In our previous paper on this subject we stated that the Bible Students (meaning especially Pastor Russell) were actively interested in the Zionism question. It is probable that that interest reached its pinnacle in the New York Hippodrome meeting on October 9, 1910; and we quote the following from Reprints 4700-4701 of the October 15, 1910 Watch Tower:
“Pastor Russell, of the Brooklyn Tabernacle… is considered one of the most eloquent Protestant preachers, and has gained a wide audience among the Hebrews by his sympathetic treatment of Jewish questions. His sermon will be on ‘Zionism in Prophecy.’ His appearance before a representative mass meeting of Jews will be the first time that a well-known Protestant minister has been asked to deliver an address to such an assembly.
“Prominent Jewish citizens are arranging to make the meeting one of the largest gatherings ever held in this city. The Yiddish newspapers and Jewish societies are represented on the committees in charge of arrangements. Counselor Leo Wolfson, president of the Federated Roumanian Jews of America and Vice Grand Master of the I.W.S.O., when seen at his office, said: ‘As one who is interested in the Jewish question and an old worker for the Zionistic movement, my attention was called to Pastor Russell’s interest in the Jews.
“‘I feel that an address by him on Zionism and Jewish prophets will present the question from a new point of view, and a point of view that I will be very willing to learn. I am sure that Pastor Russell’s treatment of the question will be sympathetic, and will doubtless create wide-spread discussion of Zionism, its aims and ideals.’
“The committee in charge of the next Sunday’s meeting in the Hippodrome includes: A. B. Landau, editor of The Warheit; Louis Lipsky, editor of the Maccabean; J. Pfeffer, editor of the Jewish Weekly; Abraham Goldberg, editor of the Yiddish Volk, and Leo Wolkson, editor of the Yiddish Spirit.
“A more interesting audience the Hippodrome never held, perhaps. From all parts of the city came serious-minded Hebrews to hear what it was an alien, a Gentile, might have to say to them at a service, held during their week of feasting, Rosh Hoshana. They were quiet, well-dressed, thinking men and women.
“Among them were many prominent figures of the Hebrew literary world. Some of these escorted Pastor Russell to the Hippodrome in a motor car and then took places in the auditorium. The literary men recognized the pastor as a writer and investigator of international fame on the subject of Judaism and Zionism. Some of those present were Dr. Jacobs, editor of the American Hebrew; W. J. Solomon, of the Hebrew Standard; J. Brosky, associate editor of the same; Louis Lipsky, editor of the Maccabean; A. B. Landau, editor of the Warheit; Leo Wolfson, president of the Federation of Roumanian Societies; J. Pfeffer, of the Jewish Weekly; S. Daimont, editor of the Jewish Spirit; S. Goldberg, editor of the American Hebrew: J. Barrondess, of the Jewish Big Stick, and Goldman, editor of H’Yom, the only Jewish Daily.”
NO RELIGIOUS SYMOBLS THERE
“No Symbol of any religion at all greeted them when they gazed at the Hippodrome stage. It was entirely empty save for a small lectern and three peace flags hanging from silken cords above. One was the familiar white silk banner with the Stars and Stripes in its center, together with the words ‘Peace Among Nations’ in letters of gold. Another bore a rainbow and the word ‘Pax.’ The third was a silken strip bearing miniature representations of all the nations’ flags.
“There were no preliminaries. Pastor Russell, tall, erect and white-bearded, walked across the stage without introduction, raised his hand, and his double quartet from the Brooklyn Tabernacle sang the hymn, ‘Zion’s Glad Day.’ The members of this organization are Mrs. E. W. Brenneisen, Mrs. E. N. Detweiler, Miss Blance Raymond and Mrs. Raymond, Emil Hirscher, C. Myers, J. P. McPherson and W. J. Mockridge. Their voices blended perfectly, and the hymn, without any instrumental accompaniment, was impressive.
“But still there seemed an air of aloofness about the audience. They did not applaud, but sat silently watching the stalwart figure of the pastor. When he began to talk, however, they gave him respectful attention.
