Sound and Motion
“As I prophesied, there was a noise, and, behold, an earthquake; and the bones came together, bone to its bone” (Ezekiel 37:7 RVIC).
by James Parkinson
Until the 19th century, the Jewish population in Palestine was small. Intermittently, a few dozen Jews in the Diaspora would be allowed to immigrate to the Promised Land, but persecution, plague, and famine kept the numbers only in the thousands (with a peak of possibly ten thousand in 1741). In the mid-19th century British philanthropist Sir Moses Montefiore often visited and helped the Jewish community there, which numbered
about 6,400 (2,450 Sephardic and Orientals, 493 Ashkenazim, in Jerusalem).1
(1) David Ben-Gurion, The Jews in their Land, revised edition, New York,
Then several events cascaded into the reality of new Jewish communities being established in Palestine. In June/July 1878, a Congress of Nations met in Berlin to resolve the Russo-Turkish War, during which conference the Ottomans agreed with their ally, British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli,2 to allow anyone (including Jews) to buy and own land in Palestine.
(2) Benjamin’s father, Isaac Disraeli, feuded with his synagogue in 1813
and in 1817 had his children baptized in the Anglican Church! Benjamin’s baptism ultimately meant that he would not be excluded from Parliament. Disraeli became Prime Minister for several months in 1868, and again 1874-1880.
Lucifer knows, as well or better than we, that Israel’s return is a prelude to his binding and to the establishment of Christ’s thousand-year Kingdom (e.g., Daniel 12:1-3). Thus, when the Jews began returning, Lucifer was desperate to stop it. The Ottoman Empire (strongly Muslim) was used to halt the return until its resistance was damaged by revolts and bankruptcy. Pogroms in Eastern Europe were used to hobble Jewry (although indirectly they enhanced Jewish desire to return to their homeland). Similarly, the nations of Western Christendom intermittently staged hate-Jews campaigns and violence against them, such as the Dreyfus case in France, and ultimately the Holocaust in Germany. Currently, Leftist-Atheist nations are in the forefront of hate-Israel campaigns. Muslim countries openly want to destroy Israel and all Jews worldwide.
Israel’s only allies are many Jews still in Diaspora (dispersion), and some Christians, primarily in the West. Hence, Lucifer’s current determination is to destroy Israel (which Jehovah God will not permit, per Amos 9:14-15) and to take down the West. Let us consider how the Jewish return began:
The “noise” of Ezekiel 37:7 (KJV) may be better translated “voice” or “sound.” The “shaking” of Ezekiel 37:7 (KJV) is perhaps better translated “rattling” or “earthquake.”
Likely the earliest “voice” might be from Joseph Wolff and other British Adventists in the 1820s. They taught worldwide “the doctrine of the imminent return of Christ, a belief in the restoration to Palestine and the mass conversion of the Jews.”3 British philanthropist Moses Montefiore in the mid-19th century contributed much to build the suffering Jewish
communities in Palestine and he was at that time allowed to buy land for Jewish settlers at Jaffa, Tiberias, and Safed. But it was not quite yet the time for new Jewish communities to be established with Jews from the Diaspora.
(3) Arthur Whitefield Spalding, “Origin and History of Seventh-Day Adventists,” Volume 1, Washington, DC, Review and Herald, 1961.
Alternatively, the “voice” or “sound” might be the seventh trumpet (Joshua 6:15-16, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, R2506, whether or not before the trumpet blast of Revelation 11:15). So the “shaking,” “rattling,” or “earthquake” could refer to events on the nation then ruling Palestine, the Ottoman Empire (which had ruled since 1517, the year the Reformation began) — the Turks.
A Series of Ottoman Reverses
The Long Depression (1873-1890s) began with a stock market panic on May 29, 1873, in Vienna, and then September 20 in New York (Tishri 1, Rosh HaShanah, was September 22). The Autumn, 1874, planting in the Balkan Peninsula resulted in a miserably-poor harvest in the Spring of 1875. The Muslim rulers still demanded the very high taxes from Christian farmers, which led to the “Christian Revolt” in mid-1875 in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The revolt was brutally repressed. Ultimately the Ottoman Empire declared bankruptcy in October, 1875, and refused to repay its debts to the Christian nations in Europe. Disraeli’s Great Britain became the Ottoman’s only European ally.
