“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.” (1 Cor. 11:26)
Every year the celebration of our Redeemer’s death seems more full of meaning and more impressive. The very fact that the date changes, and must be reckoned after the Jewish method of calculations, adds to the impressiveness, and brings a fresh fulfillment in the death of the Lamb of God - “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” (1 Cor. 5:7)
The correct date for celebrating this momentous event this year is March 26 after 6:00 p.m. Here at 2501 Morningside Drive, Mount Dora, Florida we will assemble at 7:30 p.m. and all who have faith in the Redeemer are welcome.
There is only one Passover, the one in Egypt - when the Angel of Death passed through Egypt and slew every firstborn of man and beast. The annual observance of that occurrence is simply a memorial of the original one - “ye shall observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.” (Ex. 12:17) And self-evidently, the memorial should be kept on the same date as the original - just as birthdays, weddings, etc. are observed once a year. The Jews were told, “When ye come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.” (Ex. 12:25) And we have the evidence abundantly with us to this day that the Jews have scrupulously attempted to “keep this service.” And so should we keep the Memorial of Christ our Passover on the 14th day of Nisan each year - even as Jesus and the Apostles had done with their Passover.
But our Lord and the Apostles kept that memorial for the last time the night before He died, at which time He gave us the “Lord’s Supper” - the bread and the wine, which was to replace the lamb and unleavened bread that Jesus and the Apostles ate that night before he was crucified. And certainly our antitype is supremely greater than was the type in Egypt.
When Jesus said, “this do in remembrance of me” He was telling His followers to discontinue the memorial of the Passover in Egypt, and thenceforth to use the bread and the wine in memory of Him. And there is no record that the Apostles ever again partook of the lamb and the unleavened bread in observance of the Passover in Egypt.
The Scripture which refers to our Lord as the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world indicates to us that all the details of the Passover were clearly in the mind and plan of God, not only since the Fall of Adam under the death sentence, but from long before Adam’s creation. It thus assures us that although the Justice of God only was manifest for centuries, Divine Love was not “manifested” until the first Advent of Jesus, nevertheless love was in God’s heart toward His creatures from the beginning.
The Master enjoined all His disciples, to “keep the feast,” saying, “As often as ye do this [as year by year ye shall frequently do this] do it in remembrance of me”; and no longer in remembrance of the typical lamb and the typical passing over the typical firstborn of typical Israel.
For centuries the adversary blinded the Lord’s people to this simple custom of the early church, persuading them first of all that the Roman Mass was the same thing, and later that the quarterly, monthly and weekly celebrations of Protestants would do as well. How much we were losing under those delusions we never knew until graciously brought to see the truth respecting “Christ our Passover, sacrificed for us,” on whose account we celebrate.
“In The Same Night”
How much more impressive and inspiring it is to celebrate an important matter on its anniversary; to recall the deeds and words and looks, and place ourselves with the chief actors of that greatest of all dramas which over twenty centuries ago ended at Calvary. It even strengthens our general faith in Divine providence to note that the very day, the very hour, as well as the very year of this tragedy God had predetermined, so that although previously the Jews sought to take Him to put Him to death, no man laid hands on Him, because “his hour was not yet come.” The precise time of this great event had not only been typified for centuries with careful precision as to the very day, but our Lord with equal exactness declared, “Mine hour is come,” and when instituting the bread and wine Memorial of His own death as the antitypical lamb He waited, “And when the hour was come He sat down” with His disciples to eat the Passover Supper, saying “With desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” (Luke 22:15)
“Let Us Keep The Feast”
With equal carefulness to that shown by our Lord and His apostles, let us keep the feast, the Memorial of His death, as He directed - not at any time, morning, noon or night, but only as a supper - not any day but only on its anniversary - if we would “do this” rather than commemorate something else on some other date.
Our Lord instituted the Memorial Supper, which He requested His followers to celebrate, after six o’clock on the evening before He was crucified, “in the same night, in which He was betrayed.” This was on the 14th of Nisan, the very same day on which He died - God having provided the Jews a custom for counting their days from 6 p.m. to 6 p.m., from sundown to sundown.
