rich blessing to all of the Lord’s consecrated people everywhere. “For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; therefore let us keep the feast.” (1 Cor. 5:7,8)
THE PLACE TO MEMORIALIZE
The tendency of this our day is for larger and more costly edifices in which to observe this “remembrance of Me.” But in many of these “the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee” (Rev. 18:22); therefore, may the fact impress us that it is the occupants who sanctify the building; the building does not sanctify the occupants. Thus, St. Paul addresses one of his most human and endearing letters “unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer...and to the church in thy house.” Therefore may each participant in this year’s “remembrance of Me” rest in the strong assurance that where “two or three are gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20), regardless of the edifice we may occupy. In fact, the institution of this “remembrance” by Jesus Himself was in an “upper room” of a private residence.
TEMPTED IN ALL POINTS
St. Paul tells us in Hebrews 4:15, Diaglott, that Jesus was tried “in all respects like ourselves, apart from sin”; also, that He was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” (Heb. 7:26) To many these statements are an enigma. How can anyone be tempted, except to sin, they ask. And, if Jesus was not tempted to sin, how could He possibly be tempted “as we are” – we who are prone to sin, “none righteous, no not one”? This becomes clear when it is understood that there are four classes of temptation that beset God’s people: Sin, Error, Selfishness and Worldliness. Before we analyze these in our Lord’s experiences, let us first of all make clear that He was never tempted to the sins that beset the fallen human race – murder, thievery, immorality, falsehood – on every occasion He always said and did exactly the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, always “apart from sin”; whereas, all of the Lord’s followers – some more, some less – have had such temptation to sin. St. Paul makes this clear in 1 Cor. 6:9-11 (Dia): “Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminates, nor Sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God. And such characters were some of you.” Yet in all these things Jesus was “apart from sin” – they bothered Him not in the least. His human body was ever the noble and altruistic servant of His New Creature. Let us look then at those features wherein He was tempted, the same being related in Matthew 4, “Then Jesus was conducted by the Spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the enemy,” the first of which was:
SELFISHNESS: “After fasting forty days and forty nights he was hungry. Then the Tempter approaching him, said, If thou be a son of God, command that these stones become loaves.” Here we have temptation in the form of Selfishness in the very strongest degree. Self-preservation is the first law of nature, the desire for food and drink being the prime factors therein. Thus, a good and honorable man, faint with hunger, might put forth his hand to purloin food belonging to another, even though he had fasted but two or three days, instead of forty days, as was true of Jesus. But in this temptation Jesus was more than conqueror, as He answered, “Man shall not live by bread only, but by every word proceeding from the mouth of God.” Thus, He who later turned water into excellent wine, could just as easily have used His power to provide food for Himself, but He victoriously resisted the temptation to sate His selfish propensities to satisfy His bodily needs.
And this continued to be His course throughout His earthly ministry. Not once do we read that He derived personal material gain from the great power that was His. Some of the miracles He performed in healing wealthy people – such as raising the daughter of Jairus from the dead (Luke 8:41-56) – could certainly have brought Him substantial “fees”; but in this one instance we here mention He not only sought no pecuniary reward, but even avoided popular applause. “He charged them that they should tell no man what was done.” (Luke 8:56) And in this He surely gave us sound cause to “do this – with the bread and the cup – in remembrance” of Him. “Buy the Truth, and sell it not.” (Prov. 23:23) And, following His “example” in resisting temptation towards selfishness, we may also have this same blessed experience: “Then the enemy leaves him; and behold! Angels came and ministered to him.” (Matt. 4:11)
ERROR: “Then the Enemy conducts him into the Holy City, and places him on the battlement of the temple, and says to him, If thou be a Son of God, cast thyself down; for it is written, He will give his angels charge of thee; they shall uphold thee on their hands, lest thou strike thy foot against a stone.” (Matt. 4:5,6) God’s people should never court or encourage sensationalism, or even ribald flippancy, or “slight-of-hand,” if they would be true and fully useful “able ministers of the New Testament.” (2 Cor. 3:6) Such a “stunt” would certainly have brought Jesus wide acclaim – would have attracted to Him the attention of the people in pronounced manner. Here was a most subtle ruse to stumble our Lord. Be it remembered that temptation is an appealing suggestion. Without appeal, there can be no temptation. Thus, we cannot tempt a fellow with a cigar if he detests tobacco; whereas, it might be a very strong appeal to another who had been an habitual smoker and had with great difficulty forsaken the vice. And by the same token, at least some of God’s people have had the urge to “show off” with the power of the Truth that has come to them – to use it for personal prestige, and perhaps even more, when “the praise of men” might be involved. But to the erroneous twist by Satan our Lord gave the perfect answer, “Again it is written, Thou shall not try the Lord thy God.” (v.7) Here again He “left us an example” that we indulge not in outward show as we “do this in remembrance.”
