Associate Editor’s Note: In Dan Juster’s message at a recent IHOP conference, he made reference to Christians assisting the Jews in establishing the modern State of Israel. This article from The Jerusalem Connection tells the story of one of those individuals.
By Victor Sharpe | From The Jerusalem Connection
This is the story of a remarkable Christian Zionist who did so much for the cause of Zion in the early years of the 20th century.
John Henry Patterson was the product of an Anglo-Irish family. He was born on November 10, 1867 in Ireland to a Protestant family and died in 1947 – one year before the rebirth of the Jewish State of Israel. Following the family’s military tradition, he joined the British army and served with the 16th Lancers in Lucknow, India. He was sent in 1898 to East Africa where he was engaged in building a railway bridge at Tsavo. The African workers were being terrorized by man eating lions and Patterson was successful in restoring order and killing the marauding lions. He later wrote a book about his exploits titled, The Man-Eaters of Tsavo.
According to the writer, Ami Isseroff, Patterson served in South Africa during the Boer War and retired from the army in 1911. At the outbreak of World War I in 1914, he rejoined the army, saw service in Flanders and was subsequently sent to Egypt. It was while he was visiting Alexandria that he met the two men who would transform his life and make him a lifelong passionate and ardent Zionist.
Yosef Trumpeldor and Ze’ev Jabotinsky, two Jews who had earlier left Russia were attempting in 1915 to form a Jewish brigade to fight with the British and Anzac Forces against the Ottoman Turks. They were meeting constant obstacles and refusals by high ranking officers of the British High Command who were often anti-Jewish and did everything in their power to prevent a Jewish military unit from seeing active duty. Turkey, which had allied itself with Germany at the outset of World War I, ruled Mesopotamia and vast swathes of the Middle East, including the geographical territory known as Palestine, and was resisting allied pressure to oust them from their 400 year old occupation of the region.
Jabotinsky, arguably the greatest Zionist leader of his time, had sought to revive the same long dormant Jewish fighting spirit that had led the Maccabees to victory over the Greek-Syrian invaders of Judea 2,200 years earlier. He and Trumpeldor met Patterson and they immediately became firm friends, sharing the same longing for a rebirth in its ancestral and biblical homeland of a reconstituted Jewish state. Indeed, Patterson was to become the commander of the Zion Mule Corps with the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
On March 31, 1915, Lt. Colonel Patterson officiated at the swearing in ceremony of the new Jewish volunteers for the Mule Corps. He invited the soldiers to pray with him that he should, “not only, as Moses, behold Canaan from afar, but be divinely permitted to lead you into the Promised Land.” He wrote in his diary about the military training camp that, “ … never since the days of Judah Maccabee had such sights and sounds been seen and heard in a military camp – with the drilling of uniformed soldiers in the Hebrew language.” Jabotinsky had made it a personal mission to help revive the ancient language of the synagogue liturgy into the new vibrant functional language of a revived and hoped for Jewish state.
Lt. Colonel Patterson. with Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky and Yosef Trumpeldor serving as a fellow officers, led the Zion Mule Corps onto V Beach during the ill-fated Gallipoli Campaign. Half of the Mule Corps had been arbitrarily seconded to Anzac forces who treated them badly and eventually sent them back to Egypt. Patterson, with the remaining 300 soldiers, saw action against the Turks during which time 14 of his men were killed and several more wounded.
The Mule Corps was disbanded in 1916, a result of relentless pressure by anti-Jewish elements in the British High Command. Patterson had been wounded at Gallipoli but eventually recovered and returned to Ireland where he commanded the 4th Royal Irish Fusiliers and the fifth Royal Dublin Fusiliers. In July, 1917 he was made commander of the 38th Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, which happened to be one of three battalions of the Jewish Legion. The soldiers who comprised these three battalions were British and foreign Jewish personnel. Marching through the East End of London, prior to leaving to join the fighting in the geographical territory of Palestine, they were met with a tumultuous and joyful reception by Jewish and Christian Londoners who lined the streets of Whitechapel to cheer on the departing battalion.
Still smarting under British High Command reluctance to allow them to see active service in the front, Colonel Patterson and his Jewish Legion were forced to remain out of the fighting. Severe Allied losses however forced the High Command to finally let the Jewish Legion enter the campaign. By now some 5,000 Jewish soldiers were serving in the three Battalions.
