Centenary of the Mandate for Palestine:Part 6 – The Spiritual & Prophetic Significance

July 8, 2023
Cyrus Cylinder in the British Museum
Cyrus Cylinder in the British Museum

This series has previously mentioned that the San Remo Resolution, which resulted in the Mandate for Palestine that was ratified in July 1922, enshrined into international law the title deed that Almighty God had given to the Hebrew Patriarchs as an everlasting possession. Perhaps this was not obvious at the time, but I believe this was what God was doing behind the scenes 100 years ago. 

At that time Great Britain, along with the empire that was attached to it, was the ‘world superpower’ of the day, although in decline by then. In the decades that followed, the United States of America would accede to that position. 

Nevertheless, Great Britain and its empire was responsible for the Balfour Declaration, the dismembering of the Ottoman Empire, which had inflicted a genocide on ethnic minorities within its empire, and the implementation of the Mandate for Palestine.

The Decree of Cyrus

This wasn’t the first time in recorded history that the ‘world superpower’ of the day would be responsible for facilitating the restoration of the nation of Israel. The Bible records that the head of the Persian Empire, King Cyrus, was given a similar role during the Babylonian exile in the 6th Century BC. 

What happened is recorded in a number of books in the Hebrew Scriptures, notably 2nd Chronicles (chapter 36), as well as the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. The Hebrew Bible, which has a different configuration to the Christian Old Testament, actually concludes with of the second Book of Chronicles, which itself closes with the decree of Cyrus: 

‘Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: “All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all of His people? May the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up!”’ (2 Chronicles 36:23)

One could say that this decree from the Persian king was ‘the international law’ of its time. Not only do we find it in the Bible, but it is also inscribed on the ‘Cyrus Cylinder’, which comes from the ancient Persian Empire and dates back to 538 BC. Today this ancient historic artefact resides in the British Museum! For those who believe in neither the authority nor the accuracy of the Bible, God provides extra-biblical evidence of something that so many today seek to deny: the Jewish historic connection to Jerusalem!

Restoration and the Coming of Messiah

So why was the return of the Jewish people and the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple so crucial back then? There could be many answers to that question, but I would like to offer just one: to prepare the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish people for the First Coming of Messiah—the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

More than 2,000 years after the Cyrus decree, the Lord raised up another great empire—the British Empire—the most extensive empire the world had hitherto seen. Apart from taking the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth, the British Empire would assume its ‘Cyrus’ role to facilitate the restoration of Israel to its ancient homeland once again.

San Remo Resolution: A Modern-Day Cyrus Decree to Prepare Jerusalem for the Second Coming of Messiah.

Sadly, many British people today hold the former British Empire in contempt, in the same way that they hold the gospel and the rebirth of the Jewish state in contempt. While there were atrocities committed in the name of the empire—after all we are a fallen humanity—nevertheless, the Lord had his purposes for the rise of the British Empire, just as with the Persian Empire in the days of Cyrus.

Some years ago, I produced and directed a documentary film, which was largely the vision my Australian historian friend Kelvin Crombie, who presented it. It was entitled ‘The Destiny of Britain’ and you can view a trailer (7 minutes) through the link given at the end of this article. It examines how Britain’s Christian heritage was instrumental in leading to the Balfour Declaration. 

San Remo and the Mandate for Palestine: The Modern-Day Cyrus Decree

The San Remo Resolution, and the Mandate that followed it, which raised the Balfour Declaration to the status of an international treaty, could be likened to the ‘Cyrus Decree’ for the modern era.

As was pointed out in the earlier article looking at the San Remo Conference in some detail, the territorial extent of the Jewish national home was discussed, and while the actual boundaries were not finalised then, the intention was expressed that it should incorporate the area of Israel’s domicile during the reigns of King David and King Solomon. Included within that is the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, and particularly Israel’s historic capital, Jerusalem.

So, why is this latter-day ‘Cyrus Decree’ so crucial in the purposes of God? I would suggest that it is to prepare the Jewish people, who have been largely scattered across the face of the earth for two millennia, the Land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem for the Second Coming of Messiah. His mission this time? To rule and reign over the whole earth from the throne of David—His throne—in Jerusalem. 

