Sunday, December 05, 2004

The Power of Heritage

This morning's reading is the chapter "Palestine" in Margaret Macmillan's book, Paris 1919. This chapter is part of several that make up a section under the title of "Setting the Middle East Alight." These chapters describe how the victorious allied powers after World War I, established the modern Middle East and sowed the seeds of which we have already seen the fruit, see the continuing harvest in today's present situation, and see portends of days to come.

The chapter on Palestine provides a good summary of the diplomacy and intrigue underlying the ultimate settlement leading to the British Mandate of Palestine from the League of Nations. It's fascinating reading. What is obvious but worthy of remembering is that the sympathy and support for the Zionist cause by the leaders of Britain and America were rooted in the deep soil of the common heritage that these Christian Nations shared with the Jewish people. The Christian Faith, growing from the root of Judaism, was what leaders like Lloyd George and Arthur Balfour were nurtured on from their youth. Macmillan points out that both men had grown up on the bible and that Lloyd George "was taught far more about the history of the Jews than about the history of (his) own land." Woodrow Wilson called himself the "son of a manse" and felt honored that he "should be able to help restore the the Holy Land to its people."

Despite Arab protests and refusal to recognize the mandate, the course of history rolled onward. The Word of God, having taken root in the hearts and minds of these men, helped shape the future course of world history. God, the "ruler of the kings of the earth" (Revelation 1), worked behind the scenes utilizing his earthy agents, to carry out his higher purpose.

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