The Palestine Settlement

In regard to the settlement of the Palestine question, Dr. Weissmann, Head of the Zionist organization, has said: "Two decisions have been reached which are of the utmost importance; the first is the embodiment of the Balfour declaration regarding Palestine in the Treaty, thus giving it International sanction. We have always considered Mr. Balfour's declaration as the charter of our liberty, and the International sanction is a turning point in Jewish history. The two decisions are: That the British Government, as the mandatory power in Palestine, has agreed that the civil administration shall be set up in Palestine immediately, to carry the Balfour declaration into effect. We are most anxious to begin reconstruction, for the last two years in Palestine have brought about general demoralization. This painful period is over, and the beginning of reconstruction work will be held both by Jews and by Arabs as delivery from the nightmare."

The news of this San Remo decision has caused great rejoicings in Zionist circles. There was a great gathering of Jews in London, the Union Jack and the Zionist banner were hung out at the window, and it was noteworthy that the Hatikvah, the so-called Jewish national anthem, was not sung. Hatikvah means the "Hope," and it was agreed that the day of hope had now passed into the day of reality. At another meeting in London, Dr. Maxnordau said: "Now a glorious ray of light had been shed upon their sorrow, the dream of their lives had become true. Israel is again a nation amongst nations. For two thousand years we have been severed from our own land, now we are going to return to it."

These Jewish rejoicings at the decision of the Allies to affirm and carry out the Balfour declaration, bring very forcibly to our minds the 18th chapter of Isaiah. In that chapter a nation is addressed as the land shadowing with wings. The "Woe," which is the first verse of the chapter, should be "Ho," and the land which is addressed is one that has given protection to the Jewish people. For this surely is the meaning of "shadowing with wings." It is a land that lies beyond the rivers of Cush, that is, beyond the Nile and the Euphrates. These rivers form the boundaries of two great nations that had been troublers of Israel, and nations upon which Israel had leaned on different occasions, seeking the aid of one against the other, and vice versa. The land in this chapter lies beyond these rivers, it is a distant land which espouses the cause of Israel. There seems little doubt that Britain is the land in question, for what land sendeth more ambassadors across the sea than Britain? and what land has been more earnest in its desire to help the Jews — "a nation scattered and peeled, terrible from their beginning, hitherto. A nation meted out and trodden down whose land the rivers (that is, great armies passing through) have spoiled?" But the question is: Are the hopes of the Jewish nations to be realized? and the glowing prophecies of the Old Testament Scriptures which speak of their peace and blessing to be fulfilled? "No!" The 18th chapter of Isaiah is very emphatic as to this, and the reason why these prophecies are not to be fulfilled at present is because these Jews about whom the prophecies are are returning to their land without any reference to their Messiah or their God.

They are placing great confidence in the power of the nation that has befriended them, and in their own wealth and energy, which they say will begin to flow towards Palestine to be devoted to the development of the country. But God and Christ are left out of their thoughts, and there can be no prosperity either to the individual or the nation that does that; least of all to the Jews, who can have no blessing in the land given to their fathers apart from their Messiah. So we read in Isaiah 18, that though all the world is to take notice of the return of the Jews to Palestine, yet it will not prosper. This enterprise, while fulfilling the Word of God, which foresaw and foretold that the people would thus go back to Palestine, will not have the blessing of God, for the Jews and all nations have to learn that there is no salvation in any name but the name of JESUS. It all promises well, yet all will result in bitter disappointment. How graphically described is this in the 18th chapter of Isaiah.

"Before the harvest," we read, "when the bud is perfect and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, He shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks and take away and cut down the branches. They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountains and to the beasts of the earth, and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them." There are rumblings of this in the enmity shown by some of the Arabs against the Jews, but that of which that verse speaks is the attacks made upon them by great and powerful foes. It describes the great tribulation through which they have yet to pass. All that they have passed through hitherto, will be forgotten in the horror of that tribulation, called Jacob's Trouble. But God has blessing in store for them and He will bring it about in His own way. That way is described by the Prophet Zechariah, for they are to see their Messiah whom once they pierced, and to Him they shall say: "What are these wounds in Thy hands?" Then He shall answer, "Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends." God will pour the spirit of grace and supplication upon them, and as they look upon Him Whom they pierced, they shall mourn for Him as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him as one for his first-born. It is when their eyes are opened to see their own sin in their long rejection of their one and only Saviour, that they shall see that His wounds have opened a fountain for sin and uncleanness, and they shall exclaim, "This is our God for Whom we have waited; He shall save us." Then the last verse of Isaiah 18 shall be fulfilled. "In that time shall a present be brought unto the Lord of hosts, of a people scattered and peeled, whose land the rivers have spoiled to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the Mount Zion."