(Continued from No. 475A, May 1996)
PASTOR RUSSELL: I will read in your hearing from the Holy Scriptures, Leeser’s translation, the Hebrew version:
Psalms 102:14‑16: “Thou shalt arise, 0 Lord; for thou wilt have mercy upon Zion; for it is time to favor her, for the appointed time has come. For thy servants hold dear her stones, and her very dust they cherish. Then shall nations fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of earth thy glory.”
Mal. 3:1,5,6,7: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall clear out the way before me; and suddenly will come to his temple the Lord, whom ye seek; and the messenger of the covenant, whom ye desire; for, behold, he is coming, saith the Lord of hosts; and I will come near unto you to hold judgement; and I will be a swift witness... For I the Lord – I have not changed; and ye sons of Jacob – ye have not ceased to be. From the days of your fathers did ye depart from my statutes, and did not keep them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.”
Ezekiel 16:60‑63: “Nevertheless will I indeed remember my covenant with thee in the day of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. And thou shalt then remember thy ways, and be confounded, when thou receivest thy sisters, both those that are older than thou and younger than thou; and I will give them unto thee for daughters, though not because thou wast faithful to the covenant. And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: in order that thou mayest remember, and feel ashamed and never open thy mouth any more because of thy confusion, when I forgive thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord Eternal.”
Jeremiah 31:31‑37: “Behold, days are coming, saith the Lord, when I will make with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah a new covenant.
“Not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day that I took hold of them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they have broken, although I was become their husband, saith the Lord.
“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, saith the Lord, I will place my law in their inward parts, and upon their hearts will I write it; and I will be unto them for a God and they shall be unto me for a people.
“And they shall not teach any more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them even unto their greatest, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I not remember any more.
“Thus hath said the Lord who bestoweth the sun for a light by day, the ordinance of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, who stirreth up the sea that its waves roar. The Lord of hosts is his name.
“If these ordinances ever depart from before me, saith the Lord, then also shall the seed of Israel cease from being a nation before me during all time.
“Thus hath said the Lord, If the heavens can be measured above, and the foundations of the earth be searched out beneath, then also will I reject all the seed of Israel, for all that they have done, saith the Lord.”
Isaiah 40:1,2: “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. “Speak ye (comfort) to the heart of Jerusalem, and call out unto her, that her time of sorrow is accomplished, that her iniquity is atoned for; for she hath received from the hand of the Lord double for all her sins.”
My Jewish Friends And Others: I have pleasure in being before you today. I am here because of your invitation, for which I thank you. I am pleased to have an opportunity of speaking to my Jewish friends and neighbors in this city. All the more so because I believe that some, in the name of Christ, have dishonored his name in various persecutions against your race.
I cannot be surprised, my dear friends, that after centuries of persecution you should feel that it would be almost a miracle if you should hear a Christian speaking the words of our text to the Jews, in defense of the Jews. I am pleased, therefore, to have this opportunity of saying that I have no sympathy whatever with the conduct of the Russians, nor with the demoniacal conduct of the so‑called Christians of Roumania. We read, too, of the fact recently that in Roumania there was a terrible scene enacted when so‑called Christians dug up the dead of the Jews, brought their carcasses and laid them on the doorsteps. Dear friends, this is not properly attributive to the Christianity which I stand for. I am glad that I stand for no such misrepresentation of the One whom I recognize as my Creator, as my Master, and one who is of your race.
Nothing in his Word ever directed his followers to thus misrepresent the principles of righteousness, justice. I should like in one word to tell you the very reason why there is such conduct on the part of some who have named the name of Christ. It is this: That during the period we call the Dark Ages, when ignorance was prevalent throughout the civilized world, various false theories and doctrines, quite contrary to the Law of Moses, quite contrary to the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles, were brought in. So we find that today the name of Christ is attached to various theories which you and I and all Christian peoples recognize as sinful and wrong and dishonest. By all Christian peoples I mean the Christian people in general whom you meet in this land of liberty; a very different view, you will notice, from that held by Christians of Russia and Roumania and some other parts.
