Where do things stand today?

Where do things stand today? June 21, 2018

 

Tiberias at night, with lake
A beautiful view of the Galilean city of Tiberias by night.  The lake, of course, is the Sea of Galilee, or Kinneret or Kinnereth.  Or the Lake of Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias.  It has multiple names.    (Wikimedia Commons public domain image.)

 

Carrying on with the first draft of my book on the Islam and the Middle East for Latter-day Saints:

 

At the beginning of this book, I said that we would treat the ques­tion of whether Orson Hyde’s mission to the Near East had been a success. The answer, I think, should by now be completely beyond dispute. It is clear that many portions of Elder Hyde’s inspired prayer have at least begun to be fulfilled.

  • Judah ‘s scattered remnants have indeed begun to gather back to Palestine, according to the predictions of the holy prophets. (Nowhere in scripture are we told what number of Jews need to return to the Holy Land, nor are we told what percentage of the world’s Jews need to be involved.) Large ships have returned them from virtually every corner of the earth.
  • Many foreign governments have gone to unusual lengths to assist Israel and to aid in the emigration of Jews to Palestine.
  • Israeli ingenuity and industry have reclaimed large tracts of desert land and restored them to fertility.
  • Jerusalem has been built up again. It is a beautiful city, with modern buildings, hospitals, a great university, museums, a philharmonic orchestra, and a vibrant commercial and cultural life. At the same time, much of its ancient and medieval charac­ter has been preserved. And, although many nations (until recently including the United States) do not officially recognize its status, Jerusa­lem functions today as the capital of a Jewish state.

But it is just as clear that certain portions of Elder Hyde’s prayer remain yet to be fulfilled.

  • No divinely authorized temple has yet been built in Jerusa­
  • No Davidic king presides over the gathered Jews.
  • The returning Jews have not, for the most part, come home with “a spirit of grace and supplication.” Many of them are thor­oughly secular, Jews only in a cultural sense. Their unbelief has not yet been conquered and subdued. From the perspective of the restored gospel, their hearts remain stony.

 

***

 

“In the Jewish tradition, there is at the same time Jerusalem in the heavens and Jerusalem on the ground. Jerusalem is a living city, but also the heart, the soul of the Jewish people and the state of Israel.”  (Yitzhak Rabin)

 

 

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