The Jew has been termed the mystery and miracle of history. Terrible have been the privations and persecutions which he has suffered and yet has he survived them all. For two thousand years Israel has been a homeless wanderer among the nations and yet has he preserved his individuality. Sore have been the Divine judgments inflicted upon him and yet God has not made a full end of Jacob's children.
In other chapters we have called attention to some of the numerous prophecies in both the Old and New Testaments which announce the revival of Israel, their return to Palestine, and their restoration to God's favor, and ere pointing out the manner in which some of these predictions are beginning to receive their fulfillment, we would quote just one other. In Matt.24:32, 33 we have a part of our Lord's answer to the disciples' questions -- |What shall be the sign of Thy coming and of the end of the age?| Here our Lord says, |Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that He (margin) is near, even at the doors.| The fig-tree symbolizes the nation of Israel -- compare Matt.21:19 etc. The putting forth of its leaves after the long winter of dispersion among and subjugation to the Gentiles, points to the reinvigoration of this ancient people. The taking on of new life by Israel is a sure sign that the return of the Redeemer is near at hand.
That the Fig-tree has begun to put forth leaves is evident to all who are acquainted with the leading events of the day. God is once more placing the Jew before the eyes of the men as those by whom He has blessed the world in the past and through whom He has purposed to bless it in the future. In a most noticeable manner the Jew is today commanding the attention of both the church and the world. Until the last fifty years the Jew had no place on our missionary program, but now we behold |Missions to the Jews| springing up in many lands. Others besides Christians are interested: the future of Palestine is being carefully pondered by all the leading diplomats. In every realm the Jew is pushing to the front. More and more his rights and claims are being recognized, and as he is allowed to enjoy common privileges he is making his mark in all the leading professions and arts: many of our most influential positions are now filled by the descendants of Abraham, and it is well known that they control the fiances of the world.
Perhaps the most significant and portentous episode in Israel's history since their dispersion was the formation of the |Zionist Society.| The Zionist movement has for its aim the return of the Jews to Palestine, and for its ultimate object the purchase of the Holy Land. During the past twenty years this movement has spread with startling rapidity. |All over the earth societies have been formed, bodies have been legally incorporated, and vast sums of money subscribed. Children are being taught that the day of Israel is at hand, and are speeding the ancient word |Zion| from lip to lip| (Haldeman). At the time the War began, there were upwards of 100,000 Jews who had returned to the land of their fathers. Colonies had been established everywhere and soil which had lain idle for centuries was once more tilled and sown by the offspring of David. |The land, as foretold by Jeremiah, is being bought and sold at the very gates of Jerusalem. The Jew is already the preeminent factor in the once holy city. He controls its business and is the present guaranty of its prosperity. His synagogues are rising within the shadow of the Mohammedan mosques. His lamentations for the city of the ancient splendors, and his prayer for the restoration of the former glory, and the swift descent of an avenging Messiah, resound every Friday beneath the moss covered stones of Solomon's walls, where thousands turn their faces and weep as they contemplate the past, reciting the penitential Psalms, and whose same tear-wet faces shine as they sing of the day when Zion shall be as a garden planted of the Lord, and when the holy hill of the great solemnities shall be the place for the soles of the feet of Him who is their promised King| (Haldeman). If all this became possible under the Turkish government who shall say what shall come to pass if, as now appears most probable, Palestine should become a British or American protectorate! Yes, the rejuvenation of the Jews and their return to Palestine is one of the most striking Signs of the Times. It tells us that the Times of the Gentiles are rapidly drawing to a close. The budding of the Fig-tree evidences that Israel's summer is nigh at hand and that their Messiah is even at the doors. Let us next consider --