The whole world is swayed by the power of the mind. When a man’s mind is disarranged his conduct will be in harmony with the disarrangement. What wild and unreasonable things are often done by the insane because the mind has gone wrong. I am not charging the Christians in the Dark Ages with these things, but I am charging it, dear friends, to that which the Scriptures call “Doctrines of Devils,” promulgated in the name of Christianity, and some of those doctrines of devils are very devilish indeed. One of these doctrines is what I hold responsible for all the various injustices that have been done to your race – the doctrine that our Heavenly Father, when he created the race, also made a great place of eternal torment and purposed that the great proportion of these human creatures whom he made should be cast into this eternal torture. All of this we believe to be very dishonoring to God, and it is because of this wrong theory respecting God and his character and his purposes toward the children of men that the world has witnessed such terrible persecution of the Jews – and all done in the name of love.
It is not surprising at all that practically all Christian people believe that every Jew is going to eternal torment. So I say, with the thought before their minds that the great Creator has damned every Jew to eternal torment, is it any wonder that those who believe such a thing should act like demons? It is no wonder! A man is bound to be conscientious and we must admit that these people are acting according to their consciences, but if a man is conscientious he will act according to his light or according to his darkness, and this gross darkness which came upon the civilized world 1,000 years ago, from which we have scarcely emerged, is responsible for the misrepresentation of the Almighty’s character, and is responsible for the persecution of the Jews. Have we not been told that every man should seek to be in harmony with and should follow the example of his God! Whoever, therefore, has a devilish conception of God will have a devilish form of conduct. And theoretically that has come upon Christian people who are slowly emerging from the gross errors of the Dark Ages. Many errors still cling to them; for instance, the doctrine of eternal torment. These Christian people believe this to be the doctrine of the Bible, and I thought the same. I also thought that I was getting it from the Bible, but I found out differently, my dear friends. I found out that I had been taking the traditions and creeds of men, and I had been told that these creeds fairly represented the Word of God, and under the impulse of the refusal of my mind to follow such a leading I became a kind of an unbeliever, totally rejecting both the Old and the New Testaments; and I know, therefore, how to sympathize with those who are called Higher Critics. I know how to sympathize with those who feel that there is no real intelligence in the Bible.
But, dear friends, after having had this experience, by God’s grace I came back to the Bible itself and made an examination along its own lines, and today I am a believer in not merely the New Testament, but in the Old Testament also. I have the opinion that both Jews and Christians have to a large extent neglected the intelligent study of the Word of God and I would like not only to awaken all the Christians – men and women – to study the Bible, but I would also like to awaken all the Jewish people to a study of the Word of God, a study of your own Scriptures, which contain the most wonderful message. They explain all the affairs pertaining to your people.
After making a thorough study of the prophecies I found the whole picture of the world there, and I thank God so often for these prophecies! They are not yet fulfilled. Certain portions of them have been fulfilled; and then there are other things that God has for the Jews and for the Gentiles.
To my understanding, God has two salvations – a special salvation, which is only for a mere handful – merely a saintly few, and as soon as the saintly few have been selected as the body of the Great Messiah he will fulfill all the glorious things the Jews have been hoping for, which you and I have been hoping for, and which the whole world has been hoping for. Do we not all see the need of a great Deliverer for the Jew; do we not see the need of a great deliverer for the whole world; do we not see that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together, waiting, waiting for your Messiah, my Messiah, for the Messiah God has promised, the Messiah of the whole world?
When we come to see what our God is doing, then there is a great sympathetic bond I believe between every intelligent Jew and every intelligent Christian. We have one God, the Father of all, and we have one hope in his glorious plan, and the glorious hope of this plan is all centered in the Messiah that has been promised to the Jews for these 3,500 years since the day of Abraham. God, foreknowing what he would do for the blessing of the world, declared in advance to Abraham that through his seed all the families of the earth would be blessed.
