The above words by Ken Gilmore (quoted from BereaPortal Discussion Forum) demonstrate the vital importance of the assumed link in the minds of Christadelphians between Bible prophecy and the modern State of Israel. If Israel disappeared "you'd have a very big problem for Christianity" wrote Ken. In other words, if the link was shown to be coincidental, Ken would be likely to have a very big problem with his own faith.
To a large extent, the faith of most Christadelphians is predicated on this supposed link because there is no other coherent argument to support the paranormal content of Christadelphian belief. Human belief in supernatural things requires "magical" evidence to convince adherents that they are thinking sensibly. For the Christadelphians that "magic" is modern Israel and the apparent Biblical predictions of its revival in modern times. This note examines the evidence for that link and finds it to be lacking.
By expounding Bible prophecy, the founder of the Christadelphian movement, Doctor John Thomas, predicted that hundreds of historical things would happen, including the return of Christ in 1866. Almost none of those things, including the return of Christ, came true. Even the very small number of things that did come true all happened approximately one hundred and fifty years ago, causing the majority of Christadelphians today to accept that he was also mistaken about the things that he did get right, because quite obviously that was NOT the time of the end and therefore it was mere coincidence that some things did work out as he predicted.
Few Christadelphians today would advance those predictions as evidence of the accuracy of Bible prophecy or of Dr Thomas's talent to predict the future. They accept that those historical events had nothing to do with Bible prophecy and that God did not predict the exploits of Napoleon, or the Sultan of Turkey, or any of the other eighteenth and nineteenth century events in exquisite detail as expounded by John Thomas.
Dr Thomas made so many errors that in the various republications of his works, successive publishers have been obliged to clean them up by removing entire sections so that future readers will be unable form their own judgment about the Doctor's inaccuracy in expounding scripture. For example in the preface to the 1924 edition of Elpis Israel, Christadelphian magazine editor CC Walker wrote:
"From pages 388, 446 and 448, some erroneous anticipations that the efflux of time has manifested concerning the end of the age, have been omitted as a matter of course".
Every time that work gets republished more material gets thrown out by editors of the Christadelphian magazine. In the forward to the latest (2000) version it is written:
"The third part of the book deals with prophecy in relation to world affairs. Here understanding was influenced by an expectation of the Lord’s early advent, which proved premature, and much that has now to be treated with reserve derived from this outlook".
In fact the works of Dr John Thomas, the founder of Christadelphianism, are so riddled with mistakes that very few young Christadelphians have ever seen or read them. They have been replaced by more recent works by modern Christadelphian writers.
However there is one prediction of Dr Thomas that partly came true, even if most of it was not fulfilled by the events of history. I quote from "Elpis Israel":
"There is, then, a partial and primary restoration of Jews before the manifestation, which is to serve as the nucleus, or basis, of future operations in the restoration of the rest of the tribes after he has appeared in the kingdom. The pre-adventual colonization of Palestine will be on purely political principles; and the Jewish colonists will return in unbelief of the Messiahship of Jesus, and of the truth as it is in him. They will emigrate thither as agriculturists and traders, in the hope of ultimately establishing their commonwealth, but more immediately of getting rich in silver and gold by commerce with India, and in cattle and goods by their industry at home under the efficient protection of the British power."
Approximately one hundred years after these words were published, part of this prediction came true when in May 1948 the State of Israel was established in Palestine.
For twenty years, following my baptism into the Christadelphian faith I gave hundreds of Christadelphian lectures declaring my conviction that in modern Israel we had witnessed a miracle and that therefore the Bible was authentic. Then in late 1985 I realized to my horror that I had been seriously mistaken. I came to the following conclusions:
1. That the prediction of Dr Thomas about the Jews returning to Palestine was altogether different to the way that the events surrounding the creation of modern Israel happened. Therefore he did not really predict that event, because most of his prediction was falsified by the actual events. He merely made a lucky guess which was fulfilled by a coincidence, not by the hand of God.
2. That the Biblical prophecies that Dr Thomas referred to in making his prediction also did not in any way accurately predict the events surrounding the creation of modern Israel. Not only were they highly contradictory of each other, but they predicted something entirely different that actually did partially happen during the Bronze Age, approximately two and a half thousand years before modern Israel came into existence. Those Biblical prophets certainly did not envisage or predict a second fulfilment of their prophecies twenty five centuries after their own deaths.