WORLDLINESS: “Again the Enemy takes him to a very high mountain, and shows him all the Kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and says to him, All these will I give thee, if prostrating thou wilt worship me.” (vs. 8,9) Some may argue that these were not Satan’s to give; but we are told he is “the God of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), and there is little doubt but that he could have kept his promise to that extent. (Here also is indisputable proof that Satan was about this earth when our Lord was here – in contrast to the mistaken belief held by some that he was in Heaven until 1914 or 1918, at which date, they say, he was first cast out.) With the perfect mind and vigorous body that were His, our Lord would have had little difficulty in securing quick domination of the financial and political elements in a world where all about Him were in every respect His inferiors, especially, if He experienced no opposition from Satan. Here, also, He “was tempted like as we are”; and once more we have His perfect answer, “Get thee behind me, Adversary; for it is written, Thou shall worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (v. 10) And at this time we are well advised to keep His answer well in mind, as we “do this in remembrance.” His human body was always the noble servant, in full subjection to His New Creature.
At this Satan left Jesus, and we hear no more about his temptations. While we have classified them as selfishness, error and worldliness, they may also be defined under the headings of faith, obedience and loyalty, respectively. We could also describe them as Capitalistic Power (prompted by selfishness to use His power for personal gain), Religious Power (temptation to gain a following – to “do great works, win great numbers, gain great favor” as many have done who have built upon “Christ as sand”), and Governmental Power (using superior intellect to dominate weaker men). Many would do well to “examine themselves” from these standpoints as we “do this in remembrance.”
OUR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
“The Apostle’s argument is that we should hold fast the faith which began our Christian life and which is also to be the finisher of our Christian life. The Lord is able to carry us through and He will do it, if we do our part. But the terms on which the Lord has received us are that we purpose to abide faithful. Hence everything depends on our holding fast to the faith which we have professed, without wavering, without harboring any doubts and fears; and the basis of our faith in our ultimate triumph is the assurance that ‘He is faithful that promised.’ (Heb.10:23) We know that in the Bible there are ‘exceeding great and precious promises’ for us. While the Lord tells us that there is nothing in ourselves that we can depend on, He assures us that His Grace is sufficient, that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. We have only to lay hold upon it. If therefore we hold fast to our faith, we may obtain all that God has promised us. He will be faithful; He will not disregard His promises; He will do all that He has said.
“If we hesitate and waver we are either losing our faith or losing the spirit of obedience and love. If, therefore, we realize that either of these conditions exists, we should go at once to the Word of God and to prayer, that our faith, love and zeal may be renewed. We should scrutinize our hearts day by day to make sure that we are still loyal to the Lord, to see whether we are seeking to lay down our lives according to our covenant, to see whether we are developing the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit. Thus we shall fulfill our vows, and there shall be ‘an abundant entrance’ administered unto us into the ‘everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.’“ (Tower Reprint 5698)
This year we shall observe the Memorial at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, March 31, at 2501 Morningside Drive, Mount Dora, Florida, and we extend cordial welcome to all of like mind who may be in the vicinity to join with us. And with this comes the prayer that all our readers receive the Lord’s blessing in their preparation for, and participation in “this remembrance.” “Let us keep the festival, not with old leaven, nor with leaven of vice and wickedness, but with the unleavened principles of sincerity and truth.” (1 Cor. 5:8, Dia.)
WITH GOD’S HELP, ISRAEL WILL PREVAIL
Reprinted from the Middle East Intelligence Digest, November 1995
Benjamin Netanyahu, (Bibi) Leader of the Likud Party in Israel and candidate for Prime Minister in the 1996 elections, was invited to address 4,500 Christians who gathered in Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles (Succot, 1995). The following are excerpts from his speech.
Generations of Jews and non-Jews waited for the realization of the great prophecies of Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel and the others, who said that Zion would be rebuilt and the fallen Tabernacle of David would be raised up. This simply would not have happened without the support and the unrelenting efforts during the last Century – and this Century – of Christian Zionists. It is this partnership that made the State of Israel, and a united Jerusalem possible.
Zionism was always in the hearts of the Jewish people, in our prayers, our dreams. But it did not become a real force until late in the 19th Century, with the arrival of men like Theodor Herzl and Max Nordau. And it was 50 years before these great men that other great men, men of the Christian faith, visited Palestine, saw the land of Israel, and imagined in their mind’s eye the return of the Jewish people, who alone, they said, “could bring this barren land back to life”
These Christians and Jews believed that the great prophecies were something to be acted upon. Their faith was seized upon by clergymen, then by statesmen, whose translation of our common belief propelled Zionism forward in the hearts and minds of the movers and shakers of the world. It was because of this that there was a universal understanding among the great statesmen and writers of the world 100 years ago, 80 years ago, that: There is one land for one people, and that land is the Land of Israel for the people of Israel. They must be allowed to return. They must be supported in their return, in the rebuilding of the land, and rebuilding of their common destiny.