He intimates that there would be two kinds of Abraham’s seed – he would have a heavenly and he would have an earthly seed. Remember how in the Scriptures he said, Thy seed shall be as the stars of heaven and also as the sands of the seashore. These two seeds eventually shall bless the world. As soon as the heavenly seed shall be completed – and we believe that that time is near at hand now – then the blessing of God will begin to come to his earthly seed. And what do we see, my dear friends? Do you see the condition in which we are as a race? Do you see the sickness and weakness of the world of mankind today? Do you realize that sin is the very cause of all this, and do you know that God has declared, as I have read in your hearing, that the time is coming when he will blot out all those things which are the results of sin? You and I, and all mankind, are suffering from these things and they will all pass away. Does this not mean that in due time the wilderness shall blossom as the rose, the solitary place shall be glad for them, the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep and none will need say to his neighbor, Know the Lord? We have not had that time yet! It is still in the future. That is the glorious promise of God which Israel is looking forward to if they are looking in the right direction; Christians are also looking forward to this, and all nations look forward to it.
As I have read, not only is the blessing to come to Israel but also to the Gentiles. That is my understanding, dear friends, of what the Bible teaches. Let us look for the great antitypical Moses, this great antitypical David, this great antitypical Melchizedek; this great one that is mentioned by Daniel, the prophet, when he said: Then shall Michael (the archangel) stand up (assume control) and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time, and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. God is making a record of those who are true Jews; he has a book; he has an account, and you and I realize that. We know we are not living here in vain. You and I believe that the Great One who created us has something more in store for us than the brute beast. What is that glorious thing that he has provided?
Our Scripture tells us that under this new regime which shall be inaugurated when Michael shall take control, Israel will be the first to be blessed, as God said in the Scriptures which I have read in your hearing. It shall come to pass as the Lord God has said. After those days I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant I made with them when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, but a new covenant, like the former, but more glorious. As the first covenant had a mediator so this new covenant will have a mediator, a better mediator. As Moses led the people on the right way, so also will the antitype of Abraham, Isaac, and Moses, the greater one than Moses, do. There cometh a greater one than Moses. Now this one will be the one through whom all the promises of God will come to Israel, and through Israel to all men.
To my understanding, dear friends, the Scriptures are very clear in their statement that this New Covenant will be for Israel only and that all the nations of the world, if they desire to receive the blessings of that covenant, must come into Israel, so that during the reign of Messiah, which will be for 1,000 years, all nations will be pressing into it that they may become members of Israel, and so the nations will eventually come to be a part of Israel, as the Scriptures say – the seed of Abraham, like the sands of the seashore filling the whole earth – and every one who will not become an Israelite, who will not come into harmony with God, with that divine law, with the New Covenant, will be cut off in the Second Death. The Scriptures say that at the end of Messiah’s reign every one will be perfect; all will be of the seed of Abraham, and his seed shall then be as the stars of heaven and as the sands of the seashore. But during his reign every one who will not hear that prophet will be destroyed from among the people.
Then, you inquire, why is it that God has so long delayed? Well, my dear brother, whether I can make the matter clear to you or not, it is a fact we all recognize, that he has delayed. And during this delay of now more than 3,500 years from the time that promise was made to Abraham, from the time God took his oath, bound himself to the blessing of all the families of the earth, and bound himself that the blessing should come through Abraham’s seed – from that day to this, in all 3,500 years, your faith as a people has not failed. And in my estimation it is one of the most miraculous things in the world today to see the faith of Israel as a people. I esteem it, my dear friends, to be a miracle itself. No other country has ever done anything like this. No other nation is the seed of Abraham, as God has revealed this matter.