“With a powerful, yet charming voice, that filled the great playhouse, the unconventional clergyman made his every word audible to the hearer. His tone pleased their ears, his graceful gestures soon captivated their eyes, and in a few moments his apparently thorough knowledge of his subject appealed to their minds. Though still silent, the 4,000 were ‘warming up’ to him.”
RESERVE AND DOUBT VANISH
“It was not long before all reserve, and all possible doubt of Pastor Russell’s entire sincerity and friendliness were worn away. Then the mention of the name of a great Jew leader – who, the speaker declared, had been raised by God for the cause – brought a burst of applause.
“From that moment on the audience was his. The Jews became as enthusiastic over him as though he had been a great rabbi or famous orator of their own religion. He hailed them as one of the bravest races of the earth – having kept their faith through the persecutions and cruelties of all other people for thousands of years. And he predicted that before very long they would be the greatest on earth – not merely a people, any longer, but a nation. By a system of deductions based upon the prophecies of old, the pastor declared that the return of the kingdom of the Jews might occur at so near a period as the year 1914. Persecutions would be over and peace and universal happiness would triumph. [After the Old Order has passed away.]
“As he brought his address to a conclusion the pastor raised his hand again to his choir. This time they raised the quaint, foreign sounding strains of the Zion hymn, ‘Our Hope,’ one of the masterpieces of the eccentric East Side poet, Imber.
“The unprecedented incident of Christian voices singing the Jewish anthem came as a tremendous surprise. For a moment the Hebrew auditors could scarcely believe their ears. Then, making sure it was their own hymn, they first cheered and clapped with such ardor that the music was drowned out, and then, with the second verse, joined in by hundreds. The discourse has already been reported in the newspapers which publish the sermons weekly.”
The foregoing is from That Servant’s pen published in the October 15, 1910, Watch Tower, and is not only for the benefit of those who are not familiar with these details, but also for those who are, just as we do with many doctrines; We quote from the two Messengers to “stir up your pure minds.” (2 Peter 3:1) “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though you know them, and be established in the present truth.” (2 Peter 1:12)
It should be apparent, however, that our Pastor had a high regard for Zionism; and what he read about it in the prophecies has already seen much fulfillment, and will yet see more. To quote the texts of Scripture bearing on the different phases of the subject would require much space; but whoever will take a copy of Strong’s Concordance, turn to page 528, noting the various cases in which the word Israel is used in the New Testament, will have what seems to be overwhelming evidence that the house of Israel was no longer regarded by Jesus and the Apostles as the ‘ten tribes’ merely, but, as it is expressed, ‘all Israel.’ Note especially the following texts: Matt. 8:10; 10:6; 15:24,31; 27:9,42; Mark 12:29; 15:32; Luke 1:54,68; and especially v. 80; also 2:25,32,34; 24:21; also note carefully John 1:31,49; 3:10; 12:13; also Acts 2:22,36; 3:12; 4:10,27; 5:21,31,35; 13:16,24; 21:28; Rom. 9:6,31; 10:19; 11:25,26; 1 Cor. 10:18; Gal. 6:16; Eph. 2:12; Phil. 3:5; Heb. 8:8.
ZIONISM IN PROPHECY
“Many of our readers are aware that on the Editor’s return from Palestine last June he delivered a discourse entitled ‘Jerusalem.’ Many Jews were attracted by the theme and considerable interest amongst them was aroused. That sermon and several others were published in Jewish papers. Then came interviews with editors, etc., and, finally, an invitation to address a Jewish mass meeting at the New York Hippodrome, with signatures on three sheets of paper.
“Accordingly on Sunday, October 9, the Editor was met by a committee of five prominent Hebrews; Brother Rutherford also accompanied us. The party went in automobiles. The meeting was an enthusiastic one. The number present was estimated at four thousand, and we were told that no finer representative class of Hebrews had ever before come together in one assemblage in New York.
