Welcome to a special edition of the Bible in the News in which we are going to remember the events of 40 years ago with some miraculous events that took place at that time. With me today is Dave, Dave Billington; and Dave the only way you can remember these things is through the various recordings and so on that have been left for us, but in that way you can experience it too, right?
Israeli troops enter Jerusalem's Old City in June 1967.
Dave: That's true. One hundred percent true, and actually here we have a radio clip from the Voice of Israel on June 7, 1967 exactly 40 years ago and this is what was happening on that day:
[ Please refer to audio version for recording. ]
You know the amazing things about those events is the fact that Bible students, people who looked at the Bible and understood the prophecies, were able to predict that this was going to happen. For example, we have here a Christadelphian writer. His name was Fred Bilton. He wrote a book called "The Apocalypse and the Gospels" in 1955, so this is 12 years before that event took place. And he writes in his book, he says:
"Because Jerusalem (i.e. old Jerusalem) must be possessed by the Jews prior to Christ's return, so that he might manifest himself to them as their deliverer and Saviour, the ejection of Hashemite Jordan from there is a foregone conclusion. We can look then for developments which will result in Israel's getting possession of the whole city, and for a dreadful conflagration kindled by that spark throughout the Middle East."
Dave: And Israel did take the whole city at that time and not only that but the topic of West Jerusalem or of East Jerusalem and the whole West Bank has become a world issue today as well as that. Is there any other quotes from other Christadelphians as well?
Paul: There is indeed, some of them a little more general than that. For example going back much further than 12 years before we’re going to go right back to John Thomas who wrote a book entitled "Eureka" -- it was an exposition of the Apocalypse. And this is a piece that he wrote in 1868 in volume three of that work where he says, speaking about these days in which we live and when Christ will come, he says:
"There will have been a considerable gathering of Israelites upon the mountains of Israel before the invasion of the country by Gog, and his capture of Jerusalem."
Now the mountains of Israel of course were not possessed by Israel prior to 1967.
Dave: The whole plain of Tel Aviv and all up that way and the flat part up to Haifa was all Israeli, but the West Bank which is all the mountainous region in the central land wasn't part of Israel in those days.
Paul: So this just shows you by looking carefully at the prophetic Word, in seeing what it has to tell you, if you have faith in it you can actually put that into writing. You can put your convictions right down on paper and you can foresee that these events were going to happen. But you know it's true that Christadelphians were not the only ones to foresee these things. There were others as well who looked forward to this time.
Dave: Well as a matter fact Paul, fulfilled prophecy is like a trumpet blast. And it says in the prophecy of Isaiah:
"And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem."
And I want to go back now to another recording and let's listen to what was happening at the Western Wall Plaza on June 7, 1967. Not only that, but that was also the day that they had taken the Temple Mount. So let's go back and listen to those events now.
[ Please refer to audio version for recording. ]
Now that was the Jewish soldiers singing the "Ha Tikva" at the Western Wall on that day. Now the "Ha Tikva" means 'the hope' and the Jewish people have hope and of course our hope is very closely related to theirs. And when we were seeing these things at the time, as you would remember these things being fulfilled, it must have been extremely exciting. And how did you feel seeing these things happen?
Paul: Well there was a great stir amongst Christadelphians at that time because these things had been expected and even those who were not aware of these expectations felt it also. I remember at that time we were living in Birmingham in England. And there was a special lecture put on for the public and 2000 people gathered in the Birmingham town Hall at that particular time. I remember the speaker was a Dennis Gillet, who delivered the lecture at that time and there were crowds outside the doors so that more people couldn't get in. So, they opened up another meeting in the basement of the Birmingham Town Hall where there was a relay played up of it. So, you can imagine the great excitement as people looked at these events happening. It really was truly a trumpet blast in more senses than one because those with ears to hear could hear the fulfillment of these things. And you know there are several prophecies which relate to this, and one of them particularly that many people not just Christadelphians but others as well have related to, and that's the prophecy of Daniel chapter 8. Because there we have a time period that is given to us and we can debate about the figures and one thing and another that's given there. Daniel's asking the question, how long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice and the transgression of desolation to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot, and "he said unto me...", and he gives us this time period "unto 2300 days, then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." Now someone writing about this, a Mr. Milligan, R. Milligan, writing in a book called "Reason and Revelation" in 1868, refers to this and refers to the time period and the events that it refers to at the beginning of this, which was to do with the Persian Ram symbolically, and the goat which represented Greece as well. And he has this to say, he says:
"It seems most probable, however, that this period is to be reckoned, not from the rise or birth of the Ram, as some writers have alleged, (for he was in his full strength and vigor when Daniel first saw him,) but from the time when he was first attacked by the He-goat. If this assumption is warranted by the context, it fixes the beginning of this period to the spring of the year 334 B.C., and consequently it will terminate in the spring or about the middle of 1967."