God gave an illustration of the delay, you remember. The covenant made to Abraham was made a long, long time before Isaac was born, and so God’s promises to Israel, natural Israel, the seed of Abraham, have been long deferred, and to our understanding in a certain way that we may not have time to fully discuss this afternoon. Our thought is that now God’s time has come, as we read in Psalms 102: “To favor Zion, for the appointed time is come.” Do you believe that he did found your nation, and that he had a purpose in respect to that founding? Do you believe the promises? Do you believe that the Lord’s promises will yet be fulfilled? Do you believe that he is able to do so? My dear friends, I am afraid that some of the Jews are getting weak in their faith respecting the promises of God. God’s purposes ripen slowly, but if the Scriptures are true, and we have a right understanding, Messiah will very shortly be manifested in power and great glory, not visible to men, but as a spirit being, invisible to men, as Daniel described, you remember: Who as God – one like unto God, with power. Yes, my dear friends, with power; with power through Israel to fulfill all the glorious promises God made to Abraham and confirmed to Isaac and to Jacob.
Let me give you an idea of one way in which I think of this matter. I refresh your minds respecting the history of Israel; how after God dealt with your people through judges, he gave them kings, and the name of the last king you remember was Zedekiah. Upon Zedekiah God pronounced a great sentence which has since gone into effect. Let me remind you of the words of the Prophet addressing Zedekiah, the last king of the Jews. I understand about Maccabeus, king of the Maccabees, but the Maccabees were not Jews. God has promised his blessing to Israel and Judah. Now I will quote you the words of the Prophet Ezekiel, 21:25:
“And thou profane and wicked prince, whose time has come that iniquity shall have an end. Thus saith the Lord God: Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.” Who is this one that is coming? Who is this one that is to take the throne of David? Who is this one that is to be the successor to Zedekiah? Did God not promise to David “the sure mercies of David,” that of the fruit of his loins he would raise up this one? This was not fulfilled at that time. It must belong to some future time because the sure mercies of David were pointed to after that time and they have not yet been fulfilled. That great Messiah is not a man, for no earthly being is able to accomplish for Israel, and through Israel for the world, the wonderful things which God has declared this Messiah shall accomplish. He is to bless all the families of the earth – not merely those living at that time, but also all those who have gone down into the sleep of death. That is the time of which Daniel speaks, that in this day many who sleep in the dust of the earth shall come forth; and some shall shine as stars in the firmament.
Now, my dear friends, a certain period of time from the time Zedekiah lost his crown is measured all the way down. What do we find for this measurement in the Word of God, in the Holy Scriptures? Through the Prophet, God has given a measure which reaches from Zedekiah, from the time his crown was taken away to the time that it would be restored. You remember how it was at the time Israel was discarded from divine favor as a nation – not the people but as a nation; the crown was taken away from them as a nation, was removed, to be no more until the Messiah, but still they would continue to be God’s people. This shows the difference between God’s people and God’s nation. But at the time the crown was removed from the brow of the king of Judah, a lease of power was given to the Gentiles.
I remind you that Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, was the one who took Zedekiah prisoner. I remind you that he had a wonderful dream and Daniel the Prophet was there and interpreted the dream. I remind you what the dream was; that he saw a great image – head of gold, breast of silver, belly and thighs of brass, and legs of iron, and the feet of iron and clay mixed. I remind you that Daniel gave an inspired interpretation of that dream. Daniel said that Babylon was the first, or head of gold; that after Babylon would arise another kingdom, a universal kingdom; and then a third, and then a fourth. You remember who these are: First, Babylon; second, Medo‑Persia; third, Greece; fourth, Rome. Rome came in fourth and was represented by the legs of iron – the strongest empire the world has ever known. Since the Roman empire departed as an empire, what do we have? Papal Rome. This was shown in the image by the feet of iron and clay mixed, the feet being part of iron and part of clay; the iron representing the Roman or civil power and the clay the religious influences or addition to the Roman civil power. So these ten toes seem to indicate also the kings of Europe of the present time, for they have been the successors and their empires are more or less of religious and civil power combined; as for instance, the kingdom of England is not merely a civil but also a religious monarchy, and so with the other monarchies in Europe. They have the religious feature represented in the clay and the civil power represented in the iron. This is a picture of the whole world and all the empires of earth to whom God gave a lease of power more than 2,000 years ago.