“The address was well received, but apparently it was unfortunate that some of the pamphlets, entitled ‘Jewish Hopes and Prospects,’ were given away at the conclusion of the meeting. Some of the Jews, without recognizing that the pamphlet was gotten out for our Christian readers, considered that by it we were endeavoring to entrap the Jews into Christianity. And Christianity to the Jews, especially Catholicism, means many persecutions which have come against their people for many centuries. Some understood the matter aright. Others felt offended, and during the Editor’s absence in Europe last Fall he was attacked as a ‘missionary’ – which, in the Jewish mind, means everything mean, underhanded.
“On our return from Europe in November we corrected the misunderstanding, so far as possible, through the Jewish newspapers. We informed them that we were not trying to ‘mission’ the Jews, nor make them members of either Catholic or Protestant Christian bodies. We were not even preaching Jesus to them. Our message was to the Jews as Jews, from Isa. 40:1,2: ‘Comfort ye, comfort ye my people; speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem; cry unto her that her appointed time is accomplished; that her iniquity is pardoned, for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double.’ We declared that it was not our expectation that the Jews would return to Palestine as Christians. On the contrary, God’s call and promises as respects Jerusalem are earthly promises to natural Israel.
“To a few who asked quite deeply we explained that our understanding is that the Messiah of prophecy is a great spirit company composed of many members, including English, French, German, Jews, etc.; that God is gathering this Messianic company to heavenly glory from every nation, people, kindred and tongue, and that only the saintly will be in and of it. We explained: We do not understand that Christians in general, any more than Jews in general, will have part in the Messianic body and that it would be the furthest from our thought to have the Jews get as mixed up on different matters as are the majority of Christian people.
“Since then several Jewish papers continue to publish our writings and we have had two more Jewish mass meetings. One of these was in Chicago. It was somewhat of a disappointment as to numbers, until we noticed that the Saturday on which it was held was a particularly unfavorable time. Many Jews expressed their disappointment in not being able to attend, because it would deprive them of their principal business day. Nevertheless the audience was estimated at fifteen hundred and we had excellent attention.
“Our last meeting with the Jews was held in Philadelphia. It was not at all advertised in the secular press. In other words, it was a Jewish meeting. Garrick Theater was full to the limit, with about three hundred standing, when the police, following the fire ordinance, forbade others to enter, and several hundred were turned away disappointed. That meeting was the most enthusiastic held thus far with the Jewish people. Their confidence in the Editor seems to be growing. Zionism from a prophetic standpoint seems to stir the Jewish heart as the subject never did politically.” (Reprint 4764, February 15, 1911)
It should now be clear enough to our readers that Brother Russell spent much time in research of the Jewish question – past and future – because the time had come for this work; and we adopt much the same attitude, although we do not attempt to classify ourselves with him in our writings on the matter. But we would emphasize here that those who attempt to make a distinction between the prophecies concerning the ten tribes and the two tribes make a mistake when they do this. Jer. 31:31 stresses “both the houses of Israel,” meaning the ten tribes and the two tribes, who had become separated from each other in the revolt after the death of Solomon. Time itself had made quite ludicrous the claims of the Anglo-Israel organization that claimed the English people are the ten “lost” tribes.
There is just no foundation in fact or Scripture for such a conclusion. Julius Caesar discovered – or invaded – England in 55 B.C., but there is no evidence at all that any of the twelve Apostles ever went there; and, since 1914, before which the British were the money lords of the world, the British money has been taking quite a beating. This would have been much more pronounced had not the United States been so generous in helping them. This has probably been a compensation from the Lord for the help they have given Zionism and the Jews in their present occupation of Palestine. And it should be apparent that we do not wish to create any quarrel when we say what we have said herein.
Some years back we attended an International Monetary Seminar in New York for three days, at which the speakers were prominent bankers, financial men and economists from England, France, Switzerland, South Africa, Japan, Mexico, etc.; and one of the economists ventured the statement that the United States is now in the same relative position as was England in 1914 – that we should now become the financial center of the globe. So we presented the question to him: Today a steel worker in the United States earns as much money in one day as does the steel worker in Germany in one week for the same work. That condition did not prevail in 1914. How do you reconcile the two conditions? He said he had not thought of that.
