Evangelical Christian History

 

For the Love of Zion: Christian Witness and the Restoration of Israel (1992, with updated version in 2008)

Prime Ministers, statesmen and ambassadors are among the principle players in this remarkable tale of international intrigue and personal sacrifice spanning nearly two hundred years of turbulent history. Here is the story of a simple, yet controversial vision - to see Jews find their Messiah within their own homeland.

 

Its drama includes the daring construction of Christ Church, set prominently in the old city of Jerusalem, the appointment of the first Jewish Bishop in almost two thousand years, and the foundation of the Church's Ministry Among the Jewish People. Drawing on previously unpublished archives it is a fascinating insight into Christian initiative and prophetic faith. 
 

 

 

 

 

A Jewish Bishop in Jerusalem: The life story of Michael Solomon Alexander (2006)

One of the most controversial projects of the nineteenth century was the Protestant Bishopric in Jerusalem. Just as controversial was the appointment of the first bishop, Michael Solomon Alexander, who was Jewish. Alexander came from Prussian Posen (now Poland) to England in 1820, and later served as a rabbi in Plymouth. It was here that he came to believe that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah - and subsequently lost his position as a rabbi! He was later ordained into the Church of Ireland, and then worked with the London Jews Society (LJS, now known as CMJ) in Prussia and Posen.

 

For nine years Alexander served in London with the LJS, and was Professor of Hebrew and Rabbinic Literature at King's College. In the 1840's there was a strong belief in Britain that the Jewish people were to be restored to the Land of Israel - then part of the Turkish province of Syria.

 

It was in this environment that the King of Prussia proposed to the British Government and Church the establishment of a Protestant Bishopric in Jerusalem. Despite opposition from the French, Russian, Austrian and Turkish Governments, as well as many ecclesiastical heads, the bishopric was established. Alexander arrived in Jerusalem in January 1842, and although he only laboured there for less than four years, he was instrumental in greatly upsetting the status quo of the Holy City.

 

The story of Michael Solomon Alexander is the story of the wonderful intermingling of geo-politics, faith and human endeavour. It encompasses a period of time, the 1840's, which were instrumental in determining the future establishment of modern Israel, the modern movement of Jewish believers in Jesus and of evangelical Protestant Christianity in Israel. These issues are still relevant today. 

Restoring Israel: 200 Years of the CMJ Story (2008)

Following the French Revolution many Christians in Britain and Ireland sensed they were entering into a significant period of world history. Many believed that Jesus' return was immanent, but that before His return they would need to take the message of His Kingdom to all the nations. Then in the wake of Napoleon's expedition to Egypt and Palestine in 1798, which stirred interest in the Jewish people's physical return to the land of Israel, numerous Christians also saw the need to take the message of Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, back to the Jewish people.

 

This was the environment in London which a young German Jewish believer in Jesus named Joseph Frey discovered when he arrived there in 1801. Frey very quickly saw the need to proclaim the message of Jesus to his own people in squalid London. Eight years later, in 1809, through his inspiration, the ÔLondon Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews' was birthed (today Church's Ministry among Jewish People, or CMJ). Within a few years leading British statesmen and Christians such as William Wilberforce, Lewis Way, Charles Simeon, and later Lord Shaftesbury were actively involved as leaders and spokesman of this organisation.

 

In time CMJ took this message from London, into all of Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, North Africa, Persia, Abyssinia and numerous other locations. This then is the story of CMJ. It is a story of how men and women who have understood God's covenant faithfulness have served the Jewish people during these last two hundred years.

 

 

 

 

 

A Prophetic Property: Celebrating 150 years of CMJ's work on Prophets Street in Jerusalem (2012)

Few properties have been so closely associated with the history of modern Jerusalem as that purchased by Joseph Barclay for the London Jews Society (today CMJ) in 1863. Known then as the Sanatorium it was one of the first properties settled outside the walls of Jerusalem.

 

Later CMJ transferred most of its medical and educational work from the Old City and build the new and modern English Mission Hospital there. Prominent Jerusalem personalities such as Conrad Schick and the workers of the Palestine Exploration Fund (Warren, Condor and Kitchener) were all associated with it. So too were hundreds of Jewish refugees during the first aliyah (immigration movement) who found refuge there - provoking Baron de Rothschild to come to their aid. Both Turkish and British soldiers were based there during World War One and General Allenby rode from this property to Jaffa Gate for the official surrender ceremony of the city of Jerusalem on 11 December 1917.

 

Thereafter thousands of needy Jewish and later Arab people were nursed in the English Mission Hospital during the turbulent years of the British Mandate. Then during a period of great crisis CMJ lent its hospital to the Jewish leadership in 1948 whereupon it became Hadassah Aleph. Also in 1948 CMJ's educational institutions were localised on this property and subsequently grew into today's Anglican International School Jerusalem (AISJ). The story of this property, in the heart of the new city, is the story of modern day Jerusalem. Indeed, it is A Prophetic Property.

 
 

The Destiny of Britain (2008)

 

The Destiny of Britain reveals how the Biblical vision for the restoration of Israel was an integral part of the great missionary expansion of the 18th and 19th centuries which was intertwined with the expansion of the British Empire across the world. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the beginning of British rule over the historic Land of Israel was the culmination of a vision for the restoration of the Jewish people to their Biblical homeland which had developed in the Church in Great Britain over the previous three hundred years.Ê This vision, supported by the great Christian Revivalists and Bible Teachers such as the Wesley brothers, Charles Simeon, Robert Murray McCheyne, C H Spurgeon and Bishop J C Ryle, was based on the Covenants of Promise as well as other prophetic Scriptures found in the Bible.