Jesus and His disciples, being Jews, were obligated to keep the Jewish Passover Supper, and ate together a literal lamb with herbs and unleavened bread, and wine; but we are no longer interested in those typical matters, which have forever passed away by being fulfilled in Christ. It was after the Jewish Passover Supper that our Lord instituted the new, the Memorial Supper, commemorative of His own sacrifice.
“This Is My Body”
Apparently it was just when the regular Jewish Passover Supper was ended that our Lord took some of the left-over unleavened bread, blessed it, broke it into pieces, and gave them to His disciples saying, “Take eat this is my body given for you; this do in remembrance of me.” (Matt. 26:20; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19)
These words, “This is my body” have caused endless disputes for centuries amongst the Lord’s people, the basis for the disputes being the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Mass, which claims that under the priest’s blessing the bread is changed into the actual flesh of Jesus, which the priest then adores and proceeds to break (a fresh sacrifice) for the sins of those for whom the Mass is said. To have this procedure resemble that of our Lord, great stress is laid on the words, “This is my body,” thereby to prove the body is in the bread and the possibility of its sacrifice. But the whole matter is very quickly settled when we remember that our Lord had not yet died when he said these words. Hence He must have meant, “This bread represents my body,” for any other interpretation or meaning would have been untrue - for He was still flesh, His change not having yet come in any sense.
But the picture is complete when we recognize that the unleavened (pure, unfermented) bread represented our Lord’s sinless flesh - leaven being a symbol of sin under the Law, and especially commanded to be put away at the Passover season. On another occasion Jesus gave a lesson which interprets to us this symbol. He said, “The Bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” “I am the living Bread which came down from Heaven; if any man eat of this Bread, he shall live forever; and the Bread that I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:33,35,51) In order to appreciate how we are to eat, or appropriate, this living bread, it is necessary for us to understand just what the bread signifies. According to Our Lord’s explanation of the matter, it was His flesh, which He sacrificed for us. It was not His prehuman existence as a spirit being that was sacrificed, although that was laid down and its glory laid aside, in order that He might take our human nature. It was the fact that our Lord Jesus was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners - without any contamination from Father Adam, and hence free from sin - that enabled Him to become the Redeemer of Adam and his race, that permitted Him to give His life “a Ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1 Tim. 2:4-6)
When we see that it was the pure spotless nature of our Lord Jesus that was laid down on behalf of sinners, we see what it is that we are privileged to appropriate. The very thing that He laid down for us we are to “eat,” appropriate to ourselves; that is to say, His perfect human life was given to redeem all the race from condemnation of death to enable them to return to human perfection and everlasting life, if they would; and we are to realize this and accept Him as our Savior from death. The Scriptures show us, however, that if God would consider all past sins canceled, and should recognize us as having a right to human perfection, this still would not make us perfect, nor give us the right to eternal life. In order that any of the race of Adam might profit by the sacrifice of Jesus, it was necessary that He should rise from the tomb on the Divine plane of life, that He should ascend to the Father and impute the sacrificial merit of His death deposited in the hands of Justice on our behalf and receive from the Father the position of exercising “all power in heaven and in earth.” As relates to the world, it was necessary also that in the Father’s due time He should come again to earth, a glorious Divine Being, then to be to the whole world a Mediator, Prophet, Priest and King, to assist back to perfection and harmony with God all who will avail themselves of the wonderful privileges then to be offered to all mankind - dead and living.
Taking our Lord’s words in their simple obvious sense, how beautiful is their lesson. Unleavened (pure) bread henceforth would at this Memorial represent our Lord, the bread from heaven, of which we may eat and have everlasting life. The next thought is that this heaven-supplied “bread” must be “broken” in order to be appropriated. And so we see that it was necessary not only for our Lord to come from heaven as the “bread”; but necessary also that He be broken in death - sacrificed for our sins - else we could not appropriate His merit and enjoy everlasting life.