In 1876, Serbia and Montenegro declared war on the Ottoman Empire, which too was brutally repressed. (In England, Prime Minister Disraeli ignored the “rumors” of brutality and sided with the Turks; his rival, William Gladstone, sided against the Turks.) Alarmed, Russia in April 1877, declared war on the Turks and conquered lands east of the Black Sea, and on the west, they had conquered as far as Adrianople by the next January. The British navy now came to aid the Ottomans. Russia then imposed on the Ottomans the Treaty of San Stefano, March 3, 1878 (February 19, Julian calendar), by which Russia would dominate the Balkans. That treaty, giving Russia dominance in the Balkans, was unacceptable to the rest of Europe so a Congress of Nations was convened in Berlin to modify it (June 13 to July 13, dominated by Otto von Bismarck).
Abdül Aziz was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1861 until he was deposed in May, Then his more-educated nephew, Murad V, ascended but became depressed and was deposed within three months. Abdül Hamid
II became on Sultan August 31 and reigned until he was deposed in 1909. Some European Jews, led by Yehoshua Stampfer, bought some land in the Achor Valley in 1876, but Abdül Hamid II cancelled that purchase and forbade them to settle there.
In 1878, with the Ottoman Empire militarily and financially on the ropes, Disraeli persuaded Abdül Hamid II to thenceforth allow anyone to buy and own land in Palestine. Stampfer’s group purchased from Christian owners a parcel of land east of Tel Aviv in the Yarkon River Valley on July 30 and called it Petah Tikvah (or more accurately, Petach Tiqvah; meaning “Gateway of Hope”). Abdül Hamid II knew the poor quality of this land
and so allowed its purchase. Stampfer’s foresight was soon revealed. The Eastern European Jews left Jerusalem in late October and arrived at the Petah Tikvah site on November 3, 1878. More land was bought in 1880, but
in 1880-1881 malaria killed many of the Jewish settlers and compelled the rest to abandon the site. But then Baron Edmond de Rothschild sent funding to drain the swamp, and Petah Tikvah was resettled in 1883. (Today, with a population of about 236,000, it is the fifth-largest city in Israel.)
Thereafter, one to three new settlements each year were bought and established in Palestine. By April 1942, much land had been purchased along the Mediterranean coast from Jaffa/Tel Aviv to Haifa and Acre, then along the Plain of Esdraelon and Jezreel Valley, then northward in the Jordan Valley to perhaps 10 km beyond the Waters of Merom.4
(4) Martin Gilbert, Jewish History Atlas, NY, Macmillan, 1969, page 94.
Beneath the Surface
In retrospect, the Ottoman Empire had reached the peak of its influence during the early Reformation, and after failing to capture Vienna (1529, and again 1683), things began going sour. Since the 15th century, its capital had been Constantinople (unofficially contracted to Istanbul), on the European side of the Bosporus.5 But in the 19th century, it became known as “the Sick Man of Europe” (coined by Czar Nicholas I), not economically functional by its own strength.
(5) The Turks, who ruled the Ottoman Empire, are a Caucasian people (Hebrew Togarmah, Greek Thorgama in Genesis 10:3, and Thergama in Ezekiel 38:6, from which we get the word Turk).
The Islamic “no-negotiation-with-infidels” policy of the Ottomans alienated their Russian and Germanic neighbors. The 1875 Ottoman bankruptcy alienated the rest of continental Europe. With Balkan “shakings” for independence, scarcely a hundred miles from the Ottoman capital, they needed help. They needed British support (military and financial), while
Britain needed them to keep the Suez Canal open for the British Empire. Hence, the Sultan needed to listen to Disraeli about Jews and Palestine.
William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898) was four times British Prime Minister (as a Whig, or Liberal): 1868-1874, 1880-1885, 1886, and 1892-1894. His arch-rival, Benjamin Disraeli, a Tory or Conservative, was twice Prime Minister: 1868 and 1874-1880. Queen Victoria despised Gladstone and favored Disraeli. Disraeli pressed for her to be crowned “Empress of India” on May 5, 1876, and she rewarded him by making him “Lord Beaconsfield.”
When Gladstone returned to power in 1880 (and Disraeli died in 1881), British relations with the autocratic Abdül Hamid II frayed significantly. The Sultan banned Russian Jews from immigrating to Palestine (April 28, 1882). Still, new communities had formed that year: Rishon le Zion and Samaria, while Petah Tikvah and Rosh Pina (formerly GeiOni) were resettled. In 1908 and 1909 Young Turks, who favored the Jews, revolted and deposed Sultan Abdül Hamid II.