3. That for a person to seek to distort the content and meaning of both the original Bible prophecies and the words of Dr John Thomas to refer to modern Israel, is to be opportunistically, intellectually dishonest. It's rather like the believers in the predictions of Nostradamus claiming that his writings predicted the rise of Hitler, the death of Princess Dianna and the 911 destruction of the Twin Towers. No they did not. There was a partial and incomplete coincidence between his predictions and those events in history. But it is not intellectually honest to claim that the former presaged the latter. To proclaim such a thing to the general public is nothing short of fraudulent behaviour.
The Dr Thomas Prediction About Palestine
I want to explain to you in more detail how and why I came to the above conclusions. First let us consider the predictions of Dr Thomas. Notice in the Elpis Israel quote above:
"They (Jews) will emigrate thither ....... in the hope of ultimately establishing their commonwealth".
Dr Thomas did not predict the establishment of the State of Israel; he merely predicted an influx of Jews into Palestine.Notice also the last phrase of the Elpis Israel quote
".... under the efficient protection of the British power".
At the time Dr Thomas wrote those words in 1848, Britain, not America, was the World super-power. Palestine was governed by Turkey, who would never tolerate a migration of Jews to Palestine. In the twentieth century, World War I ended control of Palestine by the Turks and the country came under British rule. To secure help from the Zionists, the British issued the Balfour Declaration in 1917, which endorsed Palestine as a national home for Jewish people. But the policy backfired and only served to alienate the Arabs.
During the period of British mandate (1922-1948), the Jewish population grew from 50,000 to 600,000 people. In 1939 the British terminated their support for Zionism in order to win the support of Arab nations for the war against Germany and the axis powers. The Jews in Palestine immediately started a program of violent terrorism against the British occupying power, which was partly suspended during the Second World War. At the conclusion of the war the Jewish terrorist campaign against both the British and the Palestinians was restarted with a vengeance and large numbers of British troops were killed by the Jews. The British sought to pacify the Arabs by severely restricting Jewish migration and even turned Jewish migration ships away from Palestine and back to Europe, including to Germany where the Nazi holocaust against the Jews had recently been terminated.
So Dr Thomas was quite wrong when he predicted that the Jews would return under the efficient protection of the British power. The British did all that they could to prevent the Jews from returning and even executed many of those that did return as punishment for terrorist atrocities. The British created an arms embargo to prevent weapons from being imported by the Jews to defend themselves against Arab attack. In fact the British did everything in their power to destroy the Jewish attempt to create a homeland in Israel. At the United Nations vote in 1947 to decide if Israel would be established, the British did NOT vote in favour and instead abstained.
On 14 May 1948, to further pacify the Arabs, the British abandoned Palestine at a few days notice and allowed the Arab nations of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq to invade the Jewish controlled areas of Palestine. The British authorities assumed that the Jews would be annihilated within days. However the Arabs betrayed each other and amid the confusion they were repelled by the new Israeli State.The Christadelphians proclaimed the whole thing to be a miracle and as a young person growing up in a Christadelphian family I believed the untruth.
In fact the closer we look at the matter, the more we come to realize that Dr Thomas and the Christadelphians were in error about the whole thing; which strengthens my contention that the events surrounding the creation of the State of Israel were coincidental to Bible prophecy and in no way a fulfilment of those writings.
Dr Thomas in Elpis Israel predicted that the Jews would live in "a land of unwalled villages, whose inhabitants are at rest, and dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls" under the protection of "Moab" and"Tarshish" - that he wrongly identified as Britain. Instead, the Jews created their own nation of Israel despite the British; they have built hundreds of miles of high walls to keep out Arab terrorists and after suffering numerous attacks and suicide bombings they most certainly cannot be considered to have been dwelling "safely."
In Elpis Israel Dr Thomas predicted that Britain would also occupy Egypt, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia along with Palestine at the "Time of the End", together with a great deal of other nonsense. None of it has come true and it obviously never will because Britain is now a bankrupt, toothless old lion of a country.
