The Death Struggle of Arab and Jew
February 4th, 1962 @ 8:15 AM
THE DEATH STRUGGLE OF ARAB AND JEW
Dr. W. A. Criswell
2-4-62 8:15 a.m.
On the radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, listening to the pastor bring the early Sunday morning message entitled The Death Struggle of Arab and Jew. These last several Sundays, out of the Scriptures, we have been reading and speaking of God’s ultimate purpose for His chosen people. And I thought, before I leave that subject, and next Sunday morning continue in the fourth chapter of the Book of the Revelation, I thought I would bring an address, a half-sermon, half-speech; I thought I would bring an address this Sunday regarding what God is doing now.
So many times we have the persuasion that God did something two thousand, three thousand years ago, and that in these distant vistas of the unknown future, there is something else that God is yet to do, but that God now is dead, and that the purposive, elective grace of the Almighty in present history is unfelt and unknown.
So I have prepared this message to seek, to bring to us today the consciousness, the realization that there is going on now just as much as there was in ancient history and just as much as there will be when our Lord comes again. There is going on now, and at this minute, God’s elective purposes wrought out with His people in Palestine, and that we are a part of that great struggle that involves all the nations of the world.
Now, I have a little beginning passage of Scripture to read in Jeremiah 30:10-11:
Therefore fear thou not, O My servant Jacob, saith the Lord; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and Jacob shall return, and be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid.
For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee.
Other nations may come and go; Assyria rise and fall; Babylon come to power and be no more. "But I will never make a full end of thee" [Jeremiah 30:11].
Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.
I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel . . .
Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common – ordinary, daily – things.
And on and on through the Word of God.
Now, we are living in a day and in an hour of the fulfillment of these things that were spoken by God two thousand five hundred years ago. And we are a vital part of that great struggle by which God’s will is being wrought out in destiny and in human history. These things are current. They involve us and the nations of the world today.
For example, I have a recent January issue of The Saturday Evening Post. The picture on the front is a picture of two Arab soldiers and the leading article, blazoned across the top of the front page, is "The Seething Arab World."
The feature article, with several magnificent photographs, is entitled that, "The Seething Arab World." And here are headlines in the article and here are a few sentences from it – the picture of a resolute Arabian face; "The Arab of today is convinced that Americans and Jews have destroyed the unity of his lands and people." A headline: "The Arab’s Hatred of the Jew Remains Unwavering." Then in the article: "The Arab’s hatred of the Jew is implacable and unwavering made more bitter by the fact that ethnologically, they are brothers – Semites, claiming a common ancestor, the prophet Abraham. The Arabs are equally convinced that the Western powers, now represented by the United States, have planted the state of Israel in the heart of the Arab world solely for the purpose of weakening and dividing the Arab states. The one emotion, which all Arabs share, is the conviction that Israel is an enemy who must be destroyed."
On the next page is a face of a Jewish girl; the face of young Israel. Nearly all her life, she has heard the clangor of war with Arabs who believe that Israel must be destroyed. And so this article continues.
And I have in my hand a reprint of a recent article from the Atlantic Monthly. The motto of the Arab countries is, "Revenge and Return." But, "No Arab statesman has ever promised final peace with Israel, if only the million Palestinian refugees may return to their former homes," and continuing for page after page.
Our United States is bound up with that struggle in the Middle East. The very destiny of our existence as a nation depends upon it. Without oil to lubricate its machines, and without oil to drive its instruments of war, our NATO allies are immobile and destroyed. We have oil in America. There is no oil in Europe and in the hands of our NATO allies. They are dependent for life, and for existence, upon those vast illimitable reserves in the Middle East. And whether we choose it or not, whether we like it or not, our very national existence depends upon our ability to keep those great oil fields of Arabia, of the Levant, of Iraq, of Kuwait – all of those pipelines flowing, feeding the very life of our allies across the sea.
Now, there is an impossible gulf between those two races and nations and religions that figure in the Levant; the Jew and the Muslim Arab. My first trip over there was spent with our Southern Baptist missionaries. And that Jewish war – the Jewish-Arab war – had just closed a few months before. And in the conquest by the Jews, they had added to Israel Arab territory. And in that Arab territory were located Arab missionaries, our Southern Baptist Arab missionaries. And a fortune of war had put the two together: our Jewish missionaries and our Arab missionaries.
And after I had spent several days with them and the visit was concluded, I came away with a prophecy that our mission itself would go to pieces – that it would break up between the pro-Arab missionary and the pro-Jew missionary, so deep and so fundamental was the basic conflict between them. Even the Christian missionary could not get along, divided as they were by their Arab sympathies or by their Jewish sympathies.