While some of the statements herein are our own, much of it is from the Watch Tower, and this will be our position in the remainder of this article. Thus, we now go back to the Feb. 1, 1898, Reprint 2256: “Some years ago, being curious to know how learned Hebrews view the Old Testament reference to Christ – as ‘a lamb for the slaughter,’ etc., we visited a friendly rabbi, and asked him the question. He replied that Hebrews apply these prophecies to the Hebrew people and their centuries of bitter experiences under more or less persecution. We are forcibly reminded of this false method of interpretation by the statement of Dr. Herzl at the Basel Congress, held August 29, last – to the effect that that Congress was the ‘birth’ of their Messiah – that the Messiah class which they hope will fulfill all the good promises of Scripture concerning Abraham’s seed was there organized. It appears, too, that the date (Aug. 29) was selected in harmony with a tradition prevalent among the Bulgarian Jews to the effect that Messiah would be born on that date.
“This is quoted with some assurance of endorsement by Rabbi Joseph Krauskopf in a recent discourse from which we quote the following comment on the Zionist movement and congress. He said: ‘The boldness of that dream startled the world. As for me, when the full report reached me and I read the fearful story of the Judennoth, that was submitted to the congress, I could not wonder at the statement made by Dr. Herzl, the president of the congress, during the first day’s session: The Bulgarian Jews have long believed that the messiah should be born on a 29th of August. They were right, THE MESSIAH HAS BEEN BORN TODAY IN THE ZIONIST CONGRESS.’
“It was a magnificent assemblage of Israelites that had gathered there in congress. Two hundred delegates, representing many hundreds of thousands of people had come with a most sacred purpose, that of putting an end to the persecutions and miseries of millions of Jews by re-acquiring for them of their own native Palestine and reestablishing them there in peaceful and honorable industries.
“It was beyond doubt the most remarkable gathering in the whole history of Israel. The venerable Dr. Lippe opened the congress and Dr. Herzl gave the keynote of the movement, comparing the inflictions of the modern anti-Semite with the Jew baiter of former centuries. A similar tale of woe was told by Max Nordau. It was the same refrain by all, and the congress concluded that the settlement of Palestine was the only solution of the Jewish question.
“Upon research, I found that Palestine, with the adjacent countries stretching between the Euphrates and the Tigris, that are now almost deserted, could amply support millions of agriculturists. The soil is luxuriantly fertile, the climate salubrious, the water pure and abundant, the irrigation canals of the ancients still available. The winters are short and mild, the summers long enough to ripen two harvests. The products of all the land can be laid down in the capitals of Europe within five days after their shipment and in price and excellence they can drive from the market those of other competing countries. Because of these conclusions I have been proclaimed a Zionist and have been asked to attend the second congress at Jerusalem next summer.”
Some of our readers probably know that for many years some of the Jews, some of them leaders, have contended that the United States is the promised land. Here they can own real estate, engage in lawful business. Many of them have become prominent doctors and lawyers; many have become prosperous businessmen, and have amassed great fortunes. Some forty years ago we often went to New York; and we were told at that time that Kuhn, Loeb & Co., Wall Street members, had an estimated wealth of fifteen billion dollars. We visited their offices a few times, and have no reason to doubt what we were told.
This same outfit, with some others, had at that time formed a charitable organization to establish incoming Jews in business by lending them the necessary funds. If they failed, the same thing was repeated. However, if they failed two times in a row, no more help was given them; they would then be on their own – although it seems this seldom happened. We knew a Gentile lady who worked in that office; and she said she was very happy in her job, that those Jews never discharged any one except for disloyalty.
