By Charles Gardner —
With the 75th anniversary of Israel’s re-birth fast approaching, it is surely time to re-examine her close links with Britain, both positive and otherwise.
Looking back – especially to the century preceding the rise of the Jewish state – it would seem that, in blessing Israel, we spread our influence around the world, to such an extent that there was a time when it was said that the sun never set on our empire.
Ok, so not everything we did historically was good, but we did succeed in spreading the gospel far and wide, and there is no question that it had a civilizing and hugely beneficial effect. Most of the once dark and pagan continent of Africa has dramatically changed, having embraced the teaching of Christ.
Just as proclaiming the gospel of the Jewish Messiah, Jesus, was a key factor in blessing China, Africa, India and elsewhere, so our determination to facilitate the restoration of Israel was cut from a similar cloth.
Evangelical Christian preachers and politicians were the prime influence on British government policies leading to the Balfour Declaration and the subsequent internationally-backed Mandate to prepare the Jewish people for statehood.
But we soon broke our pledge and betrayed Israel, as a result of which we have lost our moral moorings. The miracle of modern Israel came about anyway, and though we had paved the way, we then let her down badly.
So after doing so much to promote the restoration of Israel in the century leading up to the Balfour Declaration, we subsequently moved in precisely the opposite direction.
Appeasing Arab opposition to Jewish immigration most likely led to the death of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Jews who could have escaped Hitler’s concentration camps through emigration to Palestine, as it was then known. While restricting Jewish immigration, we simultaneously failed to regulate Arab immigration.
In addition, post-war Britain went out of its way to ensure the new state would not survive, even appointing a British officer, Lt Gen Sir John Bagot Glubb, to command the Jordanian Arab Legion. In her disobedience to God long ago, Israel was sold into the hands of her enemies (Judges 2:14), and it appears that Britain is suffering the same fate today. We own few of our major industries or football clubs, for one thing; and we have presided over a steep decline in churchgoing while Islam – the antithesis of Christianity in so many ways, particularly as regards freedom – has established an extraordinarily strong foothold in the nation. Both the First Minister of Scotland and the Mayor of London are Muslims.
In a message given just three months before his death in 2003, hugely respected Bible teacher Derek Prince saw “very little hope for Britain”. Repeating his warning that “the nation not serving Israel would perish” (Isaiah 60:12), he said that, although he did not live in the UK, his impression was that few Christians there were being raised to warn the British people about their attitude to Israel. “Few nations have been so favoured by God as the British… but right now we are on top of a slippery slope, which will lead us to disaster.”
The British Government’s response to the latest outrage – the brutal murder by Palestinian terrorists of a British-Israeli rabbi’s wife and two of their daughters – is indicative of no real change in our attitudes with a spineless, lily-livered call for Israel and Hamas to ‘de-escalate tensions’, as if the fault runs equally both ways. Is anyone accountable for a crime, perhaps?
We stopped listening to the evangelicals, who believe in the authority of Scripture. Now, instead of spreading the gospel around the globe, we have become leading exporters of degrading morality as stable society and family life collapses around our ears. And our priests, like those who brought Jesus to trial, are spitting in his face and crucifying him all over again.
In the words of Rev Calvin Robinson, our bishops are promoting the idea of ‘sacramental sodomy’, referring to the Church of England’s decision to bless same-sex marriage.
The murky moral quagmire into which Britain has sunk can, I suggest, be traced back to the time when we began treating the people who gave us the Bible with contempt.
Former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, in a Times article in 2010, urged support for Israel on the basis that “if it goes down, we all go down”. He argued that the Jewish state is at the cutting edge of the battle between militant Islam and the West and concluded: “Israel is a fundamental part of the West which is what it is thanks to its Judeo-Christian roots. If the Jewish element of those roots is upturned and Israel lost, then we are lost too. Whether we like it or not our fate in inextricably intertwined.”
But instead of supporting Israel through our politics, our prayers and our goodwill borne of a Christian ethos, we have exported our rebellious ways, encouraged rainbow flag-waving and pushed anti-God propaganda wherever we can. Now it seems that believing the Bible, as a strong contingent of Israel’s new government do, has become the ultimate blasphemy.
There is a chink of light on the horizon, however. In Britain, as in Israel, Bible believers are fighting back with forthright faith.
Speaking at the Church of England synod (parliament), Ben John referred to the same-sex teaching as perverting the grace of God into a license for immorality.
And the aforementioned Rev Robinson, in an Oxford Union debate, said: “Our purpose as clerics is to lead people away from sin, not embrace it… Sin is the problem, not the sinner. We can denounce sin while still welcoming the sinner.”
Referring to the tax collectors and prostitutes of Jesus’ day, he pointed out that “it is they who went away changed, not Christ”.
As for Britain, we were once a great nation sending missionaries around the world to share the life-changing (indeed, nation-changing) good news about Jesus. But now we have thrown out our most precious possession. Jesus told us to build on the rock. But we have built on sand.
“The day of the Lord is near for all nations,” warns the prophet. “As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.” (Obadiah 1:15)