And that prophecy came to pass. In no time, there was a break-up in our Southern Baptist mission in Israel, and the Jewish missionaries continued in their way and the Arab missionaries ceased to work in that field. It is indescribable to place in words and in language the everlasting, unwavering, continuing antipathy between the children of Jacob, the children of Israel, and the children of Ishmael, and of Esau – the children of the Arab world.
Now just for a moment, let me review the story of the Jews in modern days. In 1895, an illustrious Viennese of Austria by the name of Baron Theodor Herzl – out of the antisemitism, the Jewish persecution of the day – wrote a paper, entitled "Der Judenstaat," "The Jewish State." And in 1897, in Basel, Switzerland, there was convened the first Zionist Congress, that looked forward to a homeland in Palestine.
In World War I, there was an illustrious chemist in London by the name of Dr. Chaim Weizmann. And in deference to his services in helping the Allies win the war, the British made what is known as the Balfour Declaration, in which Britain went on record as favoring a national homeland for the Jews in Palestine. And Palestine was mandated to Great Britain at the close of World War I, when that Balfour Declaration was made – that Israel could have a home, a nation in Palestine.
In 1921, modern Jewish immigration to Palestine really began. For the first time in two thousand years, there began to be an appreciable Jewish population in the Holy Land. God said they would go back [Jeremiah 16:14-16]. For two thousand years, the land was empty of God’s people, but the prophecy said they will return. And in 1921, that prophecy began to be fulfilled.
The Hitlerite persecution of the Jews greatly accelerated that immigration into the Holy Land. The Jew began to turn his face to Palestine from sixty-four different countries of the world, and with determination they began to hope for the fulfillment of that Balfour Declaration promised by the British government, that they would have a homeland in Palestine.
Now, the Arab had been there for two thousand years. At first, the Jewish people began to buy up small homesteads and nothing was thought of it. Then the Jewish people began to buy the great estates of absentee owners, who lived in Damascus and in Amman and in Cairo.
And when the Jewish landowners bought the land – those big areas – the absentee landlords, the Arab said, "Let the peasant, the tiller of the soil stay on the land for one year before you take possession." At the end of the year, when the Jew came to take possession, the Arab peasants said, "My forefathers have lived on this land for two thousand years, and I will not move." That precipitated an awful clash between the Arab and the Jew.
On the seventeenth day of May in 1939, at the height of the awful antisemitic persecution of the Jew, when Hitler was burning them in gas ovens by the thousands and the hundreds of thousands – when the Jews of Hitlerite Europe were seeking to escape for their lives to Palestine – at the height of that Jewish tragedy, the British government issued what is now called the famous "White Paper" on Palestine, in which they did two things: first, no longer could any land be sold in Palestine, and the Jew could buy it no more; and second, Jewish immigration must stop altogether after five years, and only seventy-five thousand Jews a year would be allowed to immigrate into the land between 1939 and 1944. The horror and the tragedy of that interdiction you can see in a picture show by the name of The Exodus. That’s the name of a ship in which some of those refugees from the harsh, cruel death of Hitler sought to find a home in Palestine.
Now, as the days went on, and the strife between Jew and Arab became more bitter, Great Britain finally said to the United Nations that this is an insoluble problem. And on the fourteenth day of May in 1948, we are giving up the mandate in Palestine. And we are proposing, said Great Britain to the United Nations, that the country be divided and that there be an Israeli side and that there be an Arabian side – an Arab side. The Jew had no other choice but to accept that partition. But the Arabs said, "We will resist it until death. This is our country and we will not allow it to be partitioned."
So, when Great Britain left – gave up the mandate, drew out their soldiers, on the fourteenth day of May in 1948, the fifteenth day of 1948, the Israeli state was declared. Dr. Weizmann was elected its first president. David Ben-Gurion was elected its first prime minister. And on that day, all of the Arab nations around the little Israeli state went to war against the Jew to push him into the Mediterranean Sea and to destroy his little state forever.
Now, the rest of this address is a reason why I am pro-Jew. The first time I went over there, I came back pro-Arab, and I am going to tell you why. But the next time I went over there, having read and having studied, I came back pro-Jew.
And this is the reason why. First, the Arab world has on display there a political pawn in the over now a million refugees that have been driven out of their homes on the Israeli side of that demarcation that divides Palestine into the state of Israel and into the state of Jordan, the Hashemite kingdom of Trans-Jordania. Now when you go over there, there on display by the hundreds of thousands are those displaced Arabs who were driven out of Palestine, their homes in the war.
I want to speak for a minute about those Arab refugees. Where did they come from and why are they there?
All right, answer the first question, where did they come from? They are the casualties of war. When any nation goes to war – whether it be America, whether it be the Soviet Union, whether it be Great Britain, whether it be Egypt and Syria and Israel – when any nation goes to war, you have thereby quit your diplomatic relationships and your conferences at the table, and you are going to settle this thing by cruel arms and by merciless force. And that settlement is the final verdict when you go to war.