We see how this has been fulfilled. What will follow this? Is this great image to stand forever? NO! Was Babylon to last forever? No, it was cast away and was succeeded by Medo‑Persia. Did it last forever? No, it was followed by Greece. Greece was followed by the Roman empire. Did it last forever? No, it merged into Papal Rome. What about all this? What was the end of this prophecy of Daniel? The king beheld in his vision and a stone was cut out from the mountain without hands and smote the image – Where? In Nebuchadnezzar days, the head? No. In the Medo‑Persia days? No. Where? In the feet; smote the image in the feet at the end of the Gentile times. If you and I see it that way then we must see that we are now somewhere at the time of the feet and we should expect that the time for the smiting of the image in the feet by the stone would be near.
You remember the result; that the stone which smote the image in the feet accomplished the complete destruction of the Gentile empire. The great image went to pieces and the wind carried it away; there was no place found for it. And the stone became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. And Daniel’s interpretation of that stone is that it represented the Kingdom of God. He is pointing out how the dominion was taken away from Zedekiah and given to Nebuchadnezzar, and to all of his successors, and that the kingdom power would revert to Israel. Messiah, the head of Israel, will become the great stone that will eventually be the kingdom which will fill the whole earth, and bless the whole world. Is that a plain picture? I hold that it is. Is it a far‑fetched interpretation? I hold that it is not. I hold that there is no other interpretation possible; we must either believe that or give up the whole matter. If we see that the first part has been fulfilled in the past, does it not confirm Daniel’s prophecy to you and to me, and to as many as have ears to hear, that the latter part is just as sure of fulfillment as the first part?
Another part of this prophecy shows us that there were seven times determined upon this great people. What is a time? A time is a year. Seven times, seven years. Not literal years. More than literal years. There is a symbolical year used in prophecy which is reckoned on the basis of a lunar year; twelve months of thirty days each, or 360 days – each day representing a year. One symbolical year, therefore, would represent 360 years. How many would be represented in seven times? I answer seven times 360 years would be 2,520 years. And if we measure those 2,520 years from the time that God took away the diadem from Zedekiah and gave a lease of power to the Gentiles, what do we find? We find the 2,520 years will soon expire. And what would that mean? That would mean the time to restore Zion has come, and that, my dear friends, is part of my message to the Jews.
You have suffered persecution for centuries; God has surely promised you a blessing, and the time of fulfillment is near, and the blessing that will come upon you is so much greater than you have ever dreamed of that we are astonished to see the grace of our God and the wonderful lengths and breadths of his mighty plan.
The reason that you and I have been inclined to go after infidelity and to reject the Bible is that we never saw the plan of God as there outlined; never appreciated its wonderful promises, never appreciated the fact that God will bless every member of our race. “In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed,” and that includes the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of his power, and the knowledge of his guidance, and the knowledge of the blessing that will come through the great Mediator of the New Covenant.
Well, how would we measure this period of time? You might say you would count it a few years sooner, etc., but I will tell you how I measure it. I find that the year of Zedekiah is the year 606 which we call in our common reckoning BC I forget how it is spoken of by the Jews, or the word that they use. 606 years BC and 1914 years AD will make what? 2,520 years. What do you see? You see forces at work today that the world has never before seen; every intelligent man sees something wonderful that he does not understand. We hold that the only proper conception of the things that are happening in your day and mine are seen only from the divine standpoint. From God’s Word we can know something of what the commotion of our day signifies. Can any deny that we have commotion in our day? That we have wonderful things in our day? That ours is a most wonderful day, for electricity, steam and all the wonderful inventions that come along these lines? How should we understand these things?
