The Death Struggle of Arab and Jew
November 30th, 1969 @ 10:50 AM
THE DEATH STRUGGLE OF ARAB AND JEW
Dr. W. A. Criswell
11-30-69 10:50 a.m.
You who are sharing the service on radio and television are so welcome with us who are in the sanctuary here of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the message entitled The Death Struggle of Arab and Jew.
This is the beginning of the week of prayer for foreign missions throughout the thirty-five thousand churches of our Southern Baptist Convention. One of the facets of this week of prayer is our Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for Foreign Missions. It is one of the highest stated offerings of our denomination and of our church. When Christmas time comes, as we remember one another, so also we ought especially, particularly to remember our Lord; it is His birthday. It is the season of His nativity. It is the celebration of the incarnation of God in human life [Matthew 1:23-25]. And for us to bring a gift to our Lord is in such high and worthy order.
So as we begin this week of prayer for foreign missions, I have prepared this message concerning one of the areas of our far-flung mission dedication. We have a great school and missionary witness and several fine churches in Lebanon. We have a fine hospital and ministry in Jordan and in Gaza. We have brethren in Egypt and of course we have an extensive ministry in the state of Israel. And the message this morning is a delineation, a description, a presentation of that tragic and sorrowful and increasingly bitter conflict between the Arab and the Jew. If I could change the title to be more explicitly pointed, it would be The Death Struggle between the Mohammedan and the Jew, for many Arabs are Christians, and the Christian Arab enters that tragic conflict only under duress.
Lebanon has been a Christian nation. Most of the people in Lebanon were Christians. As the times of these recent years have advanced, Lebanon is more and more Muslim. And that is why it is being inevitably drawn into the maelstrom of that conflict. There are many Arab Christians. But the fanatical Arab, that breathes hatred and vengeance and especially against Israel, is the Mohammedan. So if I could title the message more clearly and poignantly and exactly, it would be The Death Struggle between the Mohammedan and the Jew.
In the sixteenth chapter of the Book of Genesis, the Angel of the Lord 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]. I turn now to the twenty-first chapter of the Book of Genesis and read the ninth verse, “And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking”—jeering—Ishmael, the father of the Arab—mocking and jeering—Isaac, the father of Israel [Genesis 21:9].
And from that beginning—down through the interminable centuries—that breach has widened and deepened and become more fanatical and vengeful. It was the Ishmaelites who sold Joseph down into Egypt [Genesis 37:28, 36]. These Arabians are mentioned throughout the Word of God. And when you take the heavy tomes of Josephus, in his history of the Jews, they appear again and again.
In 622 AD the Hegira marks the beginning of the Mohammedan calendar. It is the date of the escape of Mohammed from Mecca—where he was persecuted—to Medina—about two hundred fifty miles interior in Saudi Arabia. And there he met with signal and unusual success. And there from Medina he began to preach his fanatical religion of conquest and conversion by the sword. Mohammed himself was a vengeful man. And he instilled that bitter, fanatical spirit of hatred and murder and bloodshed in his followers. He coveted property, slew those who owned it and confiscated it.
In the city of Medina were eight hundred wealthy Jews. He coveted their riches; he also hated them because they scorned his aspirations and claims to restore the true religion of Abraham. Mohammed taught that it was Ishmael who was offered as sacrifice on Mt. Moriah and not Isaac [Genesis 22]. Mohammed taught his fanatical followers that Ishmael and Hagar were buried in the cabal—that cubicle, little place of ancient idolatrous worship that he took over in the heart of Mecca. And because the Jews refused to accept Mohammed’s fanatical persuasion that he was recreating the religion of Abraham, and because they were rich, Mohammed slew all eight hundred of them, confiscated their properties, sold their wives and their children into slavery.
