Harry Whittaker
Five Minutes To Twelve

3. The Sign Of Israel

The supreme achievement of our fathers in prophetic study was their confident expectation that before long there could be a large-scale return of Jews to the Land. The first sign of this came thirty years after the completion of Eureka, but another thirty or forty years were to pass before the movement really got going.

The fact of the Return is now so familiar that our younger generation are incapable of getting excited about it. Yet a careful combing through those heartening prophecies in Jeremiah -- such a lot of them -- can be guaranteed to quicken the pulse-rate of anyone who will shrug off his laziness and go painstakingly through them all.

On that foundation it is possible to build up a more detailed prophetic picture, and thus make certainty more certain.

The Lord's mini-parable of the fig-tree putting forth leaves is especially valuable. The shouting omission of fruit from that picture is almost deafening, especially when set alongside the trumpet-blast of Christs cursing of the luxuriant but fruitless fig tree, so obviously an acted parable of the barren religion of the Israel on which he fruitlessly sought to find fruit.

Today the state of Israel is just like that. The early diatribes of Isaiah were not only accurate pictures of the prophet's own day, they were also anticipations of an idealistic people gone to seed in our time.

They blithely call evil good and good evil. They emulate and surpass the sexual lewdness of "civilised" western nations, making highly efficient use of modem abortion methods that are so much better (yet so much like) the old style birth control - passing babies through the fire to Moloch. Observance of the wholesome precepts of Moses has become a decadent concentration on a scrupulous and elaborate separation of meat and milk, and without having a clue why they do it. Instead of gladly poring over the writings of their own prophets, they give themselves to the inane futilities of mediums-"wizards that peep and that mutter"-and especially to a schizophrenic enthusiasm for astrology-"the queen of heaven" and all that crush. They beat ploughshares into swords, spending a fantastic proportion of the national income in the process, while encouraging a never-widening social gap between prosperity and destitution, yet in their hearts they know how unsure their safety is: "Let us eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow another holocaust" (All this is cease lessly documented in the Jerusalem Post and Jewish Chronicle).

What a decline has set in from the fine ideals and unstinted dedication of an earlier generation of Zionists! Their very name is a prophecy, for Zion means ‘a dry place'.

Yet - can it be credited? - there are amongst us starry-eyed enthusiasts who see the present State of Israel as the beginning of the Kingdom of God. Is it possible to believe that the Messiah who wept over their stony-hearted indifference to himself will nevertheless gladly gather a people who today are at least as godless as their forefathers? If in the first century he wept over Jerusalem and pronounced its doom, is it likely that he will come next week and rejoice at the welcome it still stubbornly refuses to offer him?

The State of Israel, so attractive in so many ways, has nevertheless been founded on rejection of the God of its Fathers and on a sublime reliance on what can be achieved by human endeavour and cleverness, in other words, on justification by works such as Jews have always been good at. To this day it is their individual and national philosophy.

Happily there is another side to this picture. Jesus himself said: "Ye shall not see me until ye say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord". So if Messiah is ever to come to save his people, the seed of Abraham, there must be some sign of repentance first. Even Almighty God Himself cannot save people who stubbornly refuse to repent.

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