Jesus exclaimed: “The cup which my Father hath poured for me, shall I not drink it.” It had in type been foretold of our Lord that He should be lifted up, even as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness. He knew that He was to be the great antitypical Sin-offering; that He was to be “made sin” for fallen man. Yet this cup that the Father had poured for Him He declared Himself very willing to drink. He continued to drink of that cup until the end - He drank the dregs of the cup.
As we ponder over our present understanding of the bread and the wine, we may delight in the words of the Psalmist (119:100): “I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.” The word translated ancients in this text is the Hebrew zaqen; and it is the same word to be found in Joel 2:28, where it is translated “old men,” and where the Ancient Worthies are given their Kingdom standing and blessing from God. And those of us who do “keep the precepts” can say of a surety, “I understand more than the ancients” (Ancient Worthies; and we may rejoice in the knowledge that maketh wise unto salvation).
“Being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:8) From this it is apparent that our Lord was subject to the same emotions as are we; and He was fully apprized of the impending events of the day ahead. Yet, on that last night, when He instituted the Memorial of His approaching death, He spent very substantial time instructing, admonishing and encouraging the eleven Apostles who were to be representatives plenipotentiary of the Gospel Age Household of Faith. And during this same night He offered up one of His most appealing prayers - as recorded in the 17th chapter of John - a prayer chiefly for the help and encouragement of those present, following which they sang the Hallel before leaving for Gethsemene. Hallel is the Hebrew word for praise, and it is the root of our English word Hallelujah, meaning, “praise to God.” The Hallel is Psalms 113 through 118, the first two of which are styled the Small Hallel, and the remaining four the Great Hallel. As our Lord was praying in the upper room that last night He was able to declare truthfully: “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4) - although the completion of that work had drained His physical resources to the breaking point. Yet, our Lord was “found in fashion as a man” - even as all of us and the agony of the cross distorted His facial features, as the same experience would do to us. Therefore, the prophet foretold of Him: “As many were astonied at thee [amazed that He would submit to such abuse if He were the Son of God]; His vision was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” (Isa. 52:14) Physical exhaustion and the torture of the cross took their toll more than would be true of us, because of His sensitive physical perfection - a harrowing sight indeed to all with a normal degree of sympathy and mercy in their hearts and minds.
The Scriptures call the Church of Christ “the church of the first-borns,” “a kind of first-fruits unto God of his creatures,” “the first-fruits unto God and the Lamb.” (Heb. 12:23; James 1:18; Rev. 14:4) These expressions imply that ultimately there will be others of God’s family later born; they imply after-fruits. Christian people in general seem to have overlooked these Scriptures, so far as making application of them is concerned, and have generally come to believe that only those who are ever to be saved are those designated in the Bible as the first-fruits - that there will be no after-fruits.
But the Passover type indicates that it was God’s purpose to save all Israelites; and that as a nation they represented all of mankind that will ever come into harmony with God and be granted everlasting life in the Land of Promise. Let us note that there were two phases of the Passover - the one in which only the first-borns were passed over; and another greater one at the Red Sea, when by Divine power the whole nation of Israel was miraculously delivered and led across the channel of the Sea, especially prepared for them by the accentuation of winds and tides. These passed over dry-shod and were saved; while the hosts of Pharaoh, representing all who eventually will go into the Second Death, were overwhelmed in the Sea. The Passover at the Red Sea pictures the ultimate deliverance from the power of sin and death of every creature of Adam’s race who desires to come into accord with the Lord and to render Him worship, all who will ever become a part of Israel; for not one Israelite was left behind in Egyptian bondage.
Blessed are those whose eyes of faith see that Jesus was indeed “the lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) - that the cancellation of the world’s sin is effected by the payment of Adam’s penalty - that as the whole world lost the favor of God and came under the Divine sentence of death, with its concomitants of sorrow and pain, it was necessary before the sentence could be removed that a satisfaction of justice should be made; and that therefore, as the Apostle declares, Christ died for our sins - the just for the unjust, that He might bring us back to God. Thus He opened up a “new and living way” - a way to life everlasting.