The relentless anti-Jewish persecution by the British High Command towards the Jewish Legion and the serial disdain that Lt. Colonel Patterson received in reply to his long and valiant entreaties on behalf of the Jewish forces finally led him to resign in 1920. That he was never promoted, despite his outstanding record as an officer and commander, is a bitter reflection upon the endemic hostility by elements within the British Government and military towards both the Jewish Legion and the Jewish community in Palestine. Yosef Trumpeldor was later killed in 1920 while helping to defend a Jewish farmstead from Arabs at Tel Hai in Galilee.
Patterson went on to write two books about his experiences both as commander of the Zion Mule Corps –With the Zionists at Gallipoli (1916) – and the Jewish Brigade – With the Judeans in Palestine (1922). But after the war, John Henry Patterson grew yet more active in supporting Jewish rights in British Mandatory Palestine. Indeed, Jabotinsky who had served with Patterson and who was now a firm friend of the Anglo-Irish Christian Zionist, went to America with Patterson on a fund raising mission. According to Shmuel Katz, Jabotinsky wrote of Patterson: “I made an appeal for funds, then the collection began, but no one left the hall because they were waiting for Patterson to speak.”
Patterson himself wrote of Vladimir Ze’ev Jabotinsky: “… his mentality was ‘void of the peculiar inhibitions of a Jewish mind influenced and twisted by the abnormalities of centuries of life in dispersion. That was probably the main reason why his political philosophy was so healthy and simple, and why, with all his tremendous popularity, he never became the recognized leader of the Jewish People.”
John Henry Patterson traveled to British Mandatory Palestine in the 1930s where he remained a steadfast supporter of the Irgun Zvai Leumi Jewish forces resisting Arab aggression and British hostility. Both he and Jabotinsky worked together in the United States unsuccessfully to raise a Jewish army of 100,000 to fight Nazi Germany. Jabotinsky continued to fight for a restored Jewish homeland in Eretz Yisrael: The Land of Israel. He was a phenomenal giant within the Zionist Movement but ultimately felt estranged from his less assertive colleagues in the struggle to re-establish the Jewish homeland.
Jabotinsky warned the Jewish communities of eastern Europe of the impending German Nazi juggernaut that was descending upon them, which led to the Holocaust. He died in 1940 near New York of a broken heart.
John Henry Patterson, a great Christian Zionist, died in 1947 before he lived to see the rebirth of the Jewish state that he had devoted his life to fighting for. His wife of many years died six weeks later and both were cremated and their ashes sent to Mandatory Palestine. Their burial place remains unknown except to Almighty God.
Victor Sharpe is a freelance writer on Jewish history and the Islamist-Israel conflict. His books include Volumes One and Two of Politicide: The attempted murder of the Jewish state.
Posted in Featured Articles, Israel & The Jewish People Tagged with: ami isseroff, christian zionist, christians, dan juster, evangelicals, Guest Writer: Victor Sharpe, israel, jerusalem connection, john henry patterson, state of israel, zionism
I find many Christians who support the restoration of the Jewish people to their homeland in Israel also subscribe to the end-time teaching known as the pre-tribulation rapture. This teaching holds that Jesus will return first as a “thief in the night” to snatch away the Church prior to a hellish reign of terror by a false messiah in the last days. He will then come again with His Church to destroy all satanic rule on this planet and establish the long-awaited Messianic Age.
But have these Christians who hold this view stopped to consider, as I finally did, that this teaching is fundamentally opposed to the heart and soul of Christian Zionism?
I do not know how many of our readers have had the same experience, but I certainly have. Now it must be stated that any position on theology must be based in scripture first and foremost. Although spending most of my formative years in a Scofield Bible, within the first year of college I had abandoned Dispensationalism based on a different look at the texts in the Bible. But at this point in my life, I was not able to see some of the implications of my beliefs and their impact on the connection to Israel. Brian Hennessy continues on with his own experience
It didn’t take long to see where the problem lay. At almost every pro-Israel event there would be a time of public repentance for turning our backs – and often our weapons – on the Jews over the centuries. We’d loudly proclaim that “we will never abandon you again.” Either by keeping silent in times of persecution, as so many did during the Holocaust. Or by doctrinally distancing ourselves again through the acceptance of Replacement Theology.