After four centuries, Ottoman opposition to the return of the Jews to the Promised Land led to its downfall. In contrast, British favor for the return, including the Balfour Declaration advocating the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, was rewarded with victory in World War I. Subsequently the British reneged on that favor, and now the Sun has set on the British Empire. After the pogroms against the Jews in 1881-1884 and 1902-1906, Czarist Russia was overthrown by communism in 1917. Adolf
Hitler grew progressively more vicious against the Jews, and his Third Reich lasted but twelve years (well short of the thousand years he had
forecast). Perhaps these should be included in the noise among the nations that would be associated with the bones of Ezekiel’s prophecy coming together.
A Pure Language?
Jewish immigrants to Palestine spoke many different languages: Arabic, Ladino (Hebrew dialect of Spanish), Yiddish (Hebrew dialect of German), Georgian (Kart’velian), and others. Eliezer Ben-Yehuda came from Lithuania in 1881, spoke only Hebrew at home and among others, and began composing a 17-volume Hebrew dictionary (which after his death
in 1922 was completed by his family). Eliezer Ben-Yehuda’s intent was to make Hebrew the common language among Jewry in Palestine. Just before Britain received the League of Nations Mandate over Palestine, Britain on November 29, 1922, recognized Hebrew as the common language of Jews there.
Herzl and Zionist Congresses
Theodor Herzl was a journalist who covered the Dreyfus trial in Paris in 1894.6 The following year he published The Jewish State, advocating a Jewish nation in Palestine. He, with Max Nordau and others, organized the
1st Zionist Congress at Basel, August 29-31, 1897, which met annually through 1901, then biannually until 1913, interrupted by World War I. It met again in 1920, then biannually from 1923 to 1939, and for the 22nd time, in Basel, Switzerland, December 1946.
The First Aliyah (going up, as to Jerusalem) in 1882-1903 brought agricultural Jews, spurred by Russian pogroms. The Second (1904-1914) and Third (1919-1923) Aliyahs included also an emphasis on defense. The Fourth
Aliyah (1924-1929), enhanced by anti-Jewish sentiment in and near Poland, added small business and light-industry. The Fifth Aliyah (1929-1939), pushed by the rise of Nazism, brought in professional people. Initially, Hitler arranged for 50,000 Jews to be transferred to Palestine, before beginning the Holocaust.
The Holocaust decimated the Jewish population of Central Europe. The fall of the Soviet Union allowed most Jews from Eastern Europe to emigrate to Israel. The remaining concentration of Diaspora Jewry is in the West, primarily in the US (comparable to Israel’s Jewish population), Canada, France, Britain, and Argentina. We wait to see what geopolitical events
cause western Jews to go back to Israel.
Current best estimates are that, of nearly 15 million Jews worldwide, 6,668,000 are in Israel, 6-7 million in the US, 456,000 in France, 390,000 in Canada, 289,500 in the UK, 180,500 in Argentina, 176,000 in Russia, 116,500 in Germany, 113,200 in Australia, and 93,800 in Brazil.7
Why, after more than a century, is Israel not already fully back in the land? (About 45% of world Jewry are.) Perhaps Zechariah 12:7 (ASV) suggests the answer: “Jehovah also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem be not magnified above Judah.” The sojourners of the Gospel Age, the faithful church, are to be completed first, in order to become the priesthood that will rescue fleshly Israel. “In that day, that I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all the peoples; all that burden themselves with
it shall be sore wounded; and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it” (Zechariah 12:3 ASV and Joel 3:16-17).
Historical Note on Zionist Congresses
The first Zionist Congress was held on August 29-31, 1897, in Basel. Twenty-one more followed: 1898, 1899 Basel. 1900 London. 1901, 1903, 1905, Basel. 1907 The Hague, 1909 Hamburg, 1911 Basel, 1913 Vienna, 1920 London, 1923 Carlsbad (Czeckoslovakia), 1925 Vienna, 1927 Basel, 1929 Zurich,
1931 Basel, 1935 Lucerne, 1937 August Zurich, 1939 August Geneva, 1946 December Basel. The 1903 Congress declined settlement in Uganda, Africa. Herzl died on July 3, 1904.