And now, after we achieved all our triumphs, established our state against overwhelming odds, rolled back armies a hundred times our size, and after we watered the desert, built up this wasteland, built cities and schools and universities and theater and industry, and the Hebrew language – after we made this unparalleled revolution in human affairs, guided by faith, there are those now from among us who say: “It’s all a mistake. Zionism is a mistake. Zionism is passe.”
Part of the reason this is happening is the absence of faith. But part of the reason is also the absence of knowledge. Our adversaries understood that the way to erode our faith was to erode our knowledge. If you possess the facts, you can defend against lies. But if you have no facts and no truth in your hands, you are completely defenseless against all the distortions that perverse human ingenuity can create. This perversion of truth is our greatest enemy.
At the time of the Balfour Declaration in 1917, and at the time of the collapse of the last great empire that held this land, there was universal agreement that this land belongs to us, and that we must come back to it. How is it, that in the short span of 70 years the situation seems to have completely reversed? Now, the seats of government around the world, and the media which influence men’s minds and hearts, say that we are the usurpers; the interlopers; that we came and stole this land from its ancient residents – the Palestinians, who were here from before the time of Jesus.
And to those who do not know, this message becomes, by dint of constant repetition and elaboration, the self-evident truth. Unless we pierce this falsehood, unless we come up with a weapon of truth, no amount of guns or money, no amount of human material, can defend against this slander.
I heard the speech of Yasser Arafat at the UN, when he said that the great Zionist invasion began in 1881. At the time, he said, Palestine was a verdant land, teeming with a peaceful people quietly cultivating their fields.
You know that in the 19th Century, as in the 18th, 17th and 16th Centuries, but in a growing flood, hundreds of visitors, including nationals from every civilized country of the time, documented their visits to the Holy Land. They described, as did the French Poet, LaMartin, the 19th Century geographer, Arthur Penrun Stanley, and the great American writer, Mark Twain, the craven state of the land, the barrenness, the silence of death.
This is the truth. This land was barren. It was waiting precisely as the great Christian preachers taught: it was waiting for the one people who could bring it back to life. We came back, and we brought it back to life. And as we rebuilt the land, there was business, and hospitals, and jobs and immigration: immigration of Jews and immigration of Arabs. These “age-old” Palestinians came here in the last 70, 60, 50 years, in response to the Jewish immigration. All who were born here saw it. We welcomed the Arabs. They were our neighbors.
A war was forced on us when the time came to establish the Jewish state and ingather the remnants of European Jewry that had been destroyed in the Great Fire. We said to the Arabs, “Be our friends.” But they succumbed to the call of the Arab countries around us and sought to extinguish our state.
They thought they could overpower us, they did not know the power of our faith. Some were driven out in the course of the fighting. But it is not true that Israel created the refugee problem. What Israel’s enemies did after the establishment of the State was to employ the trick they use again and again: They turned the result of the conflict into its cause.
When you asked the Arab world in the 1950s and 1960s, “Why are you fighting Israel?” They said: “Because of the refugees.” “But,” people said, “there wasn’t a single refugee in the Middle East when you chose to attack the infant Jewish State.”
They tried another war in 1967. That same faith produced a greater miracle – the redemption of the heart of our homeland, of Judaea, of Samaria, of the unity of Jerusalem – all the places that resonate in our history. And for the last quarter of a century, when you asked the Arab world, “Why are you fighting Israel?” They say: “Because of the territories.” But there wasn’t a single Israeli soldier in Judaea and Samaria before 1967. Again, they turned the consequence of their aggression into its cause.
If we were to cede Judaea and Samaria to the Arabs, the conflict would go on. And if you were to ask, “Why is it going on?” They would say: “Because of Jerusalem.” And if you were to cede half of Jerusalem, they would say: “But we still have here the right of refugees to return to Jaffa, and Haifa, and Akko, and every part of truncated Israel.”
This process, which is based on falsehood, on a complete reversal of cause and effect, a wiping out of basic historical facts, and replacing them with fiction – this is the greatest threat to our common dream.
All these campaigns of slander will not work. We are part of a much, much larger scheme. The return of the Jewish people is not just a passing episode that will be wiped out by the force of ignorance and stupidity. The life-force within the Jewish people is enormous. The life-force of the friends of the Jewish people around the world, especially the Christian world, is enormous. And this partnership will safeguard the Jewish land, will safeguard Zion, will safeguard our Eternal City.
It is something I believe should be treasured as the most precious element of our faith, without which, knowledge is empty. I have a deep faith, and it resonates amongst most of the people of Israel, that the promise that God gave to Abraham, and to Isaac, and to Jacob, this Birth [Covenant] is the most powerful force we have. It has guided us through millennia of struggle and strife and exile and pogrom and degradation and Holocaust. It has brought us back from the ashes of the dead. It has brought back this country to life, and I believe that, with your help, and with God’s help, we will prevail.
(Jerusalem Digest, December, 1995 – submitted by David Horowitz)