PART 1 of 2
Jon Christian Ryter
May 2, 2012
I'm inclined to believe that there have been many times over the last century that God has looked down on planet Earth, shook His head in sad dismay and said, "That's enough. The stench of Man is an abomination that has finally reached the gates of Heaven." I believe there have been two cataclysmic end time "close calls" in modern history, as well as the staging period between the end of World War II and the climax of the "Cold War" which actually ushered in what we theologically refer to today as "the end times." What were those two cataclysmic events? World War I and World War II, and the decade immediately following each war. We could begin with World War II since, at the end of that war, the United Nations voted statehood on Israel and fulfilled Ezekiel's valley of dry bones prophecy with the rebirth of a nation that had been dead and buried since Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian army conquered the Jews (Judah) in 597 BC. (The 10 Northern tribes were conquered by the Assyrian, Shalmaneser V in 722 BC.) Most of the Jewish males were dispersed throughout the Assyrian Empire in the first of the two Diasporas. At that time, Shalmaneser V forced thousands of Assyrian citizens, loyal to Assyrian gods and customs, to repopulate Israel and generationally, erase not only the Hebrew customs and, more important, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob from the minds and memories of the former Hebrews, but any vestige of what used to be the nation Israel on land God granted to His people (which is the reason for the eons-old war between the Arabs and the Jews) which is what leads to the final conflict of mankind in the Valley of Megiddo where the last war man will fight will take place.
The second Diaspora occurred in 597 BC. Only, at the end of that captivity, the Jews from the Southern Kingdom (Judah and Benjamin) returned to the land of Palestine and restored Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. Keep in mind, Hebrews from the Northern Kingdom who remained loyal to Solomon's son Rehoboam, and those who escaped from the Assyrians in 722 BC, moved to the Southern Kingdom, maintaining the unbroken tribal identity of Jacob. There are, and never were, any "10 Lost Tribes of Israel." They were simply absorbed by Judah and like the Judahites today, are all collectively referred to as "Jews," the slang term for the Judahites.
The Jews from the Northern Kingdom who remained in the land married Aramaeans, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Caanites, Armenians, Moabites, Circassians and a host of other ethnic groups. Over the years, they were culturally assimilated into what is now Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Saudi Arabia so completely they no longer existed as Jews, nor acknowledge any Jewish ancestry.
Today, for the most part, they are known as Palestinians—the offspring of those left behind in what was originally Israel during both captivities. (Which is why the Arabs find the Palestinians personally distasteful.) Even though, by faith, the Palestinians are Muslims, most of them remain partially Jewish by blood. So, while the Arabs and Persians tolerate the Palestinians because they are Muslim, they don't trust them because, historically they carry Jewish blood in their veins. Palestinians are viewed as the gypsies of Islam. Collectively they have an unsavory reputation as notorious thieves and men without honor. The Palestinian camps in the Arab nations are ghettos of lawlessness and violence. In every nation where they have encampments, they have attempted to assassinate that country's leaders and seize control of the land since they, historically, have never possessed a homeland even though the Arabs insist that the Palestinians ruled Palestine before the Hebrews, or Hyksos (as they were called by the Egyptians) who conquered and ruled Lower Egypt until they were overthrown by Ahmose I and placed into slavery.
The Hyksos won their freedom from Thutmose III (you probably identify the Pharaoh Moses battled with for the freedom of the Jews as Ramses II based largely on the Cecil B. deMille epic, The Ten Commandments. Ramses II reigned from 1279 to 1213 BC—200 years too late to be the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Archeological digs support the Biblical view that the Jews were expelled from Egypt around 1447 BC. (Thutmose I was the Pharaoh who ordered all newborn Hebrew males slaughtered, and it was Thutmose III's sister, Hatsheput who raised Moses and was forced to abdicate her status of co-regent when Moses' Hebrew identity was revealed.) According to the Arabs, when the Hyksos were expelled from Egypt, they conquered much of Palestine around 1400 BC, taking the land away from its rightful owners—the Hittites.
