News & Views
2017: Issue 4
Balfour 100 Celebration
An audience of almost 4,000 came together on 7th November 2017 at the Royal Albert Hall, London.
A Jewish woman in the crowd swept her arm across the auditorium addressing a fellow Hebrew speaker, ‘Look, they don’t all despise us!’
‘No’, said her friend, ‘They don’t all despise us.’
Almost 4,000 people came together on 7th November 2017 at the Royal Albert Hall, London to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.
This was the culmination of almost two year’s work of the Balfour 100 Christian committee to show the Jewish people we support God’s Covenant with them over the Land of Israel and show the British people the Balfour Declaration is something to be proud of. The overwhelming support for the Jewish people and God’s Covenant shown during the two an a half hours of the performance made a deep impression on the Jewish people who attended, not least upon the six Jewish people in the two CMJ boxes , which included our friend who is a Rabbi and said afterwards, ‘The world is a better place because of CMJ.’
Many eyes filled up, tears rolled down faces of both Jewish people and Christians as together they saw the amazing purposes of God unfold throughout history.
People came from the States, Australia, New Zealand, Africa,, Canada, Israel and Holland.
The evening followed a timeline to the Balfour Declaration with guest appearances from JC Ryle and Spurgeon, Theodor Herzl and Rev William Hechler and Arthur James Bafour and Chaim Weizmann!
Two choirs sang throughout the evening, a Dutch choir who began life as a branch of Christians For Israel, a large Israel-supporting Christian organisation and now sing with up a 500 strong choir and The Redeemed Christian Church of God Choir –this choir from congregations of this large and thriving Nigerian church based in London.
The Adoramus Orchestra gave a strong performance and Shir Klezmer Ensemble played for the spine-tingling Israeli Dance Institute.
As CMJ, we were proud to have Kelvin Crombie and David Schmidt present a brilliant section on the Balfour Declaration and the Battle of Beersheba; these events took place at around the same time and on the same day (31st October)! Three ANZAC soldiers and one British soldier stood with Kelvin on stage as General Allenby joined them (and played by CMJ’s Paul Hames)!
All these and others named on the Balfour 100 website (where details of all the people who took part may be found) came together under our producer for the night, Nick Gray, to make a superb evening of celebration.
Comments flooded in after the evening.
From emails we received: ‘Amazing’ ‘Wonderful ‘ ‘ Blown away’ ‘ Moved to tears’ ‘ Excellent’ ‘Our God surely made a way for us last night’ ‘ It was a wonderful event, joyful, informative and a little challenging’ ‘ Moving, emotional, impressive and the culmination of a lot of hard work and prayer’
It’s simply wonderful to be at the great Royal Albert Hall with an audience united in support of Israel.
From the aristocracy of Great Britain: ‘What a fantastic evening last night.’ ‘It was lovely to be a part of it’ ‘So many riches – worship, history, celebration of Jewish-Christian relations and so much more!’ ‘I will never forget it’ ‘it was moving beyond words, uplifting, generous spirited, jolly and beautiful to watch.’
From the Israeli Ambassador, His Excellency Mark Regev: ‘Amazing. It’s simply wonderful to be at the great Royal Albert Hall with an audience united in support of Israel. In bringing the Balfour Declaration, the UK stood up for what is right.’
And in the words of a fellow committee member, ‘I guess we accomplished what we set out to do!’
When I looked out across the auditorium that Tuesday evening, I wanted to shout out:
‘Just look what the Lord has done! Look how He stilled the voice of the enemy. Our God is a Covenant keeping God. Our God is an awesome God!’
Balfour 100 has been privileged to work with a group of highly professional and enthusiastic performers, who were a delight to include in our programme. We have listed here the websites of all of them, to enable you to find out more about them, follow their progress or book them for your own events.
You can also download a pdf copy of the programme from the Balfour 100 website.
Production of a DVD of the Royal Albert Hall evening is underway. We hope to have this completed and on sale in the first two weeks of December. You will be able to purchase it from the same source as the souvenir magazine (below), and through other outlets as well which we will publish details of.
The Balfour 100 Committee started as four people seconded from Love Never Fails, an organization made up of 22 Israel focused Christian Ministries. We soon added a Chairman, Tim Vince and then others, gifted for the task ahead of us. My main task was to organize an event at the beginning of the year for church leaders. The Rev Dr David Schmidt, a Canadian who is a lecturer in Israel and an expert on the clear talks, his first, on the five most commonly believed reasons for the Balfour Declaration and which, in his opinion, is the correct one and why. His second lecture in the afternoon was on the ten members of the British War Cabinet and looking at each in turn, David examined what may have influenced their decision and their varying Christian background. The lectures with a lunch were given in City Temple, Holborn, London last January to church leaders from across the country.
The Thorn in the Side
The problem with the celebration of the Balfour Declaration is that the Arabs who call themselves Palestinians think that the Land once called Palestine was their Homeland and belonged to them. They think the British Government told the Jewish people they could go and set up their State in the Arabs own country of Palestine.