Some tell us these are all a result of our having large heads; that we are brainier than any people who have ever lived on the earth. Is this true? As far as you are concerned, and I know as far as I am concerned, you and I recognize great characters of the past that were greater than any of our day. Is it not true that Moses has not today his equal in the world as a law‑giver? Is it not true that David could touch more hearts than any other poet in the world? Surely! Shall we say, then, dear friends, that all this great blessing of our day is merely the result of ours being a “brain age” and that we are so brainy today? Let us take the Scriptures for it, let us take the words of the prophet for it, that this is the “day of preparation.” Preparation of whom? Messiah. That is what we have been praying for, for Messiah and for the great kingdom of God; for the blessing that God has declared shall come through the seed of Abraham to all the families of the earth. Do you not see that these are the beginning of the blessing? My understanding from the Bible is that the blessings which you and I are enjoying today, the most wonderful blessings the world has ever known, are only the beginnings of God’s blessings. I thank God that the great blessing is thus coming to all people and tongues. I thank God we have this hope of Messiah.
As an illustration, the one who has been instrumental in bringing forward many wonderful things from electricity, Mr. Edison, says himself that he has no great intelligence on the subject of electricity or any other subject; he himself tells that he merely stumbled into these things. The simple interpretation is that God’s time has come for the lifting of the veil of ignorance that has been in the world, and therefore the blessing of the Lord is coming out here and there.
I remind you of your Jubilee system, inaugurated by Moses; how it pointed forward to a great time of blessing. You remember under the jubilee arrangement that on the fiftieth year every one should again receive what had been lost; everything should go back in accordance with the original arrangement. What did that mean? I agree with you that it was a very good law; I agree with you that it was a very simple law put into operation on a very similar scale to our present bankruptcy law; it was typical of something in the future, typical of a great rest day.
Do you not as Jews hold to the promise of the great period of Messiah’s Kingdom when the great Sabbath of rest and peace will come to all the world? I understand that you do. I certainly do. Now this great Sabbath year, this great Jubilee, is another picture of the great day to come, Messiah’s reign, his Kingdom, the restitution spoken of, with every man restored to his former estate – that which was lost. Do you know that our Scriptures, your holy Scriptures, read that God created man not in an imperfect condition but in his own image, in his own likeness, perfect morally, perfect in mentality? Do you agree with me that the Scriptures, your Scriptures, show that so perfect, so absolutely perfect was Adam that even when the sentence of death came upon him he did not crumble into dust in a few years, but for 930 years he was going down into death? As we mark the history of the world coming down to us we find that the average of human life is only about 35 years. In our day we have come down to the very limit almost, and I have noticed within a week the statements of some, an English physician of prominence, and an American physician of prominence, and they both reached about the same conclusion, that at the present rate of the mental decline of the human family, 268 years more would make everybody insane. The world is becoming insane so rapidly that these gentlemen figured out that we would all be insane in 268 years. What does this mean? A great fall of our race, in the strength of mind, in the strength of body, which perhaps some of you have discovered already. Many of my friends have told me that they had a nervous breakdown. That means that none of us is equal to the strain.
Now, my dear friends, if you have the Bible standpoint that God created our first parents in his own image and likeness, and that sin came upon them, and that mentally, morally and physically we have fallen – if we have this before our minds, and then the great Jubilee, we see that man will be restored to his former estate – to all that he lost. That would be restitution according to the Bible. Now I hold, that, we either stand for God and the Bible or we stand against it. I stand for the Bible, and the Bible stands for Israel, and therefore I stand for Israel; and the Bible tells of restitution; of Divine favor, and therefore I proclaim it. I am glad, therefore, of having this opportunity of addressing so many of the Jewish people here and of pointing them to their own Scriptures as teaching these things, telling of the good things God has in reservation for you.
What, in view of this, is the lesson of the hour? It is this, my dear friends: That we should seek justice, and not merely seek the land of Palestine. I may say here that it is not at all my conception of the Bible teaching that the eight millions of Jews in the world are going to Palestine, even though it has been estimated that, under most favorable conditions, the land could support more than twice that many. It is my thought that some of your most earnest and saintly people will go to Palestine quickly, and that the rejuvenation there will be astonishing to the world. We have no thought whatever that it is God’s plan respecting the Jews that all Jews will return to Palestine, but the time has come when it is the duty of every Jew who is not going to Palestine personally, to give his sympathy, to do all in his power to help every Jew that does desire to go there, and should be specially desirous of assisting financially those of the Jews who are now suffering in Russia, helping them back to Palestine, and establishing there great enterprises. (Applause.)