History aside, let's begin with World War I not because it was the first war of the 20th century, or because the Jews in Palestine helped the British defeat the Turks in the Ottoman Empire (who conquered Palestine in 1517). In 1915, the British under Sir Henry McMahon made an agreement with Hussein, King of Hijaz, Sharif of Mecca in Transjordan. Hussein was the head of the Hashemite Dynasty. Hussein's understanding of the pact he made with McMahon was that, at the end of the war, Palestine would be surrendered to the Palestinians, giving them a homeland separate from the pure blood Arabs. Sir Arthur James Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary, made pretty much the same deal with the Jews. He devised a plan to establish a protected Jewish homeland in Palestine. Europe wanted to get rid of their Jews. So, for that matter, did US President Thomas Woodrow Wilson who pledged the cooperation of the United States, hoping that the communist Jews behind the labor union movement in New York and elsewhere in America would eagerly return to the land of their roots.
On Nov. 2, 1917, Balfour met with Lord [Baron] Walter Rothschild to discuss the creation of a Jewish homeland—Israel—in Palestine (Eretz Yisrael) with the rights of non-Jewish communities in Palestine being safeguarded by a League of Nations Mandate for Palestine—with England as the overseer of the dual nation to keep the peace. The Hashemite kings are the most direct descendants of Mohammad. Clearly at the end of the war, with the land promised to both the Arabs and the Jews, both felt they had been doublecrossed by the Brits. While about 100 thousands Jews (mostly from the Soviet Union) migrated to the League of Nations Jewish Protectorate in Palestine, the migration Balfour and the British government expected, which was the exodus of almost all of Europe Jews, did not happen.
But something else did. Since scores of Bible passages, beginning with Ezekiel 37:1-14 and Amos 9:11-13, predict the regathering of the Jews in their ancient homeland in the endtime, preceding the return of Jesus, the Balfour Proclamation was viewed as fulfilled prophecy, and triggered a worldwide revival, as men of God and the Christian laity suddenly realized the world war they had just experienced may have been a warning from God that mankind had entered the last days.
As Europe prepared to enter the 20th century it was a virtual boiling pot of intrigue as the princes of industry and barons of banking and business who controlled the industrial nation-states jockeyed for more political and economic power. Assassinations were the rule of the day. Treaties between nations were made and just as quickly broken. War was brewing on the continent, but in the opening days of the century, the signs were merely a disdainful rumbling, like the distant thunder of an impending storm that the world chose to ignore. Those who did seem to notice the problems on the horizons were not the money barons who were making plans to merge the nation-states into a global economic zone, it was the common man who does the fighting and dying in war to protect the wealth of the money barons, who felt the sense of impending doom.
One of those listening to the distant sounds of war was a 23-year old apprentice blacksmith in Wales named Evan John Roberts. From about age 11 Roberts regularly prayed for a religious revival in Wales. He was convinced that mankind was about to witness the second-coming of Jesus Christ, and he was equally convinced the world was not ready for that day. A year later, Roberts ran into an evangelist named Rev. Seth Joshua who changed his life. Roberts quit his job as a blacksmith and entered the Newcastle Emlyn Academy to prepare himself for the ministry.
Christianity was awakening in South Cardiganshire, Wales at that time with a smattering of Christian revivals taking place. Roberts would later admit it was during one of those revivals, about six weeks after arriving at the Newcastle Emlyn Academy, that he had his "born again" experience. And, he said, that spiritual awaking shook him to the core. In October, 1904 Roberts suspended his evangelical studies and returned to Loughor to began preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ at the Moriah Church in Loughor. After the second night of his Welsh revival, the services lasted about three hours (which was somewhat puzzling since Roberts was not what you would call an outstanding speaker or preacher). What held his congregations was the passion of his words, which brought the congregations to tears. Immediately, large crowds began to show up at his revivals. And the "prayer meetings" continued each night well past midnight. Interestingly, Evan Roberts never advertised nor received any special publicity for his prayer meetings. People simply began to show up—in increasingly larger numbers. Like Evan Roberts, the masses felt the doomsday scenario that was about to impact the whole world which would, within a decade, be swallowed by world war. That scenario would be repeated in 1940 with the Nazi scourge and a decade later with the threat of a nuclear holocaust at the hands of the Soviet Union, and again in the Reagan years—not pitting nation against nation, but culture against culture in a new form of warfare in which the enemy is not a nation but radical elements within enemy states who not only allowed, but encouraged and even financed their radicals to initiate guerilla warfare on their enemies. With the threat of the Soviet Union fueling the headlines, to the American people, the threat from the radicals at that time was viewed only as a troublesome pin prick from Islamic sand gnats.