THE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL
Chapter VIII of Parousia Vol. 3, pages 243-300, treat of this subject in some detail; and we now present some excerpts from those pages, having in mind that this is quite familiar to some of our readers, but not nearly to all of them. This offers Scriptural proof of their phenomenal rise under the reign of David and Solomon; their fall under Zedekiah in the Fall of 607 B.C.; their dispersion in A.D. 70; and predictions of their rise again. As we read, let us keep in mind that this book was begun in 1889 and put on the press in 1891 – a few years before the first Zionist congress was held in Basel. And when we consider the progress the Jews have made since that time, we can but offer grateful respect to the writer of Volume III.
“Among the relics of antiquity that have come down to our day, there is no other object of so great interest as the Jewish people. The searchers after ancient lore have untiringly questioned every inanimate object that could give a mite of historic or scientific information. Monuments, altars, tombs, relics of public and private edifices, paintings, sculptures, hieroglyphics and dead languages have all been appealed to; and some have even tried patiently to discover the line of actual truth that probably inspired the many fanciful traditions, legends, songs, etc., that have come floating down the centuries, in order to learn all that is possible to know of human origin, history and destiny. But a most interesting relic, and the one whose history can be most easily deciphered and understood, is the Jewish people. In them we have a monument of antiquity of inestimable value, upon which are recorded, in clearly legible characters, the origin, progress and final destiny of the whole human race – a living and intelligent witness of the gradual outworking of a wonderful purpose in human affairs, in exact conformity with the predictions of their Divinely inspired prophets and seers. (pp. 243-244)
“As a people they still have faith in God, though in their blindness and pride of heart they have stumbled over the humility of God’s appointed messenger for the world’s salvation; so that, instead of receiving Him, they crucified the Savior, the Lord of glory. And yet the Apostles and prophets show us that even this flagrant crime, to which their pride and self-will drove them, was not one which could never be forgiven them. Because of it, they have been punished, and that severely. When they condemned the just One and said, “His blood be upon us and upon our children,’ they little expected the fearful recompense which followed.
“Since then Israel has been a nation scattered and peeled. Driven as exiles from country to country, and from province to province, they have been deprived of almost every right and privilege which other men enjoyed. Rejecting Christianity, as well in its corrupted as in its pure form, they became the objects of the contempt and relentless persecution of the Church of Rome. (p. 246)
“Since the destruction of their temple and their dispersion, the sacrifices have been discontinued; but in most other respects the Mosaic requirements are yet observed among the Orthodox Jews. Their worship, as of old, consists in the reading of Scripture, prayer and praise. The second day of their feast of trumpets they read the account of Abraham’s offering of his son Isaac and God’s blessing to him and his seed. Then they blow the trumpet and pray that God would bring them to Jerusalem. (p. 249)
“Nor will the coming favor to Israel be exclusive. All believers in the covenant promises may share those returning favors with the natural seed, as during this Age any Jew who accepted Christ was eligible to the spiritual blessings and advantages offered during the Age. As only a small remnant believed in and accepted the gospel favors at the beginning, so, aside from the Jews, only a small number of mankind will be ready for the new laws and conditions of the Millennial Age, under the just administration of the glorified Lord and His glorified Church; hence, at first, few but Jews will be blessed under it.
“The Jew, long used to striving to do, and of trusting to works of obedience to the Law to secure for him God’s blessing, stumbled over the first feature of the Gospel Age, the remission of sins, without works, to every one that believeth in Jesus’ perfect work and all-sufficient sacrifice for sin. But the Jew’s respect for the Law will turn to his advantage in the dawn of the Millennial Age, and none will be more ready for the strict requirements and laws of that Age then he, after his blindness as to Christ and the value of His sacrifice for sins shall have passed away; for works are required after faith in Christ, though not accepted before. And the Jew, in accepting the love and favor of God and Christ, will not be so inclined to lose sight of God’s justice as many others of today. Others, on the contrary, will be blinded for a time and unready to recognize the rules of the Kingdom, in which justice will be laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet. (pp. 253-254)
TO THE JEW FIRST
“We see, then, that God’s prediction, that Israel (except the faithful few) would be blinded by their Law (Rom. 11:9), was fulfilled in a natural way; and also that His further prediction, that the favors and conditions of the Millennial Age will bless many of them more quickly than others, is also to come about in a perfectly natural way and to result from reasonable causes.