When we ever go to war with the Soviet Union, if they were to conquer us and were to dictate the treaty that all of America, the United States, north of the Rio Grande Valley belongs to the Soviet Union, when you go to war and lose it, that is the ultimate consolation. You have no other choice, when you go to war.
Now, it was not Israel that went to war against Egypt and against Syria and against Amman. But, it was the Arab nations – six of them, with six different armies that went together against that little band of Israelites, and they did it in all of the cockiness that in a few weeks time, their overwhelming superiority and their overwhelming numbers would push those Jewish people into the sea. And the whole world expected just that.
To the amazement of mankind, and to the amazement of the civilized world, those six Arab nations not only were not able to push Israel into the sea, and to destroy the people, but that little band of Israeli boys and girls, mostly teenagers, who were fighting in that war – that little band of Israeli soldiers destroyed every Arab army that was sent against them. It was an astonishing and an amazing thing!
And in those days of terrible conflict, those Arabs who lived over there on the Israeli side fled for their lives. They didn’t have to flee. They were scared to death. They would be right there today had it not been for their own flight and their own choice.
Now, you listen to me. The refugee is the mark of war. A great statesman said at the turn of this century, "The twentieth century will be the day of the common man." He could have better said, "The twentieth century will be the day of the refugee." And wherever there is war, you will find that refugee.
Now the difference between the Arab countries and the rest of the civilized nations of the world is this: in all of the other nations of the world, where you find the casualty of war and the refugee, you will find the nations trying to absorb them, and giving them work and building them up. For example: Germany has received not hundreds of thousands, but millions of refugees, and they have absorbed their millions of refugees into the economy of the Republic of West Germany. And they have strengthened the nation. They have built it great and strong until now Germany is more prosperous than it has ever been in its history. That is what a refugee will do for a nation, if you will take them and use them and put them to work.
The same thing is found in the little city, in the city of Hong Kong, which is just one town. And yet that one town is booming as it has never boomed in history, and as no city has ever grown because they are attempting to take the Chinese refugees from communist China and to build them into the economy and the life of the city.
The same thing you will find in the state of Israel. The refugees have poured into Israel from sixty-four nations of the earth, and they have used those people to build a thriving enterprise and a growing economy. But what has the Arab done with his refugee?
There are six Arab nations around Israel. And instead of receiving one of them, instead of trying to build them into anything, the Arab nations, for political reasons, keep those refugees as a festering sore. And now you have a second generation of refugees growing up to manhood. And when you seek to get the Arab nations to do something to help those people, they steadfastly refuse, for the refugee is the pawn of the Arab world and his best opportunity to create hatred against Israel by looking upon that festering and leprous sore.
The United Nations feeds them. We have spent – the United States of America has contributed 238 million dollars to the feeding of those Arab refugees, and the rest of the nations have brought it up to 360 million dollars and it still goes on. And a part of your tax money contributes to that work over there among those refugees.
Instead of it being a blot against Israel, to me, it is a mark of the inhuman cruelty of the governments of Egypt and of Syria and of those other nations, who would rather see their own people and their own kin rot rather than absorb them into their own national economy, and make them instruments of force, and strength to their own national governments. That’s what I think about the refugee.
All right, a second thing: it is unbelievable what Israel has done with that pile of rock and sand. It is beyond anything the earth has ever seen. If I were you, I would save up money and make a trip over there and look at that country. It’s worth it. If you will put aside a little money, day by day – save it up, and get you an airline ticket and go over there and look at that country.
In 1948, there were 790,000 Jews in Israel; now, there are 2,500,000. There was no industrial production in 1948; now, it numbers over $1 billion a year. There were no ships in 1948; they have fifty-three vessels on the sea now. The agriculture in 1948 was that you would see in a desert; now the cultivatable land has been increased fivefold by those irrigation projects. There were 100,000 boys and girls in school in ’48; there are 600,000 now: 6,000 teachers then; 22,000 now. The arid, barren land has blossomed like the rose. That is the reason I had you read Isaiah 35:1. The motto of the Israeli kingdom is, "The desert shall blossom as the rose."
For nearly two thousand years, there was no spoken Hebrew in the world. It died, as a spoken language, in 70 AD when Titus destroyed Jerusalem. Today in the census they recently made in Israel, 97 percent of the inhabitants of Israel said that Hebrew was their mother tongue. It is an astonishing thing, what has happened over there in that land, under the hands of those Jewish people.
Over here on the Arab side, it will look as it did, the burning, searing desert for two thousand years. And just across the way, on the Jewish side, it looks like the garden of Eden. It’s unbelievable.