Mark Twain’s visit to Lebanon, Syria, and the Holy Land in 1867 was published in “The Innocents Abroad”, where he described Palestine as follows: “….. A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse…. a desolation…. we never saw a human being on the whole route…. hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.” (The Innocents Abroad, p. 361-362)
In 1860, the population of the whole Land was 411,000 or 11,000 more than the population of West Jerusalem 2017. For we Brits, this is just 28,700 more people than the London Borough of Croydon had in 2016 or three-quarters of the population of Sheffield in 2014. The population was scant. Especially when you remember, in 1860, the Land, known as Palestine, was the land both sides of the Jordan river, now named Israel and Jordan. The size of Palestine, as spoken about in the Balfour Declaration included all the land known today as Jordan and Israel. Jordan was at first referred to as across (or beyond) the Jordan or Transjordan. The first part of the name was dropped and the land became known as simply Jordan and with it, sadly, many people dropped any memory of this fact.
So Jordan is also Palestine. I found these stamps online and post them to prove this fact.
The first Jordanian State Stamp is from 1964, and shows the likeness of King Hussein and also the whole of Palestine at the time of the Balfour Declaration. The other stamp is from 1949 and shows King Abdullah of the kingdom of Jordan and has Palestine, written in English and Arabic.
In the divide of Palestine, done by Churchill, it is said he took a pencil and drew a line down the river Jordan whilst sitting in a café in Cairo. It was a case of Arabs to the East and Jewish people to the West of the river. In this way Churchill made two States / Countries from the One Land. The Palestinian Arabs got 78% of Palestine and the Palestinian Jews got 22 % of Palestine.
Today 65% of Jordan is made up of Palestinian Arabs and no Jewish people are allowed to live there. Israel, on the other hand has an Arab population of 20.7% in its 22% share of the Land.
Some people think we should not have celebrated the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, in which Britain gave the Jewish people the right to return to their homeland, albeit a much reduced homeland. I hope, however, that the above will show how the Jewish people ended up with a small part of the whole and I cannot see how anyone could object to rejoicing in such a small victory. Yet the Jewish people do rejoice and are just so happy to have a place to call home once again. They took the rocks, the desert and the malarial swamps. The bought land and they created just what God said they would. They have 22% of the land but they are producing a 100 fold.
The Biblical Stand
It all depends whether you believe what’s in the Book.
The vicar came home one day and noticed his wife’s Bible. It didn’t look right. As he picked it up he realized how light it was and was somewhat shocked when he opened it. Many of the pages were missing and loads of others were cut and various parts were missing. He asked his wife what had happened to her Bible. ‘Well,’ she said, ‘I’ve been listening to your sermons for twenty years now and every time you said, ‘Oh, that’s just a myth or we can’t take that seriously or people were……………I came home from church and cut that part out of my Bible and that’s what’s left.’
In Genesis Chapter 15 God cuts a Covenant with Abraham. Look it up. When two parties came together to make an oath they would Cut a Covenant. They took several animals and cut them in half. The parts were laid out facing the other half in a row and the two parties would walk between these parts making their oath to each other. This was a serious business, you were saying through your actions, ‘May it be to me as it is to those animals if I break my oath to you.’ Once the covenant was cut, the animals were barbequed and the two parties joined in a feast eating from the same dish.
In Chapter 15, after the animals are prepared, God puts Abraham into a deep sleep and passes through the parts by Himself making an oath to Abraham and His seed forever. This is to go through the line of the child of promise, Isaac. But what about poor old Ishmael, why doesn’t he get blessed? Read chapter 17 and see just how much God loves Ishmael too and see what God plans for Ishmael. But as in any family different children have different gifts. Isaac’s line has tremendous responsibilities to the rest of the world no less. Down the years some would be heard to cry, ‘Why us? Why couldn’t You choose someone else‽’
Where are we with the Balfour Declaration? It’s because of the oath God gave to Abraham that we had the Balfour Declaration in 1917 and that 100 years later we celebrated it in the Royal Albert Hall. It’s also because of that oath that God brought the Children of Israel back to the Land not once but twice as the prophets told us would happen. It’s all there in the Bible, all of it. The warnings and expulsion from the Land for disobedience and always God’s grace and mercy follows - the ‘Old Testament’ is full of God’s grace. This all makes a fantastic study in itself but that’s for another time.
I love Hosea and how poor old Hosea’s life becomes a visual aid of God’s relationship with Israel. In chapter 11 God says He ought to punish Israel but His compassion is overwhelming and He says, that He won’t execute His fierce anger, ‘for I am God and not man.’ What a powerful statement. God isn’t about to finish with Israel Such depth and emotion in this book – it’s a ‘must read’!
So God is keeping faithful to the covenant He made and there are tons of verses we could look up….the theme is woven right through the Bible.
Before we move on just one more passage – Isaiah 11:11 where God says He is going to recover a second time the remnant which is left – wow! What is more, He says how He will gather them from all over the world. This means not just from the east as when the Southern Kingdom was taken into exile to Babylon and allowed home seventy years later but this second gathering is from east, west, south and north. This we and our fore-fathers have witnessed over the last seventy years.
I don’t read about a third exile.
Anyway, back to the Land and the Covenant God made over Abraham. God does not break Covenant. Our amazing God is keeping His Word. And … if God has kept His Word so far we may assume with great confidence that He will continue to keep His Word to the very end.
Jane Moxon CMJ
PS: Of course if you think Abraham’s life is a series of made up stories my thoughts will fall through the floor to you but if you pick up the Bible and read it for yourself and ask God to show you the Truth, maybe, just maybe your Bible will remain full of pages with none cut out!