The Death Struggle of Arab and Jew
November 30th, 1969 @ 8:15 AM
THE DEATH STRUGGLE OF ARAB AND JEW
Dr. W.A. Criswell
11-30-69 8:15 a.m.
On the radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the beginning of our week of prayer for foreign missions. In this season of the year when we remember one another, we remember our Lord. So we have our Lottie Moon Christmas offering for foreign missions for which we pray this week. And in keeping with this missionary week of the fellowship of all of our thirty-five thousand churches of our Southern Baptist Convention, the pastor has prepared the sermon this morning. It involves two of our mission fields, and the title of the message is The Death Struggle of Arab and Jew.
It would be more apropos if I were to entitle the message “The Death Struggle of the Mohammedan and the Jew.” There are many Christian Arabs. Lebanon, for example, was at one time an almost entire Christian nation. The Muslims have more and more infiltrated into the government, into the population, into the political complexion of the little country, until now the Mohammedans number at least half or more than the population of Lebanon. But it has been the Christian population in Lebanon that has taken the country heretofore out of that vicious attack against Israel. In the combination of the UAR, Egypt, and Jordan, and Syria, Lebanon thus far has refused to be a party, and the reason is found in the Christian Arabs of that nation.
There is a deep, and bitter, and everlasting antipathy, antagonism—fanatical, unbelievable hatred on the part of the Mohammedan toward the Jew. And that death struggle we daily watch in Palestine. The people who come in contact with those two nationalities come away either one or the other. It is a very unusual person who would ever be neutral.
When I was there in 1950, I stayed in Saint Andrews Hospice. And the man and his wife who ran the hospice—it was a Presbyterian hotel—they were so pro-Arab; and when I came back from my first journey to Israel, to Palestine, I came back very much pro-Arab. But in the conquests of the Jews in 1948, Galilee and Nazareth were won by the Jews and added to the UN partition of the country, and that consequently meant that the George W. Truett Orphans Home, and the church, and the ministry, the school to the Arabs in Nazareth were thrown into Israel.
And we had those two mission groups in the same nation. We had the heretofore group to the Arabs in the Arab section, and the group in the Jewish sector. And Dr. McCall and I, when we left made the prophecy that it would not be long until that mission tore itself apart, because the Arab missionaries were so fanatically pro-Arab and the Jewish missionaries were so fanatically pro-Jewish. And it came to pass in just a little while; that mission tore itself asunder, and they had to start over again.
So when I went back in 1955, and then again at the invitation of the Israeli government in 1968, when I returned I—both times, I changed all together. I became very much pro-Israel. And the message this morning is of that struggle between the Arab and the Jew; or as I say, between the Mohammedan and the Jew. And we shall follow it through, if I have time—and I wish I had a lot of time when I do a thing like this—I will follow it through the best I can, and then we will close the message with God’s Word, what God has to say.
In the sixteenth chapter of the Book of Genesis, in the [eleventh] and the [twelfth] verses, the Angel of God says to Hagar, the Egyptian maid of Sarah, the wife of Abraham: “Behold, thou art with child, and shall bear a son, and shall call his name Ishmael. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him” [Genesis 16:11-12]. This is the beginning of the Arab. “He will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him.”
Then when I turn to the twenty-first chapter of, the twenty-[first] chapter of the Book of Genesis and turn to the ninth verse.
And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking—jeering.
Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.
And in this beginning you have those two nationalities, the sons of Ishmael and the sons of and the children of Isaac, the seed of Isaac. You will meet them through the Scriptures. When Joseph was sold, he was sold by the Ishmaelites down into Egypt [Genesis 37:26-28]. And they appear again and again, and in the history of the Jews by Josephus you will read them again and again.
And I pass through the centuries and the centuries down to the date of 622 AD. This is the Hegira of Mohammed, the prophet of Allah. He escaped from Mecca and his persecutions and fled about two hundred fifty miles inward to Medina, and his successes in Medina. And the Mohammedan calendar is dated from 622 AD, the date of the Hegira from Mecca to Medina. And there Mohammed found success in the fanatical religion that he began to preach.
