One hundred years ago today, Jerusalem was liberated during the first World War by the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) led by British forces. It was a significant event in the long journey towards recognizing and re-establishing the state of Israel in the native homeland of the Jews.
On 11th December 1917 British General Sir Edmund Allenby , commander of the EEF, entered Jerusalem without a shot being fired, becoming the first Christian to control the city in centuries, and being the first time since the Jewish Diaspora in the first century A.D. that a friendly power occupied the ancient biblical land of Israel. It was of immense global significance and British Prime Minister David Lloyd George said: “The moral effect of the victory was tremendously important. It was an earnest of the fulfilment of the Balfour Declaration.”
The biblical lands were liberated from hundreds of years of ineffective rule by the Ottoman empire, which did little towards the development of the land nor the welfare of its inhabitants. Under 20th century Israeli industry, the land has rejuvenated so that ‘the wilderness and the solitary place’ was glad at their arrival, ‘the desert rejoiced and blossomed as the rose’ Isa 35:1-2 and Isa 41:19.
This is a significant development in human history and in the biblical timeline. The apostle Paul’s missionary journeys were in Asia Minor, modern Turkey, out of which the Ottoman Empire grew from 1299, and under Suleiman the Magnificent 1520-1566 it extended to include the land of Canaan, until it was finally expelled by the Egypt Expeditionary Force in WWI, and the Ottoman Empire dissolved on 1/11/1922. Rev 16:12 has been interpreted historically as the Turkish empire in whose territories the great river Euphrates originated, reminding us that the Lord’s agenda is on course for the glorious global Millennium yet ahead of mankind.
My grandfather Andrew Boyd was with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force spying out an advanced position. He was in a foxhole when he heard a group of men talking and laughing. He turned to silence them, but just then a shell was heard whistling through the air and he was joined hurriedly in his foxhole by two fellow soldiers just as the shell exploded. He was about to give them a piece of mind when he noticed the epaulettes of a General on the shoulders of one of them. He realised that his unexpected guest was none less than General Allenby! So he spent half an hour in a foxhole with the leader of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, ensuring his safety to carry on the campaign and arrive with welcome acclaim in Jerusalem.
This was the beginning of the implementation of the Balfour Declaration published only the month before, leading to the British Mandate of Palestine and the re-establishing of the state of Israel in 1948 in fulfilment of biblical prophecy. The almost extinct Hebrew language, preserved as a liturgical language, was the first dead language to be recovered as a spoken language by the industry of modern Jews, stimulated and focused by the recovery of their ancient homeland.
As soon as the state of Israel was constituted, surrounding Arab nations attacked the new state in the first of six wars that sought to ‘wipe Israel off the face of the map’. They failed.
During the Six Day War in 1967, Israeli forces captured the old city of Jerusalem and flew the Israeli flag on the Temple mount for the first time on 6/6/1967 and West and East Jerusalem was reunited under Israeli control. On 5/6/2017 the US Senate passed a resolution by 90-0 “commemorating the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem” during the Six Day War in 1967.
In 1948, United States President Harry Truman was the first world leader to recognize the newly re-constituted State of Israel. Now, 50 years after the United Nations General Assembly gave international legitimacy and recognition to a Jewish state in the Jews’ natural homeland, and 100 years after the Balfour Declaration, President Donald Trump has marked the occasion, wittingly or not, by declaring on 6/12/2017 that the American embassy in Tel Aviv will move to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This has been the official US position since a bipartisan consensus under President Bill Clinton passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act 1995 by 93-5 votes in the US Senate and by 374-37 in the US House of Representatives.
The US Embassy was never moved to Jerusalem because of fears that it would destabilize peace talks, but after 22 years and a stalemate in the peace process, President Trump’s administration has decided to regularise the situation.
Immediately the leader of Hamas called for another Intifada, an uprising of rage. The world has not condemned this incitement to violence, treating it as ‘par for the course’, to such an extent that its anticipation is the reason for 22 years of delay. Appeasing aggression has a predictable outcome. Meanwhile, in civilised societies hate crime is under review. It is time that Palestinian hate-speech was put under the spot-light.
Hamas does not accept a two-state solution in the Middle East and its religious rage chimes with The Rage Against God in the secular philosophy of imposing one’s will on other people. It seems that everyone, other than the American President, is allowed to have an opinion on where the American embassy should be located in Israel. His nay-saying critics in the US have joined the bandwagon of critics by saying that he has obtained nothing in return, demonstrating that quid-pro-quo is their modus operandi. The idea of simply doing what is right is not good enough. Meanwhile the President of Israel Reuven Rivlin accepted it as a gift: “Thank you @POTUS @realDonaldTrump. There is no more fitting or beautiful gift, as we approach 70 years of the State of Israel’s independence. Jerusalem is not, and never will be, an obstacle to peace for those who want peace.”
The Palestinian president says the US has abdicated its role as mediator in the Middle East, the wish being the father of the thought, and another manifestation of the dogmatism in current secular politics.
Judging by the international reaction and the decision of the UN Security Council on 8/12/2017, it seems that the whole world is allowed to have an opinion on the location of US Embassy Israel but not the American President.
The international coalition against Israel, as manifested by the decisions of the United Nations, fulfils the prophesy in Zec 14:2 ‘I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle’.
The good news is that God is in control and these events are necessary and preparatory to the biblical Millennium yet ahead of mankind. The best has yet to come.
1 Mar 2018: Prince William and Kate intend to make the first UK Royal visit to Israel this summer. They will also visit Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. This is a new development, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called ‘historic’. ‘His story’ continues with God’s will being done on Earth, and we look forward to the time when the Prince of peace will be welcomed in Israel as King of kings and Lord of lords.