Many will be quick to answer, “November 2nd is All Souls’ Day.” And that’s true! (Read: What is All Souls’ Day) However, on the calendars of liturgical churches (Catholic and some Protestant) it is a day designated to remember the souls of the dearly departed. In addition, November 2nd has another significance for the Body of Christ. There was an event on that day, more than 100 years ago, that should be remembered by all Christians. But sadly, very few are even aware of the event.
The Balfour Declaration — November 2, 1917
The issuing of The Balfour Declaration set in motion the fulfillment of God’s end-times prophesies. It triggered events that not only changed the course of human history, but also set the stage for God to begin fulfilling promises that He made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David thousands of years ago.
What Should Christians Know About the Balfour Declaration?
The Balfour Declaration was issued during World War 1. It was the British government’s public statement that led to the 1922 British Mandate for Palestine. The League of Nations issued the declaration and gave Great Britain temporary administrative control of Palestine. The mandate terminated on May 14, 1948 when the State of Israel was birthed.
The Balfour Declaration laid the groundwork for the Jews to return to their homeland. While many know about the Balfour Declaration, few remember the date of November 2, 1917 as a turning point in world history and a key event on God’s timetable. Even fewer, in our time, know about what preceded and influenced the issuance of the declaration.
One Man’s Significant Contribution
More than 1800 years before, the Jews were driven out of their homeland by the Romans when the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. And over the centuries they were dispersed worldwide. In 1894, the Dreyfus Affair in France made Jews keenly aware of the dangers of antisemitism and of a new movement to return Jews to their homeland began. One of the leaders in the movement was a scientist named Chaim Weizmann. His contributions to the war effort (WWI) had a direct impact on the founding of Jewish nation in 1948.
During World War 1, Germany controlled the production of acetone, an ingredient necessary for the production of weapons. Great Britain was without this important resource, until Chaim Weizmann invented a fermentation process that allowed them to manufacture their own liquid acetone and continue to produce weapons. Had this not happened, the British forces would have been seriously impaired and the nation likely would have lost the war.
Weizmann’s contribution drew the attention of Great Britain’s minister of ammunition, David Lloyd George, and former British prime minister Arthur James Balfour, who was the first lord of the Admiralty. Weizmann, along with other Zionist leaders such as Nahum Sokolow, pressured Britain’s leaders to support a Jewish homeland in Palestine. And in 1917, one year after Lloyd George became prime minister and Balfour was transferred to the Foreign Office, Balfour issued the declaration to British Jewish community leader Lord Walter Rothschild for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. It was published by the press on November 9, 1917.
The Balfour Declaration
November 2nd, 1917
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.
His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Yours sincerely, Arthur James Balfour
Events that Followed
When the declaration was issued in 1917, Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire. But in 1922, Great Britain took authority of the land. Sadly, in 1939, Great Britain reneged on the Balfour Declaration by issuing a White Paper that stated creation of a Jewish state was no longer a British policy. It wasn’t until 1948 that the mandates of the Balfour Declaration would be enacted.
The Birth of a Nation
On May 14, 1948, the nation of Israel was “born again.” The Jews were returned to their homeland, just as God had prophesied would one day happen.As Christians, we can understand that the Balfour Declaration set the stage for God to work, in His time and in His faithfulness, to fulfill His promises.
We might even see Arthur Balfour as a type of Cyrus, raised up by God to return the Jews to the land of their fathers, the promised land given to them by God. Additionally, we might consider Chaim Weizmann as a type of Esther — raised up by God “for such a time as this” to deliver the Jewish people.
We know God works in mysterious, wonderful, faithful, and perfect ways. Careful readers of the Bible know that God prophesied of this regathering of His people. He also prophesied of another regathering that is yet to come, when, again, the Jews will be regathered from the four corners of the earth (Isa 11:11ff).
The Balfour Declaration, the regathering of God’s people into their homeland, the restoring of the nation, the Hebrew language being revived — all set the stage for the next great event on the prophetic calendar, the Rapture of the Church. The Rapture will be followed by the seventieth week of Daniel (Read: What is the Seventieth Week of Daniel?) known as the seven years of tribulation. And then, in God’s perfect time, the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to set up His Kingdom of peace and righteousness.
It’s been more than 100 years since the Balfour Declaration was issued. It “paved” the way for the Jews to return to their homeland and for the nation to be born again.
Use this bit of history to share about how God was faithful to preserve His people and regather them into their homeland—just as He prophesied He would. And point out that all the other “-ites” of history have perished — the Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Amalekites, Moabites, etc. Yet, the Israelites remain.And that they would live in peace with their King sitting on the throne of David and ruling. Those promises are yet to be fulfilled, but they will come to pass when King Jesus returns and reigns.
Tell someone about Jesus on Halloween/Reformation Day (October 31st), on All Saints’ Day (November 1st), and on All Souls’ Day/Balfour Declaration Day (November 2nd). And tell someone about Jesus on every day of the year. Everyone needs the true hope and saving grace that only He can give.
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