The Cup Of Joy In The Kingdom
On the occasion of the institution of the Memorial of His death, the Master in His conversation with the apostles said: “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matt. 26:29) Our Lord was here contrasting two great days - the day of suffering and the day of glory. This Gospel Age has been the day of suffering. The Millennial Age will be the day of glory, and is especially spoken of as “the day of Christ.”
The fruit of the vine, the literal cup, represents two thoughts. The cup of wine is produced at the cost of the life of the grape. The grape loses its own individuality. The juice is pressed out, and thus the fruit of the vine is made ready for use. The cup of wine - the juice of the grape - represents, however, not only the crushing of the grape but also the exhilaration that comes as the result. So it is also in our drinking of the figurative cup. To us it symbolizes our Savior’s sufferings and death. But wine also represents joy, gladness, and is thus used in the Scriptures. So in the sense in which the Lord used the words “fruit of the vine,” quoted above, the cup represented the joys of the Kingdom.
In the earthly experiences of our Lord Jesus the Father marked out for him a certain specific course. This course constituted His cup of suffering and death. But the Father promised Him that after He had drunk this cup faithfully, He should be given a different cup, a different experience - glory, honor and immortality. And then the Savior was authorized by the Father to make the same proposition to those who might desire to become His followers - that if they would suffer with Him, would drink His cup of death with Him, then they should participate with Him in His future cup of joy.
We exhort all the Brethren everywhere to join in observing the Lord’s Memorial on its proper anniversary. We also recommend, as always, the reading of the chapter on the Passover Memorial in Volume Six of the Parousia Studies.
We trust that the celebration of the Memorial this year may be a very deeply impressive one, an occasion of rich blessing to all of the Lord’s people everywhere. “For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; therefore let us keep the feast.” (1 Cor. 5:7,8)
“Now with the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing to his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Heb. 13:20,21)
WHAT THE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL MEANS FOR THE WORLD
(This is the preface to the article “Helping Israel.” This article gives a rapid review of miraculous development in the Holy Land in the light of Bible prophecy, bringing to the attention of its readers outstanding facts that they cannot get through regular news channels.)
Did your grandmother or grandfather ever tell you that when the Jewish people would return to the Holy Land it would mean the blessing of all the families on earth?
Well, our forefathers had good reason for saying what they did because they read their Bibles and knew that its prophecies clearly pointed out the restoration of Israel and its tremendous significance in the destiny of the world. Bible prophecy is history written aforetime. It is His (God’s) story.
Now what is “His story”? Ah, it is the sweetest story ever told! - because it has the happiest ending that man could ever dream of. True, there has been much sorrow, suffering and pain, and there is to follow the last birth pain for the Messianic Age, as travail upon a woman with child, but the birth of a glorious new order will cause all the agonizing past to fade from memory. Yes, the relationship of the Jewish people, the land of Israel, and the Bible, when rightly understood, constitutes a proof that there is a God, that He has a wonderful plan and method of dealing with mankind.
There is no denying that Divine intervention is imperative. Look where you will, sickness and death on every hand attest to the fall of man. So, the whole creation groans under the curse of sin. But the grand hope lies in the emancipating merit of the supreme sacrifice of Jesus (the son of God, Psalm 2) who became not only a man, but a Jew, and died for all mankind, to provide the ransom price (Isaiah 53). So, the Messianic hope is of Jewish origin, for Jesus himself said, “Salvation is of the Jews.” (John 4:22) The restoration of Israel is very much related to all this and hence its great importance.
But why has there been such a long delay in the outworking of God’s designs? Actually there has been no gap in the Divine program for human redemption. Unbeknown to the world in general, during the nineteen centuries of Israel’s dispersion in exile and the continued permission of evil for man’s learning by experience - a grand work has been going on. Under the skilled supervision of the Eternal, the Master Architect of the universe, there has been a mighty project underway of selecting and preparing a just, wise and powerful cabinet from the children of men to administer the laws of the impending Millennial Age of peace and righteousness (Rev 20:6). Synchronized with the completion of this governing body that is to rule with the Messiah - the promised return of God’s favor to Israel is taking place (Acts 15:14-17). Scripturally speaking, the times of the Gentiles have ended; their lease of dominion has expired (Daniel 2:27-48). Therefore we are viewing the disintegration of the Gentile world powers, but the Star of Israel is on the ascendancy, for Israel restored will be the seat of the new world government (Isaiah 2:4-6).
