ZIONISM IN PROPHECY
MANY of our readers are aware that on the Editor's return from Palestine last June he delivered a discourse entitled "Jerusalem." Many Jews were attracted by the theme and considerable interest amongst them was aroused. That sermon and several others were published in Jewish papers. Then came interviews with editors, etc., and, finally, an invitation to address a Jewish Mass Meeting at the New York Hippodrome, with signatures on three sheets of paper.
Accordingly on Sunday, October 9, the Editor was met by a Committee of five prominent Hebrews, Brother Rutherford also accompanying us. The party went in automobiles. The meeting was an enthusiastic one. The number present was estimated at four thousand, and we were told that no finer representative class of Hebrews had ever before come together in one assemblage in New York.
The address was well received, but apparently it was unfortunate that some of the pamphlets, entitled "Jewish Hopes and Prospects," were given away at the conclusion of the meeting. Some of the Jews, without recognizing that that pamphlet was gotten out for our Christian readers, considered that by it we were endeavoring to entrap the Jews into Christianity. And Christianity to the Jews, especially Catholicism, means many persecutions which have come against their people for many centuries. Some understood the matter aright. Others felt offended, and during the Editor's absence in Europe last fall he was attacked as a "missionary"--which, in the Jewish mind, means everything mean, underhanded.
On our return from Europe in November we corrected the misunderstanding, so far as possible, through the Jewish newspapers. We informed them that we were not trying to "mission" the Jews, nor to make them members of either Catholic or Protestant Christian bodies. We were not even preaching Jesus to them. Our message was to the Jews as Jews, from Isaiah 40:1,2--"Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people; speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem; cry unto her that her appointed time is accomplished; that her iniquity is pardoned, for she hath received of the Lord's hand double." We declared that it was not our expectation that the Jews would return to Palestine as Christians. On the contrary, God's call and promises as respects Jerusalem are earthly promises to natural Israel.
To a few who asked quite deeply we explained that our understanding is that the Messiah of Prophecy is a great spirit company composed of many members, including English, French, German, Jews, etc.; that God is gathering this Messianic company to heavenly glory from every nation, people, kindred and tongue, and that only the saintly will be in and of it. We explained: We do not understand that Christians in general, any more than Jews in general, will have part in that Messianic Body and that it would be the furthest from our thought to have the Jews get as mixed up on different matters as are the majority of Christian people.
Since then several Jewish papers continue to publish our writings and we have had two more Jewish Mass Meetings. One of these was in Chicago. It was somewhat of a disappointment as to numbers, until we noticed that the Saturday on which it was held was a particularly unfavorable time. Many Jews expressed their disappointment in not being able to attend, because it would deprive them of their principal business day. Nevertheless the audience was estimated at fifteen hundred and we had excellent attention.
Our last meeting with the Jews was held in Philadelphia. It was not at all advertised in the secular press. In other words, it was a Jewish meeting. Garrick Theatre was full to the limit, with about three hundred standing, when the police, following the fire ordinance, forbade others to enter, and several hundred were turned away disappointed. That meeting was the most enthusiastic held thus far with the Jewish people. Their confidence in the Editor seems to be growing. Zionism from a prophetic standpoint seems to stir the Jewish heart as the subject never did from a political viewpoint.