Oh, I wish I could continue with these things! Why it is that I look with such admiration upon this Jewish work. I wish I had time, and I haven’t, to speak of what the Jew wants to do in Palestine and the political situation of the Arab governments deny it. There is water enough in Palestine for that entire earth over there, if only the politics of the Arab nations would allow the use of the pure, sweet waters of the Jordan River, which is at present denied. And the Jew would share it with the Arab if the Arab would just cooperate with the Jew.
Now let me say a word about my religious convictions concerning the Jew. First of all, our hope lies in that Jew. I can never forget that when that Samaritan woman said, "Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, Mount Gerazim; and ye say in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship" [John 4:20]. Jesus saith unto her, "Ye worship ye know not what . . . for salvation is of the Jews" [John 4:22]. God’s elective purpose of grace is through the Jew. And it is to him that we owe our debt, for the Bible, for the Christ, for the revelation of God in history and in our lives.
Scattered by God’s avenging hand,
Afflicted and forlorn,
Sad wanderers from our pleasant land,
To Judah’s children mourn;
And e’en in Christian countries, few
Breathe thoughts of pity for the Jew.
Yet, listen, Gentile, do you love
The Bible’s precious page?
Then let your heart with kindness move
To Israel’s heritage; –
Who traced those lines of love for you?
Each sacred writer was a Jew.
And then as years and ages passed,
And nations rose and fell,
Tho’ clouds and darkness oft were cast
O’er captive Israel,
The oracles of God for you
Were kept in safety by the Jew.
And when the great Redeemer came
For guilty man to bleed,
He did not take an angel’s name; –
No, – born of Abraham’s seed,
Jesus, who gave His life for you
The gentle Saviour was a Jew !
And tho’ his own received Him not,
And turned in pride away,
Whence is the Gentile’s happier lot?
Are you more just than they?
No – God in pity turned to you –
Have you no pity for the Jew?
Go then, and bend your knee to pray
For Israel’s ancient race;
Ask the dear Savior every day
To call them by his grace;
Go – for a debt of love is due
From Gentile Christians to the Jew!
["Zion, Whom No Man Seeketh After (Jeremiah 30:17)," E.M.I., March 14, 1844]
And may I conclude – ah, that we had time to speak of these things – may I conclude with the Word of God? And God said to Abram:
I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations . . .
I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession.
And in Amos:
In that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David that has fallen . . .
And I will bring again the captivity of My people Israel . . .
And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord God.
[Amos 9:11, 14, 15]
And finally, this passage that closes the great exegesis in Romans:
And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
For this is My covenant unto them, when I take away their sins.
As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.
For the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance.
And someday, according to the Word of the Lord, there is going to be a God-fearing, God-honoring Israel [Romans 11:26]. Right now, they are all atheists, practically, even though they are Jews. There will be a great God-honoring nation; Israel. And they will be, someday, the spiritual evangelists and preachers of the world [Revelation 7:1-17].
God is setting a time when they gather there in unbelief [Ezekiel 26:22-28]. When He appears to them personally as the Lord God appeared to James, His brother [1 Corinthians 15:7], and to Paul, Saul, on the road to Damascus [Acts 9:1-5], and a nation will be born in a day [Isaiah 66:8]. They will receive their Savior, our Savior. They will trust their Lord like we trust Him [Romans 11:26]. There will be one fold, and one Shepherd [John 10:16]. That will be the millennium, and is coming.
And God’s purposes are working in history now, just as God’s elective purposes worked in history two thousand years ago, and to that ultimate consummation some glorious day yet to come.
This has been so fragmentary, I know. But I, just before we left this subject, I just wanted you to see that God works today, in our time and in our history, as earnestly, as faithfully as God works when there was an apostle or a prophet to write it down, and as God works in that ultimate consummation, that ends the age.
The thing for us to do is to belong to Him. He is my Lord. He is my God. He is my Keeper and Savior. And as He works out His will in time and in eternity, there is in it a place for me, for I belong to Him.
Would you say that to Jesus this morning while we sing this hymn of appeal? On the first note of the first stanza, somebody you, give his heart in trust to Jesus. Somebody you, put your life in the fellowship of the church. While we sing the song, while we make the appeal, would you come? Make it now: while we stand and while we sing.
THE DEATH STRUGGLE OF ARAB AND JEW
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1. Destroyed when Babylonian captivity began
2. Rebuilt by Nehemiah – Arabs tried to prevent it
3. Israel and Jerusalem destroyed by Rome
4. 1948 – Israel becomes a nation again – Arabs tried to prevent it
II. Demarcation between Arab and Jew
1. Arab and Jewish Christians in Israel could not work together; separated
2. No peace in Middle East because of mutual hatred
III. Arab refugees taken in and helped by all nations except Arab nations
1. Both Arab and Jew will praise the name of the Lord, Zechariah 12-14
2. Jesus will reign on earth, no more war Micah 4:3-5