Who Said the Age of Miracles is Past?
The Jews in Israel say, “He who does not believe in miracles is not a realist.” And rightly so, for they are eyewitnesses of the greatest Divinely inspired phenomenon of our day - the miraculous rebirth of Israel. We say: “It was the power of God which brought the new Jewish State into being - for how else could such victories have been won by a handful of untrained people in the face of overwhelming odds; with the surrounding states as enemies, and greater enemies supporting these in the background? In the time of danger and threatened calamity the hearts of the Jewish people turned to God and they saw His wonderful protection. Even the unbelieving were conscious of ‘miracles’ working on the side of Israel.” Unfortunately, many of them did not maintain those valuable impressions.
A Miracle Indeed
For many centuries there seemingly was no marked indication that the Creator was in any way concerned about the fate of His ancient Chosen People. However, now the hour has struck in the Divine Plan of the ages for the deliverance of His people. The God of Israel is moving swiftly and mightily on behalf of Jacob’s posterity: “It shall come to pass that the Lord shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:11) Yes, they are going to Israel from 92 countries and already number over five million strong. A miracle indeed! An act of God!
Furthermore, simultaneous with the Divinely ordered homecoming is the productiveness of the land that for time immemorial had been barren and desolate. For hundreds of years the Arabs and the Turks could barely eke out an existence in Palestine. Why? Because it is prophesied that the Land would wait for His people Israel, cursed by lack of rain (Ezekiel 35:2-12; Leviticus 26:32-34; Deuteronomy 28:24-42). Therefore, with the return of the sons of Israel and their diligent cultivation has come the gradual restoration of the spring and fall rains - also prophetic. The precipitation has been increasing with the years, a sure token of God’s blessing.
“And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas, it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, this land that was desolate is become like the Garden of Eden. Then the nations that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.” (Ezekiel 36)
In ancient day the Land of Israel was known as the “land flowing with milk and honey,” but God promised, “I will do better unto you than at your beginnings.” Result - already the fruitage of the soil of Israel is excellent and taking on Edenic perfection. And this is just the beginning. The Negev, which had been a barren waste, is being tilled. Israel planted forests in the Negev under conditions that no other nation succeeded. Experts foretold that it is impossible to grow trees in that area - but their “wisdom” was refuted and prophecy confirmed. So Israel became the only country which stopped the “desert process” and is turning desert into blossoming gardens. However, it is not only what the Jew, by God’s grace, is doing to the Land of Promise that is important, but especially, what that land is doing to the Jew! The Jewish people who have returned to Israel find themselves in an historical environment that impresses upon them their religious heritage. Because of the large-scale excavation in Israel’s vast building program, archaeological discoveries are unearthed daily, bringing up the past. The result - a confirmation of the Biblical record. Therefore many Jews of Israel are becoming more and more Bible-conscious. There is an intense feeling in the people for the past, which is linked in their hearts with the present and the future. So “the people of the book” are returning to a deep appreciation of their Book - the Bible - for which there is a great demand. Another restoration in Israel!