“So the Millennial favors will be to the Jew first, even as by reason of the covenants, etc., the Gospel favors were offered to them first. And so it shall be finally as Simeon prophesied: ‘This child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel.’ (Luke 2:34) And the time for raising up that nation, so long fallen from favor, is at hand. (p. 256)
“But let us guard against a too common mistake, made by many who see something of these promises, of supposing that the statements should be taken literally, which say: ‘After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle [house] of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up.’ ‘And the Lord shall give him the throne of his father David.’ ‘And David, my servant, shall be king over them.’ (Acts 15:16; Luke 1:32; Ezek. 37:24) While the literalness of the promised return of Israel to their own land, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem upon her own heaps, cannot be questioned, we may be equally confident that by the house and throne of David, not the literal stones, timbers, etc., are meant. The reestablishment of the house of David refers to the reestablishment of royalty and dominion in the hand of David’s posterity. Christ Jesus is the promised scion of David’s house, the heir of his throne; and when His authority begins to be established, that will be the beginning of raising up (permanent establishment) of the formerly temporary house or tabernacle of David, that was overthrown, and that for many centuries has lain in the dust. So, likewise, the ‘throne of David,’ upon which Messiah will sit, refers not to the wood, gold and ivory bench upon which David sat, but to the dignity, power and authority of office which he exercised. That authority, office or throne, which David occupied for some years, is to be filled on a much grander scale by Jehovah’s Anointed, our Lord Jesus.” (pp. 256-257)
SOME EVIL REVOLUTIONISMS
From the above quotations, it should be clear to any child that our beloved Pastor thoroughly believed and was in full accord with the teaching of St. Paul in Rom. 1:16 – “salvation is to the Jew first” – not only in the Great Salvation but also in the Common Salvation (Heb. 2:3 and Jude 3); and also with the Apostle John in John 4:22: “Salvation is of the Jews.” Thus, it becomes doubly noxious and pernicious to note that two organizations that were taught of him, and at one time believed what he taught, should now be substituting their own concocted errors for the Truth they learned of him.
In Isa. 2:3 we are told that “Out of Zion [the Christ Company in heaven – “Do ye know not the saints shall judge the world.” – 1 Cor. 6:2] shall go forth the law; and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem [the resurrected Worthies who will be the visible government here on earth – “princes in all the earth” – Psa. 45:16]” – who will be assisted by the faithful Orthodox Jews as missionaries, the “first” to receive the blessings of the New Covenant. (Jer. 31:31)
The two organizations mentioned above are the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement. The Witnesses now teach that the “great multitude” of Rev. 7:9 refers to their large crowd that is now working for them; that the Jews who do not accept them now will be destroyed forever in the approaching Armageddon. The context of Rev. 7 clearly shows that the great multitude will be a spiritual class – as Pastor Russell taught it. At one time the Witnesses believed this, too, so they are now revolutionizing against a truth they once taught. They now teach that their present devotees will not only be the earthly rulers, but will also be used to generate a new earthly population free from sin.
The LHMM does not go to the extreme of the Witnesses. They merely contend that their new converts will supersede the Jews; that instead of being “to the Jew first” it will be to their “Consecrated Epiphany Campers first,” which are now being added to their following. This is also in direct contradiction to the teaching of our Pastor, as well as to the teachings of Brother Paul S. L. Johnson, who was the founder and head of the LHMM. The LHMM, as well as the Witnesses, can find Scripture to “prove” their errors; but all teachers of error, past and present, have been able to pervert Scriptures to “prove” their false teachings.
Much more could be written on this subject, but we hope we have given sufficient to convince our readers of the truth on the matter. Thus we close with Amos 9:11,14,15:
“In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old. And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.” (Brother John J. Hoefle, Reprint 424, August 1991)