In regard to your Zionistic ideas, I believe the due time, the set time, as our text says, to remember Zion has come; therefore God raised up for you a certain great leader, Dr. Herzl. Through his efforts the attention of the whole world has been attracted to Palestine, and to the Jews, and the original covenant. This I understand was a political move – not religious in any sense of the word – for the benefit of the Jews living in places where they suffered persecutions. It was also with a certain justifiable national pride that Israel might have a home like other people, and national distinction, and this would give them a share and a proper recognition by the world of the right of a government, and the right to share with others, as members, in the blessings belonging to the human family; that was the original proposition, and it has done a great deal. It is not necessary for me to tell you that the Zionist movement has reached practically its limit, that you have gone nearly as far along that line as you can go. What then? Should you feel discouraged? I say that this is NOT the time for discouragement. This is the very time for encouragement! (Applause.)
We have come to the very time, dear friends, when that realization is to come in, when the promises given in the Word of God to your race are about to take hold upon you as a people and fire your hearts as never before. They say, as some have said to me, Pastor Russell, those who are interested in the Zionist movement are only the poor. The rich of our people do not seem to be interested in it at all. I know nothing of that matter, dear friends, but I have this to say. If my understanding of the matter is right, the voice of Moses is going to the rich, the leaders of the Jewish people; the very foundation of your national character is laid in your religion. And whatever touches your religion, and your religious sentiments, and your faith in God, and your faith in the promises made to Abraham, that is going to stir you as a nation as nothing else has ever stirred you. I believe that we have come to the time, the set time, in which God will restore Zion, and that this fulfillment of Isaiah 40:1,2 is true: “Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God, speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, Cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, for she hath received of the Lord double for all her sins” – a second portion for all her sins, and a blessing must immediately follow. We are in that very time, dear friends, to my understanding. How largely this will move the hearts of all, and that quickly!
If I rightly understand your prophecies – God’s prophecies which you recognize – they indicate that Jacob’s trouble is not over yet, that this trouble will still be with you, and that you will have more persecution and not merely in Russia, not merely in Roumania; I do not know, my dear friends, whether it will extend to this country or not; but doubtless it will be done also in the name of Christ – and I am sorry for that fact. It is sad indeed to be obliged to admit that these tribulations will probably come to you from professed Christians. How ashamed I feel of those who thus dishonor the name and the teachings of my Master, I cannot find words to express!
They are deluded. They have misunderstood the Teacher whom they profess to follow. Their thought is that God will torment eternally all who do not profess the name of Christ. Controlled by delusion, they are serving the great Adversary and dishonoring Jesus. At the same time God has in these trying experiences of your people a purpose – to develop your people, and to test your faith, and to keep you together as a people and make you a homogenous people. But as the trials and difficulties of the patriarch Joseph were God’s providences to lead him on to influence and power and honor, so will all these experiences and persecutions work blessings for your race and tend to drive them out of their present satisfaction and make them long for home – for Palestine. These experiences, in connection with the voice of the prophets, which will henceforth more and more ring in your ears, will be the providences of God to accomplish for you more along the lines of Zionism than personal pride and national patriotism. There is no other race that shows such persistency as the Jewish people, and this is all centered upon the religious sentiment, faith in the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, faith in the promises of God that in the seed of Abraham all the families of the earth will be blessed; and as those persecutions come and as the great time of trouble shall come upon all the world – never mind whether it be in 1916 or not; any way that you can interpret that prophecy, no matter which way you do it, you cannot land very far from 1915 to 1916 – God’s promise will be fulfilled. In every direction in the world today, my dear friends, we see signs of great trouble, not only financial, but also capital and labor storms, and the people and the governments and the religious systems of the world will all be in conflict according to the Scriptures. I remind you of Daniel 12:1, which marks our day, declaring: “At that time shall Michael [the antitype of Michael, one like as God] stand up, the great Prince [Messiah].” Then what? “And there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation,” no, nor ever will be again. “At that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.”