And the religion was propagated, is propagated, by the sword. You either believe, you either accept, or you face the penalty of death. Mohammed was a man of tremendous fanatical cruelty. His vengeance knew no bounds. He slaughtered for the sake of spoil, to confiscate property. In the city of Medina, there were eight hundred Jewish families. He coveted their property; they were wealthy Jews. And Mohammed slaughtered all eight hundred of those Jewish men, sold their wives and their children into captivity, and confiscated their property.
Mohammed the prophet personally was a lecherous and vile and evil man. When he wanted another woman, he had a special revelation and added her to his harem. When he wanted his son’s wife—his son’s wife!—he had a special revelation and added her to his harem. By legal limit, he made it impossible for the believer to have more than four wives at a time, but he was the exception by special revelation; he could have any unlimited number. Mohammed the prophet was vengeful and fanatical and lecherous.
He was followed by what you call caliphs. These were the leaders of the fanatical propagation of the religion by the sword who ruled over the Mohammedan states. Caliphs: the first was Abu Bakr, a very capable man and a great conqueror. And he was followed by the caliph Omar who conquered Jerusalem, and the mosque on the temple site is called to this day the Mosque of Omar. And under those caliphs they conquered all of North Africa, and all of Palestine, and all of Asia Minor, and Iran, and Iraq, and clear to the Indus River.
In the 1000s, in the 1000s AD, and in the 1100s AD, you have the story of the Christian crusades which was an attempt to win back the sepulcher of our Lord from the Saracens. The word Saracen was the Roman name for the Arabian. One of those you remember was a children’s crusade, and every one of those children was slain. In 1453 AD, the Mohammedan conquered Constantinople and turned the most glorious church that Christendom has ever seen, the church of St. Sophia, turned it into a Mohammedan mosque. When I was in Istanbul in 1950, they were preparing with great governmental preparations to celebrate the five hundredth anniversary of the fall of the Christian city of Constantinople.
And in these days since, the Mohammedan still spreads. As I mentioned a moment ago, he is gradually taking Lebanon, and when Lebanon is in the hands and under control of the Mohammedan, it will be as fanatically adverse to things in which we love and believe as is Nasser’s Egypt.
And in Africa the Mohammedan is winning ten converts for our one. That is why, among other reasons, I have agreed to spend the entire month of February in Africa. They are getting ready for a continental-wide crusade in Africa, our Baptist brethren. And I have agreed to hold evangelistic services, rallies, in all the cities of east Africa starting at the north and going all the way down to the south, preparing for that great evangelistic appeal in Africa where the Mohammedan, I say, is winning ten converts to our one. It is a carnal religion and the people who are like the Africans who are animists, who are polygamists, it is easy to transfer from one carnal faith to another. But it is difficult to win them to Christ, the great, pristine, virtuous gospel of the Son of God. Now that is the Mohammedan.
The Jew—I speak first of Zionism. In 70 AD Titus destroyed the nation, and the city, and the temple. It was the third Diaspora, the scattering of the Jews. The first was in 722 BC when the Assyrian destroyed the Northern Kingdom [2 Kings 17:5-6]. The second was in 587 BC when the Babylonian under Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Southern Kingdom [2 Kings 25:8-17]. Under Zerubbabel and Ezra and Nehemiah, they rebuilt the kingdom [Ezra 1:1; Nehemiah 13:31], but it was destroyed again in 70 AD, and the language ceased to be spoken, and the nation ceased to exist.
But the Jew, according to the Word of God, was buried among the nations of the world [Ezekiel 36:19]. In the third chapter of Exodus, Moses looked upon a bush that burned unconsumed, a picture of the Hebrew nation [Exodus 3:1-2]. And in the thirty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel, he saw a valley of dry bones, and God bid him speak the spirit of life, and they arose a great nation [Ezekiel 37:1-28]. These are all parabolic conceptions presented in the Bible of Hebrew people, buried after 70 AD among the nations of the earth [Luke 21:24].