Mohammed himself was a lecherous and evil man. When he wanted a woman he had a special revelation and added her to his harem. When he wanted his son’s wife—which was a scandal even among the Arabians—when he wanted his son’s wife, he had a special revelation—another epileptic fit—and added her to his harem. By law he taught his followers that they could only have four wives at a time, but he was an exception. By special revelation he could add all of the wives he pleased to his harem. This is the fanatical, and vengeful, and murderous, and lecherous founder of the Mohammedan religion. And that vengeful spirit has characterized them throughout the bloody centuries, down which Mohammedism has marched.
Under the caliphs these were the names of the leaders who immediately followed Mohammed; under the caliphs they converted by the power of the sword. First, Abu Bakr, then Omar who conquered Jerusalem and on the temple site built what is called the Mosque of Omar. And under those succession of caliphs, they conquered all of North Africa, and all of Palestine, and all of Asia Minor, and all of Iraq and all of Iran, clear to the Indus River. And under the Moors, the Moors; the Moors are a hybrid race between the Berbers—those tribes that fill Northern Africa—and the Arab. The Moors conquered all of Spain, and they were thrusting their armies beyond the Pyrenees to conquer Europe. Had they succeeded, all Europe would have been Mohammedan like North Africa, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey. But in 732 AD Charles Martel, under the hand of God, stopped the progress of that fanatical sword that tore France.
But it continued. And in the 1000s AD and in the 1100s AD you have the story of the crusades. It was an effort to win back, to the holy hands of the followers of Christ, the sepulcher of our Lord in Jerusalem. One of those crusades, you remember, was made up of children, all of which were slain; a bloody, bloody conflict. And in 1453 AD the Mohammedans sacked the city of Constantinople. And the most glorious church ever built in Christendom, St. Sophia, was turned into a Mohammedan mosque.
I was in Istanbul, ancient Constantinople, in 1950. And they were preparing for the five hundredth anniversary celebration of the fall of Christian Constantinople into the hands of the Mohammedans; to them a great high celebration; to me one of the saddest chapters in human history. And the Mohammedan marches and he marches and he marches as in Lebanon that mostly was Christian, now is becoming mostly Arab. And is being drawn into that vortex; its land used as a gorilla base against Israel. And in that great continent of Africa, they make ten converts for our one. It is a carnal religion, and it is easy for the African animist, an idolatrous worshipper, to take his life of carnality and his polygamy and become a Mohammedan. It is a formidable foe to everything that the Christian faith stands for and a formidable foe to everything that the Jewish faith stands for—the fanatical followers of Mohammed. That is one side of the conflict in Palestine—led by the Mohammedan Nasser with his allies in Jordan, and in Syria, and in Iraq, and in Iran somewhat; thank God less in Iran and by force in little Lebanon.
I now speak of the Jew, and I speak of Zionism first. In 70 AD the Romans destroyed the Jewish nation and their capital city, Jerusalem, and their temple on Mt. Moriah. It was the third Diaspora, the scattering of the Jew. The first Diaspora was in 722 BC when the Assyrians destroyed the northern ten tribes [2 Kings 17:5-6, 18]. The second Diaspora was in 587 BC when Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonians took the people into captivity [Jeremiah 39:1-10, 52:4-30; 2 Chronicles 36:17-21]. And the third destruction in Diaspora was in 70 AD under Titus, who later became Caesar of the Romans. But God said they would be buried among the nations [Jeremiah 30:11], but not annihilated.
In the third chapter of Exodus, Moses saw a bush that burned unconsumed [Exodus 3:1-2], a parabolic picture of the life of Israel. And in the thirty-seventh chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, the prophet saw a great valley of dry, dry bones; but God spoke life and they stood a great nation to their feet [Ezekiel 37:1-10]. God’s people were buried among the nations of the earth and the days passed, the Jews scattered over the face of the globe. And in 1895 the great Jew Theodor Herzl published Der Judenstaat, in Vienna, The Jewish State. And two years later in 1897 the first Zionist Congress assembled in Basel, Switzerland.