Yet by embracing a rapture theology, aren’t we already planning to abandon them again? And at a time when Israel and the Jews will need us the most? Worse, we crow about our “saving event” without a blush or a word of apology to our Jewish friends. What must the Jews think? No doubt they are grateful for our present support, but I’m sure they won’t be holding their breath waiting for us to show up once the feathers hit the fan. What is wrong with us? Have we learned nothing from our past betrayals of our brothers? Are we just going to be happy-clappy cheerleaders for the State of Israel as long as the skies are sunny? But when dark clouds come will we quickly start looking for the rapture bus to get us out of here – fast?
Those are sobering words. It is a functional disconnect between theology and relationship. I have said this in conversations with other believers that a “pre-tribulation rapture is anti-Semitic.” Now, those are strictly my words and this observation took over a decade to develop. I say it that way to make us think. A case in point without much personal input is my experience with my father. He had great RESPECT and love for the Jewish people and it is here where I attribute my ‘nascent Zionism.’ Guess what? I know my dad was not anti-Jew, but was his theology? In unpacking some dispensational thought Hennessy reasons
Darby, who is known as the “father of dispensationalism,” believed God has dealt with mankind in different ways in different ages or “dispensations.” Christians belong to the latest dispensation, an age of grace, and are considered God’s “heavenly people.” But the descendants of Abraham – at least those who came before Jesus, plus those who didn’t accept Him as Messiah after He came – belonged to the dispensation of Law and are God’s “earthly people.” The only exception to this rule are Jews who do believe in Jesus. They are counted as part of the Church and those alive at Jesus return can get on the rapture “bus.”
Although he taught that the Church and Israel would always remain separate and distinct, he believed both groups play parallel roles in God’s plan of salvation. And will receive parallel inheritances. That is, he didn’t teach that the Jews had been disenfranchised by the Church, as Replacement Theology taught. But he didn’t see the Church as being a continuation or enhancement of Israel, either.
So maybe I can get my dad off the hook by this logic, but how about those who do not believe in dispensationalism but still have the vestige of a sudden rapture, leaving unsaved Israel behind. If after a thorough look at Scripture you still attest to this view, then I obviously accept that and will not allow us to be divided (Psalm 133). There was never a scientific study done on my part, but via attendance at Messianic conferences, reading Jewish leaders writings and at one time being an active member in a Messianic congregation I observed a trend that they did not ascribe to this view.
In a recent interview of Ron Cantor, an Israeli believer, on Line of Fire radio, host Dr. Michael Brown briefly discusses this issue. Cantor states that most Messianic believers , IN ISRAEL, hold to a post-Tribulation paradigm. (Conversation starts at approximately the 30 minute mark, emphasis mine). This corroborates my experience.
The point here is to help define the relationship of the Church to Israel and clarify the roles of Jew (even unsaved) and gentile believer. Also, how do you daily LIVE your life thinking “Any minute I am out of here.” As opposed to preparing your life knowing you (the Church) are required to live through Israel’s ‘darkest hour’ for a divine purpose and witness.
So coming into focus the question is “What does it say to the unsaved Jewish person, when we sincerely want them to see the reflection of Messiah in our life, if we hold to this escapist mentality?” Once again the thoughts of Brian Hennessy:
Therefore, if we are going to be solidly in Israel’s corner as we promised, we can’t also be planning for an early exit. Their fight is also our fight. We must come alongside them, not just as fans, but as family. It doesn’t matter that the majority of Jews do not recognize us or accept us yet as mishpochah. We know it is true! Therefore we have to act in faith and believe we have a stake in this game. The blessings of Israel are something we too will share in if we faint not.
But if we only rejoice over the reestablishment of Israel because it is a prophetic sign that Jesus is coming soon. Or because it is merely an encouragement that if God is faithful to them He’ll be faithful to us. Or because it shows we now reject Replacement Theology, even though we still hold fast to Darby’s Separation Theology – then our Zionism is indeed a hollow shell.
No, we must be in this for the long haul. We must be one with the Jews, come what may, and trust we will rejoice with them at the glorious deliverance our God has promised to perform for us. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for calamity; to give you a hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11).
John Paul is is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Jewish Issues.