In 1895 a great Jew by the name of Theodor Herzl in Vienna published Der Judenstaat, The Jewish State. And in 1897, two years later, the first Zionist congress assembled in Basel, Switzerland, seeking a national homeland for the Jews in Palestine. In 1917, in the midst of the First World War, England was pressed by the Kaiser, the Prussian army, to the very extremities, to the very utmost limits. And there was in London a great, gifted, world-famed chemist by the name of Chaim Weizmann. And the British government said to him, “Find for us an explosive that will help us win the war.”
And Chaim Weizmann invented an explosive that gave England superiority over the German armies. The great Jewish chemist asked nothing for himself but in behalf of his people, and that resulted in the Balfour Declaration of Great Britain in 1917 that the Jew should have a national home in Palestine. There would be a state created in Palestine; when the Turkish government was overthrown, and the German government was overthrown, there would be created a Hebrew state, an Israeli state in Palestine, a national home for the Jew. Under Chaim Weizmann, the immigration of the Jew to Palestine began in great numbers in 1921. It was vastly accelerated under Adolf Hitler in 1939 and the years close by, because of the terrible persecutions of the Jews in Germany.
But when the Jew came to Palestine, the Arab was there, the Mohammedan was there. At first he bought little farms, little places that were for sale, and everything was peaceful. But when the Jew went to Damascus, and to Cairo, and other cities like that and began to buy great estates, they did so with the understanding that the tenant could remain on the estate for one year. But at the end of the year the tenant had to move. But the Arab tenant had been on that land for generations and hundreds of years, and when the end of the year came and the tenant was forced to move, it was with reprisals and bitterness. So the land began to teem with hatred and fanatical reprisals.
Therefore in 1939 the British government, whose mandate Palestine was, the British government issued a white paper, and in that paper the British government said that no longer can a Jew buy any land in Palestine. Again, that for five years, seventy-five thousand Jews a year can immigrate into Palestine, and after that no Jew can immigrate. This came at a tragic time in the persecution of the Jews; it came at a time when the Hitler era was at its height, and the Jews had no place to go in the earth.
I stood in 1950 in Haifa and looked down at the hulls of ships that had been blown up and burned in the harbor at Haifa where the refugees had come; and rather than be forced to return back to Hitler, they had blown up the ship and themselves. It was a tragic time. And as the days passed and the ferment continued, in 1947, the United Nations drew a demarcation line from the top of Palestine to the bottom, and on this side they said the Jew could live, and on that side they said the Mohammedan could live.
So when that partition became a reality, and the British government yielded its mandate and withdrew in May 1948, the Arabs, the Mohammedans, immediately attacked the Jews. War began. And on the fifteenth day of May in 1948, the Jewish state was created, and the aged Jew Chaim Weizmann was elected the first president, and David Ben-Gurion was elected the prime minister, and the new state was recognized by the United States of America under Harry Truman, and immediately by other nations of the earth, and was admitted to the UN. And for the first time there is a Hebrew, a Jewish state since AD 70, and for the first time since AD 70 the Jewish language is spoken as the language of a national government.
And as the days passed, in that war in 1948 the Jew was eminently successful, and the nation began to build and to grow and to prosper. And down in Egypt was a Mohammedan by the name of Nasser, and using the fanatical hatred of the Jew on the part of the Mohammedan, he created an army under one command: Syria, and Jordan, and Egypt. And upon a day in June in 1967, Nasser pooled all of those armies with armies’ soldiers from Iraq, and Iran, and ringed all of Israel around except little Lebanon, where you had half a population of Christian Arabs. And the Mohammedan attacked ostensibly, announcedly, publishedly to destroy the state of Israel and to drive the people into the sea, to murder all of them.
There are about fifty million Arabs; there are about, over there, about two million and some-odd hundred thousand Jews. And when the war began in June 1967, you would have thought that the Arab would have been preeminently successful because he was armed to the teeth by Russia. The Bible says in the thirty-eighth chapter of Ezekiel that the great enemy of Israel is Russia. That’s the prophecy back there, and God calls them by name [Ezekiel 38:2-6]. The great enemy of the Jew is Russia. And it is Russia that lies back; the Arab would be unable to fight chickens with his inabilities and with his lack of weapons. They have no industrial complex. It is the might and strength of Russia that makes possible the bellicose and belligerent language of Nasser.