In 1917 when England was pressed by the Prussian army, she said to her great far-famed chemist, a Jew named Chaim Weizmann, “Find for us an explosive that will give us superiority and firepower over the Germans.” He did it almost immediately; he did it easily. And when he produced this explosive that gave England power over Germany in the First World War, they offered him anything. And he said, “I seek nothing for myself; I ask only for my people.” And out of that promise on the part of the British government, the Balfour Declaration was announced to the world, which promised to the Jewish people of the world a national homeland in Palestine.
Under the direction and the encouragement of Chaim Wiezmann, they began immigrating into the Holy Land, and especially after 1921. For the first time, Jews in great numbers lived in Palestine. And for the first time since 70 AD, the Hebrew language was spoken as a common tongue, a national nomenclature. But when the Jew began to go to Palestine, first he bought property from the Arabs who were there, and everything was peaceful. But as the time passed the Jew went to Cairo, and he went to Damascus, and he bought great estates in the Holy Land from absentee landowners with the understanding that the tenants on the land would have one year in which to move. When that year was up and the Jewish people came to possess the property they had bought, the tenants refused to be evacuated. And when they were evicted by force, there were bitter reprisals. So the country became a teeming mass of hatred and bloodshed.
In 1939 the British government issued the White Paper which said that there can be no more purchasing of land in Palestine, and the Jewish immigration can continue for five years, seventy-five thousand a year, but after that it must cease altogether; this by the British government who had promised the Jew in 1917 a national home in Israel. That came at one of the blackest and most tragic times in Jewish history; 1939 and the years before and after were the darkest of the days under Hitler. And the Jews were being slaughtered by the millions. And their only recourse and refuge was to find an escape to Palestine, to the Holy Land. And now they were interdicted by the British government which of course had a mandate, which of course was beyond what any nation could handle, because of the bitter strife between the Jews who were there and those who were coming and the Mohammedan.
As the days multiplied the situation in Palestine became so unbearable that the United Nations drew a demarcation line from the top to the bottom, saying that on this side the Jew can live, and on this side the Arab can live.
In 1948, in May when that demarcation took effect, immediately the Mohammedan’s attacked the Jews, and there was war. And when the war was done—and it lasted just a little while—when the war was over the Jew was victorious. And the Israeli state was proclaimed; in May 15, 1948, it became a nation. And the old man, Chaim Wiezmann, was elected president, and David Ben-Gurion was elected first prime minister. And the nation continued in prosperity and in growth until June in 1967. And by that time Russia—who cares nothing for morality, nothing for justice, nothing for honesty, nothing for peace—Russia—in the thirty-eighth chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, God calls Russia by name and their capital by name and points her out as the great enemy of the Jew—Russia, seeing an opportunity to find bases for a fleet in the Mediterranean and bases of influence in the great oil fields of Iraq and Saudi Arabia—Russia began to arm those violent Mohammedan fanatics that ring Israel; Nasser down in Egypt, and Hussein in Jordan, and whoever for the moment happens to be the victor in a coup in the unstable and increasingly unstable government of Syria, and now little Lebanon. So Russia armed them to the teeth, and in June 1967, Nasser pulled his army up to the borderline of Israel. And through Russia’s influence, Syria and Jordan placed their armies under Nasser. And Nasser announced to the world in June, 1967 that his Mohammedan allies and his Mohammedan armies were going to annihilate Israel—drive them into the sea, slaughter almost three million people.
But in the providence of God, when the world looked on in amazement, in six days, in six days, the little army of Israel had cut to shreds the army of the Egyptians and of the Jordanians and of the Syrians. It was one of the most phenomenal things in human history. Then Nasser went back home and broadcast to the world that it was the Americans and it was the American Air Force that had defeated him and slain his men and had destroyed his army. He is a born liar! And he is nothing but a tool and a pawn of the Russians!
Were it not for Russia the Mohammedan’s would be like chickens. They are unable and they have no military complex and no ability to support or to mount any kind of a war. But Russia finds ports in Alexandria and Said, and Russia finds influence and circles of aggrandizement and conquest in the bitterness and fanaticism of the Mohammedan Arab.