My dear friends, when that time of trouble comes over Christendom, over the civilized world, a great many of the wealthy Hebrews will want a place of safety and I think that place will be Palestine. The Bible clearly indicates to my mind that many wealthy Jews will go back to Palestine. The Scriptures clearly show that the end of Jacob’s trouble will take place right in Jerusalem; the persecution from the civilized world will drive them there and that finally the time of Jacob’s trouble will come; then, as the Lord declares, in the midst of that trouble he will reveal himself, not as a man, but manifest his Divine power, as the prophet declares: “The Lord will go forth and fight for you as he fought for you in the day of battle,” pointing back to the time when God fought for the Jewish people. In that day he will fight for Israel as in the day of battle. Then there will be a manifestation of his kingly power, and then the blessing will begin, and at that time also will appear, according to the Scriptures, your ancient Worthies, your saintly ones, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David – all the holy Prophets. These will not appear as imperfect men when they come because they have demonstrated their worthiness and faith in God, but will appear as perfect men, and of these it is written, you will remember, by one of the prophets: “Instead of thy fathers they shall be thy children,” and Messiah shall be made prince over all the earth; all the people of the world will be under this government; it will be a kingly government, my dear friends. You remember the great King of Israel will be the Messiah on the heavenly plane, invisible to man, the Prince of Light as supplanting Satan, the Prince of Darkness, and this great one will have the earthly government; your ancient Worthies, your saintly ones, will be princes in all the earth, perfect as men, and under the direction and guidance of the heavenly Messiah they shall be rulers amongst men, as the Scriptures declare: “I will restore thy judges and counselors as at the first.” You remember he gave them a counselor, a law‑giver in Moses and not a king, and so this represents a kind of a republic, if you please – not a real republic, but a theocracy. God will be the great one, Messiah will be his great representative to bring righteousness and peace and blessing to all the earth, and lift up mankind from the degradation and weakness and imperfection of sin, and Messiah will operate through these saintly ones of the past, to bless not only Israel, but through Israel to bless all mankind, all the families of the earth.
I thank God, my dear friends, for such a glorious hope, and I suggest to you all that you should come to the point where you will be seeking the Lord, for he says: “I will pour upon them the spirit of prayer and of supplication.” I would that all Jews were in the attitude of prayer and supplication toward God and looking for the fulfillment of all the prophecies which God has written for our admonition and encouragement. Your desires should be more and more for God and righteousness and you should be seeking to do those things pleasing to him, and to cultivate those elements of character without which no one could secure a place in the great institution that is to bless the world. Dear friends, God will not receive a man merely because he is a Jew. There must be something in you, something specially in harmony with the divine character, or he will not use you. I think one thing God will be specially pleased with in respect to Israel is faith, faith in God, faith in his promises, and I do tell you that I love and appreciate the faith that has been manifested by Israel for these 3,500 years, and I believe Almighty God is very much pleased with that faith. We see, according to the Scriptures, that this was the very quality in Abraham which made him specially pleasing to God, and he was called a friend of God, and so then the Jews who would be in harmony with God must be men of faith and not faith without action, but faith and action, and your action will be in accord with your faith in the glorious promises which God has made in the Bible.
It has been suggested, and I think it a very good plan, my dear friends, that we close this service by the singing of a hymn which I understand you are well acquainted with.
So long the ancient fires blaze
In ev’ry staunch Jewish soul,
And Eastward we longing gaze
Toward Zion, beloved goal‑
Not lost is our hope of old,
Graven in our hearts so deep,
To return to that land foretold,
Where our loved sires sleep.
While yet our eyes with quenchless tears
Yearn for our one‑time land,
And by graves of sleeping seers
Our hosts resolve to stand‑
Not lost is our hope of old, etc.
Thrills yet every brave Jewish heart
With love of flag and land,
Hope from us shall ne’er depart
Of our return – a triumphant band‑
Not lost is our hope of old, etc.