So in this war of 1967 the armies of Syria, and the armies of Jordan, and the armies of Egypt immediately threw themselves in a circle against the little Israeli state. And to the amazement of the whole world, within six days the Jews had cut the armies of Syria, and of Jordan, and of Egypt to pieces. That is one of the most phenomenal things that has ever happened in human history.
And that is the situation today. With the guerillas now having won a base in Lebanon, and throwing that unhappy little country into the maelstrom of that fanatical, fratricidal war—with the guerillas working out of Lebanon, and with working out of Syria, and working out of Jordan, and now working out of Egypt, the little nation constantly faces its enemies on every side. And of course, behind all, using Nasser as a pawn, is communist Russia.
This briefly is a story of the death struggle between the Mohammedan and the Jew. Now somebody else could tell this story in a different way. This is the way I see it, and this is the way I believe it.
I am now to speak of the Jewish love for his homeland, for Palestine. It has been in his soul from the beginning. Wherever there is a Jew, there is a love for his homeland, for Palestine. When Joseph died he said, “God will surely visit you. Take my bones up from hence and carry them back to Palestine” [Genesis 50:24-25]. And in the fiftieth chapter of the Book of Genesis, Joseph made his brethren swear they would carry his body back home to Palestine, and in the Book of the Exodus they faithfully did that [Exodus 13:19; Joshua 24:32].
When the Jewish state was created the fifteenth of May in 1948, the first act of the Israeli government was to carry the bones of Theodor Herzl, who was buried in Vienna, carry his bones back to Palestine. David Ben-Gurion said, “This is the second great Jew who has been brought back to the land.” That love for the land, that identification of the Jew with his land, with his home, has never departed from the Jewish heart. You find it wherever you see Jewish people. In the one hundred thirty-seventh Psalm, in the Babylonian captivity:
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget her cunning.
If I do not remember thee,
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth;
If I prefer not Jerusalem
Above my chief joy.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
This is the very heart of the Jewish commitment. In the one hundred fifth Psalm:
He, God, hath commanded, God hath remembered His covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations.
Which covenant He made with Abraham, and His oath unto Isaac;
And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:
Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance.
Forever and forever, God says, He has made an everlasting and unconditional covenant with Israel, that the land should be his forever. In the eleventh chapter of the Book of Isaiah, the great messianic prophecy:
There shall come forth a Rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and in that day shall there be a Root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and His rest shall be glorious.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people, which shall be left.
[Isaiah 11:1, 10-11]
And you are living in that day when God shall set His hand the second time. The first time was when He took the people back after the Babylonian captivity [Ezra 1:1-3]. The second time, God says, He will do it; and we’re seeing it come to pass in our day. “And He shall set up an ensign for the nations and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel”—now look—“and gather together the dispersed of Judah” [Isaiah 11:12]. Israel, of course, is the northern ten tribes; and Judah, of course, is the nation that was built after the Babylonian captivity [Nehemiah 11:1-3, 20]. God is going to gather together His people from all over the earth where they are buried, as Ezekiel says, both Israel and Judah [Ezekiel 36:19]. And in that glorious day, God says, and this closes the Book of Amos, “I will bring them again into the land. 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 9:14-15].
And in that day, and in that final consummation, God says that they—and this is the prophet Zechariah—that they will accept their true Lord and Messiah. God says in Zechariah, and I am reading from chapters 12, 13, and 14:
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son [Zechariah 12:10].
And in that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness [Zechariah 13:1].
And they shall say unto Him when they see Him, What are these wounds in Thine hands? Then He shall answer, These are they which I received in the house of My friends [Zechariah 13:6].
And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east [Zechariah 14:4].
And the Lord God shall come and His saints with Him [Zechariah 14:5]. And it shall come to pass that at evening it shall be light [Zechariah 14:7].
And the Lord shall be King over all the earth [Zechariah 14:9].
