It was on this day in 1891 that a petition was sent to President Benjamin Harrison that requested the aid of the U.S. government in the reestablishment of a sovereign Jewish state in the Holy Land. This petition was initiated by Reverend William E. Blackstone, and included the signatures of such notable people as J.P. Morgan, Cyrus McCormick, William McKinley (the future President), John D. Rockefeller and many others. This petition was a spontaneous expression of American support for Zionism which was independent of any Jewish Zionist activities at that time. It seems to have been motivated by biblical influences, mostly, and by anger that was aroused due to the Russian pogroms of the day.
Though motivated by outrage, no doubt, this American initiative came about in large part because of the many prophecies in the Bible regarding God’s promise to regather His people. Prophet after prophet foretold of a day when God would call His sons and daughters from all four corners of the earth and bring them back into their own land. This, coupled with the persecution of Jews just because they were Jews, seems to have served as the catalyst that resulted in this American effort.
It seems a shame, but oftentimes the rule, that the persecution of God’s people is the situation that triggers their deliverance. Yet, there are patterns for just such a scenario in the Creation. For example, in childbirth, it’s the travail that signals a baby is going to be delivered. The birth of the state of Israel came about, in large part, because of the Holocaust in Europe during World War II. So, again, it seems that the persecution of God’s people is the spark that ignites key events resulting in the deliverance and restoration of God’s people. The prophet Isaiah seems to allude to this when he said:
“But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me and my Lord has forgotten me.’ Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before Me.” (Isaiah 49:14-16)
For the person who wonders if God exists, all you have to do is look at Israel. Explain how a people who have been so hated by the world are still in existence and thriving. Benjamin Disraeli, a former British Prime Minister once told Queen Victoria that if one needs to be convinced of the existence of God, then he only has to consider the Jews. Disraeli also said:
“The view of Jerusalem is the history of the world; it is more, it is the history of earth and of heaven.”
If I might interpret Disraeli’s words, the fact that Jerusalem still exists and that there is a people called Israel is undeniable proof that the God of Israel is God. Ironically, it’s the existence of Israel and the persecution of the same that proves the existence of an adversary – Satan. What one people have been so maligned and persecuted as Israel? The adversary always goes after what’s important to the Creator. God set His name upon Jerusalem which is why the adversary wants to possess Jerusalem. When God is doing something, that’s what the adversary wants to corrupt and undermine. Those that God uses are the very ones the adversary attacks.
So on a personal note, if you’re like me, you know that God exists you’re still here. As for me, He has brought me through so much in my life, and I’m sure that you can testify to that, as well. There are times I know that, if His hand had not been upon me, I wouldn’t be here with you, today. Likewise, I know there’s an adversary out there who would wish to see me, you – all of us – destroyed and will, whenever allowed to, do everything in his power to persecute and oppress us. But, keep this in mind: the persecution is oftentimes the component that sets our deliverance in motion.
Before the adversary comes against us, God has already provided a place of protection for us. In the book of Revelation, the dragon persecutes the woman and goes after her to destroy her. But God delivers her and brings to a place He had already prepared for her. And so the point is this: God didn’t limit deliverance of His people to those of long ago. Deliverance isn’t just for those in the future. Deliverance is for all of God’s people – past, future and today. For those of us who are going through difficulty right now, remember: when persecution comes, take comfort in the knowledge that He has already prepared a place of protection.