The Golden Age
Yes, your grandmother or grandfather was right - the blessing of all the families of earth will soon take place as a result of Israel’s restoration. Yet this generation finds itself in the greatest time of trouble the world has ever known. The spirit and acts of war, revolution and anarchy are rife; it is unnecessary to emphasize the fear and horror that grip the minds and hearts of man everywhere. The hideous specter of another bloody global conflagration is petrifying. But, prophetically, Israel’s restoration was to take place in these evil days. Right at this time the prophets foresaw that many gentile believers from the Nations will help Israel in their regathering and by their restoration in their land. For these God-obeying people a special Divine blessing and protection is prophesied in the near Great Day of God Almighty (Malachi 3). The remainder of Nations, who have rejected the Creator’s call to help Israel will quickly reach a state of Anarchy, Chaos, war and destruction. At the climax of this greatest catastrophe in human history, Divine intervention is promised. God’s love will be made manifest by sending the Messiah. Then times of restitution shall begin, as spoken by all holy prophets. Isaiah gives us a graphic word-picture of what is in the offing when he says: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain [kingdom] of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say: ‘Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths’ for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Isaiah 2)
Above all, the restoration of Israel will mean “life from the dead.” Our loved ones shall come back from the “land of the enemy.” (Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2; Psalm 22:30) What happy family reunions there will be! Close your eyes for a moment to the scenes of misery and woe, degradation and sorrow that yet prevail on account of sin, and picture before your mental vision the glory of the perfect earth. Not a stain of sin mars the harmony and peace of a perfect society; not a bitter thought, not an unkind look or word; love, welling up from every heart, meets a kindred response in every other heart, and benevolence marks every act. There sickness shall be no more; not an ache nor a pain, nor any evidence of decay - not even the fear of such things (Isaiah 11). Think of all the pictures of comparative health and beauty of human form and feature that you have ever seen, and know that perfect humanity will be of still surpassing loveliness. The inward purity and mental and moral perfection will stamp and glorify every radiant countenance. Such will earth’s society be; and weeping, bereaved ones will have their tears all wiped away, when thus they realize the resurrection work complete. “There shall be no more death.” (Isaiah 25:8)
And this is the change in human society only. We call to mind also that the earth, which was “made to be inhabited” (Isaiah 45:18) by such a race of beings, is to be a fit and pleasing abode for them, as represented in the Edenic paradise, in which the representative man was at first placed. Paradise shall be restored (Ezekiel 36:36). The earth shall no more bring forth thorns and briers and require the sweat of man’s face to yield his bread, but “the earth shall [easily and naturally] yield her increase.” “The desert shall blossom as the rose.” (Isaiah 41:17, 51:13, 52:12, 35:1, 65:17-25)
Then for the ages of eternity God will be praised and glorified by a loyal and obedient human family. This is the grand finale!
“They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore… The wolf will live with the lamb the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together, and a little child will lead them… The infant will play near the hole of the viper… They will never harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 2 and 11) “Each of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree - declares the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 3:10) “They will build houses and dwell in them, they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. My chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands. They will not toil in vain… for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer, while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. They will never harm nor destroy in all my holy mountain, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 65)
(By Casimir Lanowick)
Nobel giveth, and Nobel…?
“This column has not given out its Windmill of the Week award for good effort in the face of utter futility in some time. The latest winner: www.revoketheprize.com.
“You may have received requests to sign the petition at this site, which is dedicated to persuading the Nobel Committee to rescind the Nobel Peace Prize given Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat after the signing of the Oslo Accords. Arafat shared the prize with now Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
“The site was founded by Jonathan Bendheim of New York, Richard Demb, and others. Bendheim, 25, says it’s a ‘constructive way for the general public to express their outrage and disappointment in Arafat’s inability to live up to the promises and commitments that afforded him the prize.’ The Nobel Peace Prize has never been revoked, and the Nobel statutes say the panel does not revoke prizes, Bendheim says. So why try? Bendheim says the Nobel panel did not strictly follow Alfred Nobel’s criteria for receipt of the prize.
“Nobel’s will and the commission bylaws say the prize is a reward ‘for the accomplishment of an individual or group during the past year in making the world more peaceful,’ Bendheim says. In Arafat’s case, he says, ‘the committee took the unusual step of granting the prize with the hope that the award will serve as an encouragement to all the Israelis and Palestinians who are endeavoring to establish lasting peace in the region.’
“'Simply put, the prize was awarded to encourage Mr. Arafat to continue pursuing a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He has failed to live up to the committee’s and the world’s expectations, [creating] a strong case to revoke the prize.’”
(The International Jerusalem Post, January 18, 2002)