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Lessons from the past:

An Early Scottish Mission to the Jews


Israel My Glory                                                                     June/July 1989


The tiny nation of Scotland has given the world many things --- the sport of golf, the bagpipe, the Highland Games, and the poetry of Robert Burns. Unfortunately, one of Scotland's greatest contributions is often overlooked. Scotland has probably produced more missionaries, in proportion to her population, than any other country on earth. David Livingstone, the man who blazed a trail through Africa, was a Scot, as was Mary Slessor. The famous runner, Eric Liddell, was the son of Scottish missionaries, and John Paton - also a Scot - loved the heather hills of Scotland almost as much as he did the South Sea island on which he ministered. And Manchuria - considered the farthest outpost of Christian conquest in 1868 - was manned by a Scot, William C. Bums.

With this kind of influence on world missions, it should come as no surprise that Scotland was the birthplace of one of the modern world's first missions to the Jews. Although small in comparison to other missionary enterprises, the mission was used of God to lead some Jews to their Messiah and to prepare the way for the fulfillment of prophecy in the 20th century.

Interestingly, it was a Scot - Sir Walter Scott - who helped bring the persecution of the Jews to the attention of men of good will in the English-speaking world. While in Scott's novel Ivanhoe his readers swooned over the exploits of Ivanhoe, Robin Hood, and the Black Knight, they also came to sympathize with the plight of Isaac the Jew and his daughter Rebecca. Because Scott tore away the veil of hypocrisy from the way Jews were treated, the publishing of Ivanhoe was a milestone in English literature. Rebecca the Jewess was no shylock or Rosencrantz.

But even before Ivanhoe was published, there was a movement afoot in Scotland to put Israel and the salvation of the Jews in biblical perspective. The Apostle Paul had indicated that he would give his life for the salvation of the Jews (Rom. 9:5), while the gospel was to go to "the Jew first" (Rom. 1:16). Yet Christendom had treated Jews like animals, placing them in ghettos, forbidding them to own land, and allowing them to engage only in pursuits that                             [Home]   [Index]    [Next Page]   [Footnotes]