Dave: That's absolutely amazing. And of course in 1967 when they took the Temple Mount and the Western wall, these things were to do with the sanctuary.
Paul: Absolutely. And so this has lead many Jews thereafter to say to themselves we have come to the time of Redemption. WE are looking for a time when the Redemption will take place, when the Temple will be rebuilt, and you know Dave that there is a group in Israel today that are very much interested in this building of the third Temple, right?
Dave: Of course, and after the 6 Day War and all these areas opened up, like the Old City of Jerusalem and Hebron and Bethlehem and all these places that they were talking about on the News Report, that's when the Religious Zionist movement in Israel really took off. Because before that they really just joined in everyone else and it was quite small and they joined in with everyone else on what was happening. But after this and these lands became open, of course they immediately started to talk about reviving the Jewish community of Hebron and all these other places. And that's when the movement gained momentum and really had a focus and an objective on what they wanted to accomplish.
Paul: So this has lead to many Jews today particularly of this movement looking to the Scriptures to try and see more signs and trying to understand a little more closely the prophecies that are concerned here. And you know at that time the first prophecy that most Christadelphians brought to mind was the words of the Lord Jesus Christ in Luke chapter 21 and verse 24. And this was spoken of at the time, and for several years afterwards it would be the prophecy that engaged most people's attention. The thing is that even before that, other writers had looked for this. You know there is a writer, his name is Thomas Newton, and he wrote in 1754. So, you're now going back, what, 250 years, something like that? And in the book "Dissertation of the Prophecies," Thomas Newton wrote this, he says:
"Our Saviour's words are very memorable,' Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.' It is still trodden down by the Gentiles, and consequently the times of the Gentiles are not yet fulfilled. When 'the times of the Gentiles' shall be 'fulfilled,' then the expression implies, that the Jews shall be restored: and for what reason, can we believe, that though they are dispersed among all nations, yet, by a constant miracle, they are kept distinct from all, but for the farther manifestation of God's purposes towards them?"
And so these prophecies are of the Redemption of Israel, of the building again of the third Temple, of the inhabiting of the mountains of Israel, which is essentially the West Bank today. These prophecies have become alive and it's incredible that writers could see this, like 250 years ago. Now there's the Christians. The Jews themselves also have expectations that they look forward to. And it's incredible to see these things dove-tailing together so that Christadelphians looking at what happened to Israel can rejoice with His people as the Psalm says -- incredible things Dave!
Dave: Indeed those were incredible times Paul, and let's just step back and listen as the Israel Defence force goes into the Old City in through the Lion's Gate and to the Temple Mount:
"All company commanders. We're sitting on the ridge and we're seeing the Old City. Soon we will enter into it. The Old City of Jerusalem. That all generations have dreamed about. We will be the first to enter the Old City. Tanks will advance on the left, and will enter the Lion's Gate. The final rendezvous will be on the open square above."
Dave: "The Temple Mount is in our hands!" the words of Mote Gur. Unfortunately the Israelis gave the keys back to the Moslems and Temple Mount a few days later. And as it were, that generation wasn't worthy or were ready to enter into the Promised Land. They weren't ready for the kingdom of God. And we hope and pray that this generation that's now arising and is starting will be ready, and will be the ones that will be able to enter that kingdom of God and the Promised Land.
Paul: and in Psalm 122 we read there the words of the psalmist when he says: "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem." And this is the true hope of every Christian, every true Christian. It's called the Hope of Israel as Paul describes it in Acts 28 there when he says I am bound with this chain the hope of Israel. And that is our true hope, that one day when the Lord Jesus Christ returns, that we may go in to the gates of Jerusalem and to abide there for ever more.
So continue to watch these signs with us and come back and visit us again on www.bibleinthenews.com, and watch these signs, as we await the return of the Lord Jesus Christ for the true victory which is still yet in the future.