The Christian renewal experience, which appeared to ebb briefly at the end of World War II, exploded with a 1904 Evan Roberts-renewal of faith in the 1980s as the Armageddon-threat from the Soviets fueled the revival pandemonium once again. It waned with the fall of the Berlin Wall and with the collapse of communism on Nov. 9, 1989 after 28 years, 5 months and 24 days of the building of a wall to divide Germany into communist and free blocs. With the threat of communism theoretically erased with the fall of the Wall (even though the collapse of the Soviet Union was a ruse to disarm America), Americans once again drifted away from their faith. Frayed in the radical 1960s, patriotism and national pride in the United States seemed to crumble with the Berlin Wall. They simply put their Bibles in a drawer or on a shelf to await the next crisis when they might need God.
In Evan Roberts' 1904 world, the crisis was a world outgrowing its national skin and a group of transnational industrialists and bankers determined to sew together a global skin in order to create a world government controlled by them—a new political order led by the richest men in the world. Sound familiar? It should. That's when it started. Tomorrow is when it happens. The world was in danger from the moment of Evan Roberts' premonition of tomorrow. The Balfour Proclamation opened the door to the endtime, but the doorway was only cracked slightly. Other prophecies, that are today being fulfilled at warp speed have opened that door wide. That's what Evan Roberts sensed in 1904, and that is what fueled his determination to spread the Word of God through Europe.
Within six months, the Evan Roberts revival inspired over 100 thousand converts to join the churches in Wales. And, it was spreading far beyond the walls of the Moriah Church in Loughor. Everywhere in Wales, in the coal-mining Welsh countryside, changed lives were proclaiming "Diolch Iddo," (Praise God) as law enforcement officials proclaimed a pronounced reduction in drunkenness and public profanity. Coal miners went to their jobs directly from Church. To the dismay of the only tavern owner owner in Loughor, it took six months to sell the inventory of beer he had previously sold in six days. The Swansea County Police Court reported they did not have a single arrest for drunkenness during New Year's Eve in 1905.
The world was changing for the worse, and the Europeans knew it. As the 20th century peaked over the horizon, the world was rapidly outgrowing its national skin and the transnational industrialists and bankers were busy fashioning a new global skin to replace it. War was coming and world government was chasing it. Spirit-filled gatherings spilled out of the churches and into homes, barns, quarries, and even in working coal mines—any place where people conglomerated, and were ready to hear about the Pentecostal saving grace of Jesus Christ. It was almost like the first century AD, all over again.
For nine months Roberts traveled throughout Wales visiting every mining town. Newspapers were now reporting his every move—and the size of the crowds which flocked to his revivals to experience what Roberts called the rebirth of Pentecostalism. But, as suddenly as Roberts appeared, he disappeared in July, 1905. Exhausted from the intensity of his preaching schedule, Roberts suffered both a physical and an emotional breakdown. He surrendered his ministry to the other pastors he worked with who were only too willing to pick up the mantle which had become too heavy for Roberts to carry.
Roberts' physical and emotional breakdown ended his role as the leader of the Welsh Pentecostal movement. Church leaders in Wales and around Europe criticized him for quitting without knowing why he did. In one of his last revivals in Cardiff, Roberts met a Christian couple named Penn-Lewis who took Roberts into their home when he fell ill. He stayed with them on-and-off until his death in 1951. During his initial stay of eight years, he helped Jessie Penn-Lewis write the book, "War on the Saints." And, during that period, Penn-Lewis created and published "The Overcomer" magazine. She went on to write several other books. Roberts never wrote the book that would have been a Christian bestseller. He chose instead to preach when he could, and live in virtual obscurity. He died in September, 1951 and was buried without fanfare in the family plot behind the Moriah Chapel in south Wales.
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Roberts' revival did more than ignite the spiritual fire in Europe that brought over 300 thousand souls to Christ. The Pentecostal spark Roberts ignited spread across three continents, igniting the flames of revival in Europe,. China and in the United States. The initial Pentecostal awakening in the United States is tied to the Keswick Conference at the Methodist Church on Southey Street, Keswick, England. It happened in 1905 when a Baptist preacher named Joseph Smale of the First Baptist Church of Glendale, California traveled to the Holy Lands to recuperate from a debilitating illness. For part two click below.
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