In reality, the past one and a half centuries have proved that almost the entire collection of predictions by Dr Thomas were as false as his mistaken prediction that Christ would return in 1866. Israel was re-established, but in an entirely different way to that predicted by Dr Thomas. Therefore it is intellectually dishonest to ignore his multitude of mistaken predictions and instead focus on the one that did happen.
It was not cause and effect. It was coincidence and the proof that it was coincidence is the fact that the hundreds of other Dr Thomas predictions were false. In fact Elpis Israel was an entire catalogue of mistaken predictions except for the Israel one which partly came true more by luck than judgement. Yes it was a sensational co-incidence, but no more than the sensational prediction by Nostradamus of the rise of Hitler.
The Original Bible Prophecies
It is also intellectually dishonest for Christadelphians to claim that Biblical prophets such as Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Zechariah and others predicted the establishment of the nation of Israel in modern times. They did no such thing and those prophets would be shocked to learn that their writings were so misused by a religious sect two and a half millennia after they were written.
Those predictions were written during the Bronze Age at a time when many of the Jews had been exiled from their land into Babylonia, which was the dominant superpower of the day. To encourage the Jews in their despair, Israelite prophets predicted that they would eventually return to their land; rebuild their homes and their temple. It is inconceivable that those prophets ever imagined a repeat of history two and a half thousand years later. There is no hint whatsoever in those predictions that they have a dual nature in which they will be fulfilled twice. It is fraudulently opportunistic to nowadays claim that those predictions meant something that the original writers never intended. Even if we concede (which I do not) that God inspired the writings, there still remains no indication of any sort that God intended or predicted a dual nature to their fulfilment. To do that is to force a meaning into those ancient texts which was never there in the first place in order to twist them to pretend that they predicted historical events since 1948. That is nothing short of deceit on the part of the Christadelphians.
No one knows better than me that it was and is a deceit, because no Christadelphian is guiltier of that manipulation of the truth than me: John Bedson. I wrote, published and paid for the full colour booklet "The Destiny of Israel and the Future of the World" when the CMPA were still publishing in back and white. I wrote, produced and financed the 16mm film "The Miracle of Israel" for the Christadelphians in the nineteen eighties that was sold and used all around the World. I produced and paid for the million full colour leaflets that advertised that film. I gave hundreds of Christadelphian lectures about Israel being a fulfilment of Bible prophecy. I stood on the stage of the Birmingham Town Hall with Christadelphian Brother John Allfree and we lectured thousands of Christadelphians and others about Bible prophecy and modern day events.
When I produced those aids and prepared those lectures I was constantly perplexed by the contradictory nature of the source material in the Bible prophecies. I had to selectively pick out the Bible verses that suited my purpose and ignore the hundreds of verses that contradicted my thesis. I knew full well that there was no indication of a second fulfilment of those prophecies. But because of my naive conviction that Christadelphianism was the one true faith, I concealed the truth from the public and from the Christadelphians who listened to, read and watched my work. I rejoiced in the praise for my work and the adoration of Christadelphians for my intellectual prowess in expounding those mysteries.
But I tell you now, with shame and deep humility in my heart, that deep down I knew that I was lying. I did think that I was telling you the truth at the time; but I also knew that I was concealing a mountain of problems with those original texts that did not really support what I was claiming.
I know that current prominent Christadelphians know that what I am saying is the truth and that they are also concealing the truth form you. Because those prophecies have not altered since I left the Christadelphian fellowship in 1985. They know as well as me that those prophecies are a mixed up jumble of often contradictory predictions and that nowhere do they indicate a second fulfilment of their words in modern times.
I lied to you then and prominent Christadelphians are lying to you now. In their minds they think that they are telling the truth. But they know that they are picking the Bible verses that suit their purpose and ignoring the inconvenient others.
That is how I know that Bible prophets did not predict modern Israel. Because I was one of the many Christadelphian crooks who fooled you into believing this lie. Poor, deluded, Iron Age prophets pretended to predict this nonsense and people like me and all of the other prominent Christadelphian brethren, including Dr Thomas fooled, you into thinking that we could interpret it for you.
Please forgive us and realise that modern Israel has nothing whatsoever to do with the predictions of those ancient Israelite madmen. We prominent Christadelphian speaking brethren can offer you nothing to prove or support the validity of this Christadelphian religion. You need to do what I did in 1985 and face up to the awful reality that the Christadelphian faith it is one big mistake.