The City of the Great King—not ‘Al Quds’

The Lord Jesus once referred to Jerusalem as “the city of the great King” (Matthew 5:35)—in reference to Himself. Through the Prophet Zechariah, he declared: “I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, the Mountain of the Lord of hosts, the Holy Mountain” (Zechariah 8:3). 

Clearly, the Lord Jesus is not going to return to ‘Al Quds’ (the Arabic name for Jerusalem) as the capital city of an Islamic Palestinian state. And therein lies the heart of the Middle East conflict as we see it today – the onslaught of the demonic spiritual powers of darkness against the declared purposes of God. Most nations of the world, particularly the European Union and the United Nations, are hell-bent on disinheriting Israel of her historic capital city and her Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria. Certainly, in a spiritual sense, we are seeing the fulfilment of Zechariah 12: 2-3: “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will be cut in pieces …” I believe we are seeing the spiritual fulfilment of this prophecy in the BDS movement of today.

Britain’s betrayal of the Mandate for Palestine in the 1930s and 40s laid the groundwork for this to happen.

The ECI gathering at the Villa Devachan in 2010. Danny Danon is third from left in the front row.
The ECI gathering at the Villa Devachan in 2010. Danny Danon is third from left in the front row.

San Remo 90

As mentioned in a previous article, it was the San Remo Conference of 1920 that paved the way for all of the Mandates awarded to Britain and France in the former Ottoman Empire. Britain has sought to cover up its comprehensive violation of the Mandate for Palestine resulting in the records of the San Remo Conference being buried for several decades. In 2010 the European Coalition for Israel organised a commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the San Remo Resolution on 24th and 25th April at the Villa Devachan in Sanremo. Villa Devachan is where the original conference took place just over a century ago. The gathering included some international lawyers and around 30 intercessors from different nations, including the UK. At the conference there was repentance for the nations—particularly Britain—for ‘breaking the covenant’ made there, and a new declaration was signed affirming the original San Remo Resolution. The official report from the gathering records: 

We felt that Sunday (25th April) would be a day which we would dedicate to the Lord and His purposes for Israel. We read out His promises from the Word of God as we lifted up His name in worship.

The guest of honour to witness all of this was the then Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Danny Danon. He later served as Israel’s Ambassador at the United Nations (2015 to 2020).

The Time for Repentance

Real repentance is not just a question of apologising to Israel for Britain’s betrayal of the Mandate, but re-aligning its foreign policy with the spirit and the letter of the treaty that was entered into 100 years ago. At the time the international community unanimously endorsed this treaty. Without this repentance the United Kingdom remains on a collision course with the God of Israel.

The Lord, speaking through the Prophet Joel, gave us a dire warning: 

For behold, in those days, and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations. They have also divided up My Land. (Joel 3:1-2)

Isaiah chapter 60 is a passage of Scripture that relates to Israel in the latter days in which we are now living, and beyond. We see in this passage something of the dark days in which we are now living, but we also see the glory of the Lord arising upon Israel at such a time. We also see something of the return of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, and the wealth of the Gentiles being gathered to Israel. Although it is not directly mentioned, it also seems to reflect the glory of the Lord’s actual presence among His ancient people in Jerusalem – after His return. But there is also a dire warning in verse 12: “For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish, and those nations shall be utterly ruined.” Clearly there are many nations that fall into that category. 

In the final months of his earthly life in 2003 the renowned Bible teacher, Derek Prince, carried a deep burden for the welfare of the United Kingdom, as many intercessors do today. He believed that verse Isaiah 60:12 would be Britain’s fate if we are not prepared to repent before the Lord of our past actions, and once again to re-align ourselves with his purposes for Israel, as we were 100 years ago. The Lord’s ancient edict in Genesis 12:3 will come to pass either way: “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you.”

Today, as the reborn State of Israel passes its 75th anniversary against all odds – humanly speaking – should we not be looking to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and worshipping Him for His faithfulness to His covenant promises?

‘The Destiny of Britain’ trailer:

Whose Land?

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