So the situation is there now, boiling and teeming, as Russia stokes the fire and as he feeds that fanatical spirit of the Mohammedan, who himself, all of his life and all of his history, is born into and taught to be fanatically vengeful. There’s enough water over there for everybody. There’s enough land over there for everybody. But the fanatical Mohammedan will not even feed his refugee. By the millions now, they would be starving were it not that the United States feeds them. Do they have the money to feed their own? Yes. Saudi Arabia has an income of millions and millions and millions of dollars a day.
When I was in the Hilton in Cairo I would stand there in the hotel lobby and watch those limousines, Cadillacs—cost you thirty to fifty thousand dollars for one in a foreign country—see those Arabians stand there, and those Cadillacs with their chauffeurs pick them up, pick them up, pick them up. But not a dime dedicated for the alleviation of the most terrible festering spot in the world, just more vengefulness and more hatred and more of war, war, war. This is the present situation in which we now find the Levant cast.
Now the Jew: there is not a Jew in the earth—if he is a Jew—there’s not a Jew in the earth but who loves the homeland, Palestine, Jerusalem. God gave the country to him in an unconditional covenant as a gift forever [Deuteronomy 30:1-10]. And if he is a Jew he loves Palestine. His faith and his religion is anchored in the soil, in the ground, in Palestine.
In the fiftieth chapter of the Book of Genesis, when Joseph died he made his brethren lift their hands and swear by an oath that when God visited them—“And He will surely visit you,” said Joseph—“You are to carry my bones back to Palestine” [Genesis 50:25]. When Moses died God took him first on top of Pisgah and there on Mt. Nebo showed him the length and breadth of the Promised Land [Deuteronomy 34:1-6].
In the one hundred thirty-seventh Psalm the Babylonian captives sang:
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget her cunning.
If I do not remember thee,
May my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth;
If I prefer not Jerusalem
Above my chief joy.
In 1948 when the State of Israel was constituted, the first act of David Ben-Gurion, the prime minister, was to take the bones of Theodor Herzl from Vienna and bury them there in the Holy Land. David Ben-Gurion said, “He’s the second great Jew who has been returned to the land of Israel.”
When I was down in Panama I walked into a silk shop. While I was there I visited with a man who owned it; he was a Jew. I told him, “Did you know, I have just come from Israel?” “Oh,” he said, “tell me; describe it to me. How is it?” And as I spoke to that man, whose name I didn’t even know, whom I’d never seen before, doubtless would ever see again, as I spoke to him about Israel and about Palestine, unashamed the tears rolled off his face. He’d never been there; doubtless never able to go. Wherever there’s a Jew, he loves Palestine.
God says that the land is his. In 105 Psalm, verses 8 through 11:
God hath remembered His covenant for ever, 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.
By an oath and by an unconditional and everlasting and unrevocable covenant, God promised that land to Israel for ever.
In the eleventh chapter of the Book of Isaiah:
And there shall come forth a Rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch—a netser, He shall be called a Branch, a Nazarene—and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. And in that day there shall 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.
[Isaiah 11:1, 10, 11]
The first time was in the Babylonian captivity when under Zerubbabel and under Ezra and under Nehemiah the people returned to their Promised Land [Ezra 1:1-2:70; Nehemiah 7:5-66]. But God says He will gather them together a second time. And He shall set up an ensign for the nations and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth [Isaiah 11:11-12].
There is no such a thing as the lost ten tribes. God says He shall gather together again, Israel, the ten tribes to the north, and Judah, little Judah and Benjamin who created the nation to the south. This is what God has promised. And you’re living to see the day when this prophecy is being fulfilled. God’s people are turning their faces homeward. And the more they are persecuted the more you will find every Jewish heart in this earth turning in prayer and supplication in behalf of the Israeli state in Palestine. You can read the Scriptures in the daily newspapers fulfilling them moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day.