Posted in Featured Articles, Israel & The Jewish People Tagged with: Christian Zionism, Dr. Michael Brown, eschatology, Holocaust, israel, Jesus, line of fire, messianic age, palestinians, pre tribulation rapture, rapture, replacement theology, ron cantor, zionism
For seven years there have been anti-messianic demonstrations in front of the home of Polly Sigulim. Once again, when probing deeper into the life of this widow of 3 sons all who are IDF soldiers we have to ask what has she done to deserve this hostile treatment. According to the Gur Hasidim she is involved in missionary activity for foster parenting several children whose Messianic parents have passed away.
This is ostensibly because she fostered some children from another Messianic Jewish family when their parents passed away. The Gur hold this up as some kind of proof of missionary kidnapping of children. This was a legal fostering according to Israeli law and in full accord with the wishes of the family. However be that as it may, Israeli law is not always as important to the Gur and other Haredi groups who often hold Israeli civil law as inferior to the law of their rabbinical courts. These rabbinical courts may very well serve their own communities adequately, but their rulings are not legally holding for other Israeli citizens who are from other communities, such as the Israeli Messianic Jewish community.
There were about 100 Arad residents on the side of Polly countering the protesters. This news clip shows how the protest went.
It was great to see Polly’s neighbors who know her best stand in her support. But there are ways we can help also even if we do not live in Israel. It is time for the Body of Messiah, especially in America, to shift their funds from certain aid groups to directly nurture the growth of our Israeli brethren. Subsequent to 1967, the resurgence of believing Jews in the land has lead to many organizations that not only further the gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus, but also provide humanitarian aid, even to Palestinians. Would it not be best for the generosity of Christians to be expressed through the ones who can give a voice of eternal hope to the recipient?
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews does not function as a Messianic Jewish group. The founder is a traditional Rabbi and does not have gospel purposes in mind. While preparing for this post, I listened to a recent podcast of ‘The Line of Fire’ with Dr. Michael Brown and quest Ron Cantor. They graciously gave attention to this issue and is recommended for the reader. (The discussion starts at about 1 hour and 19 minutes in the podcast).
So what are the alternatives for Evangelical supporters of Israel? I’m glad you asked, and we have some suggestions for you. Make it a matter between you and the Lord and follow His leading.
By channeling our giving to Israel in this manner our hearts and our treasure will be in line with the Father’s will of salvation by his Son Jesus. The conflicts that may arise by these funds going to the enemies of the gospel will be mitigated.
The import of this is even beyond the physical and natural needs that will be ameliorated. It is one aspect that leads to the salvation of Israel. The seminal influence in Israel for this is the Messianic community of believers. Let us do all we can with our funding of the gospel to ensure this promise even to generations to come.
John Paul is is an Associate Editor for Voice of Revolution, overseeing Jewish Issues.
Posted in Featured Articles, Israel & The Jewish People, News Tagged with: barry segal, counter-missionaries, evangelicals, israel, maoz ministries, messianic judaism, ron cantor, zionism
Joel Richardson, author of Islamic Antichrist, published a piece on WorldNetDaily on Friday that mentioned Dr. Brown’s book Our Hands are Stained with Blood:
In 1992, Dr. Michael Brown, a Jewish believer in Jesus, wrote the book “Our Hands are Stained with Blood.” Not only did Brown carefully document the shameful history of anti-Semitism in the Christian church, he also laid out a proper path of repentance. Perhaps the most wonderful trend within certain segments of the Christian church over the past 20 years has been an awakening to the truths laid out in Brown’s work. Many Christians have come to recognize the centrality of the Jewish people in God’s plan for the ages, the Jewishroots of their own faith and the church’s dramatic historical shortfall in appropriating these realities.
Read the rest of Joel’s article to see how, in contrast to the path of repentance for anti-Semitism laid out in Our Hands are stained with Blood (available here), the Methodist Church of the United Kingdom has chosen to “boycott Jewish goods and services produced in Judea and Samaria” and “endorse a brazenly anti-Semitic document known as the Kairos Palestine document.” [CLICK HERE TO READ MORE…]
Posted in Israel & The Jewish People, News Tagged with: anti-semitism, charles wesley, Dr. Michael Brown, israel, joel richardson, our hands are stained with blood, WorldNetDaily, zionism