This is just a touching of the hem of the garment. But I wanted you to be aware of the struggle unto death between the Mohammedan and the Jew. And according to the Word of God, it is that Jew that God is placing back in his ancient homeland. And were it not for Russia—and I speak now of persuasions of my own heart and mind—were it not for Russia, you would find peace in Palestine, for there is room in that country for all of them. There is water for all of them. There is fertility of soil for all of them. And I am convinced that the Jew wants no other thing than to live at peace with his neighbor.
The refugee since 1948, the refugee—and there are now millions of them, for they multiply—the refugee has been allowed to rot by the Arabian governments. It is the United States that feeds them. The Mohammedan will not take care even of his own people. They have millions and millions and millions of dollars that come to them daily in the sheikdoms such as Saudi Arabia. When I was in that luxurious Hilton Hotel in Cairo, I would see those sheiks come down, stand there, and chauffeurs bring their Cadillacs which in a foreign country will cost thirty to forty thousand dollars. And yet just beyond, they allow the refugees to starve to death, were it not for the largesse of America.
All the Jew wants is to live at peace with his neighbor, and were Lebanon Christian completely, you’d have no trouble there. Were these other nations Christian, you’d have no trouble there. There is room enough for them all, but the trouble lies in Russia. She eggs it on. She foments all kinds of bitterness. She arms the enemies of Israel. She sees to it that there are no days of peace in the Levant.
And the reason is obvious: for the first time, Russia now has a great navy in the Mediterranean, and the only reason she can keep a navy there is because she has ports where she can rehabilitate her ships, and refuel them, and repair them—in the harbors of Egypt, and as time goes on, more and more under the surveillance and friendship of the Arabian Mohammedan world. Russia has no scruples; Russia has no heart; Russia has no faith. Russia is an atheistic, communist government. And for the destruction of mankind, as Lenin said, “What would it matter if all of mankind were destroyed and just a few left, if those few that remain were communists?”
We live in a tragic world, a sorrowful world. We are living in the days of the Scriptures which speak of the time of Jacob’s trouble [Jeremiah 30:7]. I haven’t time but just to mention these things. But the Book says we are to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper who love thee” [Psalm 122:6]. And in keeping with that scriptural admonition, our heart is toward those people. Our prayers are in behalf of those people. And our prayers are in behalf of all of those peoples. We pray for our missionaries in Lebanon; we have a great work in Lebanon. We pray for our missionaries in Jordan and in Gaza; we have great hospitals there. We pray for the Christian witness in Egypt.
I went to our little church in Egypt, it is desperate, just a little handful of a dozen people, but they’re there. And we pray that the time will come when the Egyptian shall see the Jew and say, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” And the Jew shall see the Egyptian and shall say, “Blessed is he that comes in the name of the great Jehovah God whom you call in your language, Allah.” And the whole world shall say, “Blessed is He that comes as the Lord of glory, and the Prince of Peace” [Philippians 2:10-11].
There will be no peace, the Bible says, in this earth, until the Prince of Peace comes [Isaiah 2:4; Matthew 24:6]. That’s why you are taught to pray, “Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come” [Matthew 6:9-10]. There is no kingdom without a king, and we’re taught to pray, “May Jesus come. Thy kingdom come, and Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven” [Matthew 6:10], when all the families of the earth shall dwell in peace, and in prosperity, and in eternal bliss, and abounding blessing, under Him whose right it is to reign over all creation including this earth, this nation, our hearts, God in Jesus, the hope of glory [Colossians 1:27].
Oh, I’ve gone so far over the time, but these things are so upon us. It’s just to read a paper today is like opening the Bible and reading what God says.
Now we must sing our hymn of appeal, and while we sing it, a family you, a couple you, a one somebody you to give your heart to Jesus, to come into the fellowship of the church, as the Lord would say the word and will open the door; in the balcony round, on the lower floor, as God would press the appeal to your heart, on the first note of this first stanza, come. Make the decision now, and in a moment when we stand up to sing, stand up coming. Angels will attend you in the way. Do it now, while we stand and while we sing.