 

Many Christians were inspired to pray for the fulfilment of this vision and prominent leaders in England and Scotland, including William Wilberforce, Lord Palmerston and Lord Shaftesbury, encouraged the British government to actively support the restoration of Israel. In the Destiny of Britain, Australian author Kelvin Crombie, together with Israeli academics and British churchmen, presents the story of how this outworking of Britain's Christian heritage was intertwined with her geo-political objective in the Middle East of maintaining access to her Eastern Empire. Just as Cyrus, the King of the ancient Persian Empire, was the Divinely appointed facilitator for the return of the Jewish people to Jerusalem after the first exile, the British Empire was entrusted by the God of History after the second exile to restore His ancient covenant people to the Land that He had promised to them as an everlasting inheritance.

 

 

From Exile to Restoration (2009)

 

From Exile to Restoration tells the same story as its sister film The Destiny of Britain but with a greater emphasis on the history and geopolitics that led to the Balfour Declaration of 1917. This documentary is suitable for a more general audience. From the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE when the Roman Empire exiled the Jewish people, they longed for a future restoration to the land of Israel. The 16th century Protestant Reformation saw Christians reading of the Bible promises of a latter day restoration of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland. This awareness not only spread widely through the Church, but among political leadership in Britain, at the same time as her Empire was expanding in the East.

 

The 19th century saw Britain, concerned for her links to India, Australia and New Zealand, being drawn into the affairs of the eastern Mediterranean and the land of Israel, coinciding with an awakening among the Jewish people for a restoration to their ancient homeland. ?Ê?The First World War, beginning with the Gallipoli campaign and political concern for the future of the Ottoman Empire, presented an opportunity for the restoration of Israel. On 31st October 1917, the same day as the British-ANZAC victory at Beersheba Ð including the charge of the Australian Light Horse came the British War Cabinet"s decision to favour the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine. General Allenby"s subsequent entrance into Jerusalem was the fulfilment of some three hundred years of geo-political activity and British Christian vision.

 

In From Exile to Restoration, Australian author Kelvin Crombie, together with Israeli academics, the grandson of a hero of the Beersheba "Charge", and British and American churchmen, presents the story of these Jewish, Christian and geo-political factors which intertwined to lead to the modern restoration of Israel. As Cyrus, the King of the ancient Persian Empire first restored Israel after the exile to Babylon, so the British Empire became the modern day "Cyrus" to restore Israel after the second exile across the world.From Exile to Restoration is the sister film to The Destiny of Britain and prequel to The Forsaken Promise.

The Forsaken Promise (2010)

 

"For the day of the Lord is near on all the nations; as you have done, it shall be done to you. Your reward shall return upon your head." (Obadiah 1:15) In November 1917 the British government made a pledge with the Jewish people through the Balfour Declaration to help establish a Jewish National Home in the territory known as Palestine. During the 200 years leading up to the Balfour Declaration there was a broad vision in the Church in Great Britain for the restoration of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland.

 

This vision, supported by the great revivalists such as George Whitefield and the Wesley brothers, was based on the Covenants of Promise as well as other prophetic Scriptures found in the Bible, and many Christians were inspired to pray into it. The Balfour Declaration was the fruit of this vision. At that time, Great Britain was the nearest example of a truly Christian nation that has existed since the time of Christ two thousand years ago, and her empire - the largest ever in human history - stretched across one third of the world's land mass. It was said that the sun never set on the British Empire. Sadly, because of political expedience in appeasing a militant Arab nationalist movement, duplicity in her dealings with both Arabs and Jews, and even treachery towards the Jewish people, Britain became instead the major obstacle in the fulfilment of the purposes of God.

 

In addition to causing the wholesale misery of many thousands of Jewish people who were turned away from the shores of Palestine in the 1930s and 40s, the British reneging of the Balfour Declaration was also responsible for the deaths of an untold number of Jews who could have escaped Hitler's Final Solution, had they been able to find refuge in their ancient homeland. Even after the War was over Britain continued to turn away traumatised survivors of the Holocaust from the shores of the Land of their forefathers. Today, very few British people - Christians included - know anything about this dark chapter in our history. Is it mere co-incidence that since the end of the Mandate in Palestine in 1948 that the sun finally set on the Great British Empire and her status as the world's superpower disappeared?

 

The Forsaken Promise, a 3-part documentary series, highlights a number of tragic events that took place during the Mandate period, mainly through the testimonies of those who were either victims of those events, participants in them, or eye-witnesses to them, including the Late Derek Prince. Its purpose is to stir up repentance in Britain for the nation's reneging of the Balfour Declaration - the forsaken promise - and obstructing the purposes of God in the restoration of Israel. There are many church leaders in Britain who are crying out for the restoration of God's favour and blessing upon this country, and there are some who believe that the Lord has not forgotten our spiritual heritage as a Christian nation. Because the Church's calling is to be the 'prophetic voice' in the nation, this documentary's prime target audience is the Church.

 

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