And the prophecy of Amos closes, “And I will bring again My people . . . 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 of hosts” [Amos 9:14-15]. God will gather His people and put them back in the land of Palestine, and God says that will be their home forever and ever.
And of course the Scriptures so gloriously delineate that marvelous time when the Prince of Peace shall come [Isaiah 9:6]. There will never be peace in Palestine until He shall come [Isaiah 11:6-9]. And there will never be peace in the world until there is peace in Palestine [Matthew 24:6-7; Isaiah 2:4]. But the day is coming when He whose name is Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace [Isaiah 9:6-7], there is a day coming when God shall come down, when the Lord shall intervene in human history [Revelation 19:11-21]. And when that day comes there shall be the acceptance on the part of Israel of her Messiah, the Lord God Christ [Matthew 23:39].
In the twelfth, in the thirteenth, and in the fourteenth chapters of the prophet Zechariah, these things are beautifully and plainly and marvelously stated:
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 Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him as one mourneth for his only son.
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.
And they shall say to Him, What are these wounds in Thine hands? And He shall answer, Those with [which] I was wounded in the house of My friends.
And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east.
And the Lord God shall come and all the saints with Him, and it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light.
[Zechariah 14:5, 7]
And the Lord shall be King over all the earth.
When Jesus comes again; when God intervenes in human history, and for that we are daily to pray, “Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come” [Matthew 6:9-10]. There’s no kingdom without a king. “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” [Matthew 6:9-10]. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper who love thee” [Psalm 122:6].
There’ll be no peace in Vietnam. There’ll be no peace in China. There’ll be no peace in Russia. There’ll be no peace in Africa. There will be no peace in America. There’ll be no peace in the world until there is peace in Palestine [Matthew 24:6-7; Isaiah 2:4]. And there’ll be no peace in Palestine until the Lord shall come, the Prince of Glory [Isaiah 11:6-9]. Then shall the Israeli say to the Egyptian, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord” [Matthew 23:39]. Then shall the Egyptian say to the Israeli, “Blessed is Jehovah God, in our language, Allah” [Isaiah 19:24-25].
And the whole earth shall bow in wonder and in astonishment at the presence of the glory of the great King, the Lord of hosts [Philippians 2:10-11], coming in the glory of the Father [Matthew 16:27], God the Son and the Son of God [1 John 5:20], coming in the glory of the angels, their Leader and Prince [Matthew 25:31]. Coming in the glory of the church, the Groom for the bride [Revelation 19:7]. Coming in the glory of His own name, the Son of Abraham, the Son of David, the Son of Man, the eternal God-Man, Christ Jesus [Luke 3:23-38]. For this we are to pray [2 Peter 3:12]. For this we are to wait and to watch [Matthew 25:13]. And for this we are to believe until God answers with the sound of the trumpet, with the resurrection of the dead, with the translation of the saints, with the glorious, immortalized gift of eternal life [1 Corinthians 15:51-57; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17] for those who look in faith and in trust to Him [Ephesians 2:8-9].
Ah, what days in which God had cast our life and lot. May we persevere; may we continue to have faith in the assurance that no word and no promise of God will ever fall to the ground, but every sentence that He said, He will faithfully and ultimately perform. The promises of God in Christ Jesus are everlastingly “Yea and Amen” [2 Corinthians 1:20].
Now we sing our hymn of appeal. And while we sing it, a family you, a couple you, a one somebody you to give himself to Jesus, to come into the fellowship of the church, to dedicate your life to the Lord; while we sing the song, while we make the appeal, if God bids you, come. If the Lord invites you, if God speaks the word, hasten. “Here I am; here I come.” Answer with your life. On the first note of the first stanza; make it now. In the balcony round, on the lower floor; God will open the way, angels will attend, make the decision now. And in a moment when we stand up to sing, stand up coming. “Here I am, pastor. I give you my hand. I’ve given my heart in faith to the Lord. And here I come, to pray with you, to worship God with you, to serve in the name of Jesus with you. Here I am and here I come.” Do it now, make it now, while we stand and while we sing.