The reestablishment of the State of Israel in 1948 was a crowning achievement for the Zionist movement of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Among the Zionists were many Christians, especially in Great Britain, who believed the restoration of the Jews to Palestine was part of God’s plan for the final chapters of history. Even before the end of the 1600s, at least 12 publications appeared in England advocating the return of the Jews to Palestine. Many British Christians viewed this as a mandate of biblical prophecy and linked it with the return of Christ. On September 16, 1840 Scottish minister Robert Murray McCheyne wrote to his friend in Belfast, George Shaw:
You cannot tell how much real joy your letter gave me when you tell of the dear brethren who meet with you on Monday mornings, to read and pray concerning Israel. I feel deeply persuaded from prophecy, that it will always be difficult to stir up and maintain a warm and holy interest in outcast Israel. The lovers and pleaders of Zion’s cause will be always few. Do you not think this is hinted at in Jeremiah 30:13: “There is none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up” (kjv)? And is not this one of the very reasons why God will take up their cause.
It is sweet encouragement to learn, that though the friends of Zion will probably be few, yet there always will be some who will keep watch over the dust of Jerusalem, and plead the cause of Israel with God and with man. See Isaiah 62:6b,7: “Ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, and give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (kjv). Oh, my dear brethren, into whose hearts I trust God is pouring a scriptural love for Israel, what an honor is it for us, worms of the dust, to be made watchmen by God over the ruined walls of Jerusalem, and to be made the Lord’s remembrancers, to call His own promises to His mind, that He would fulfill them, and make Jerusalem a blessing to the whole world!
Robert J. Morgan, On This Day : 265 Amazing and Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs & Heroes, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, c1997). Sept. 16.
ALSO ON THIS DAY
1179 – Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa rewards Bishop Henry of Berchtesgaden, a loyal supporter, with rights, such as minting his own coins, that make the Austrian see of Brixen into essentially an autonomous state.
1863 – Robert College (now Bogaziçi University) opens in Constantinople with Cyrus Hamlin as its first President. Hamlin was an educator, inventor, architect, and missionary. He went to Turkey, eighteen years earlier, where he worked with the Armenian minority and established a seminary for pastors and teachers.