This tract appeared in the book titled “Jesus is Coming” by William E. Blackstone.
Subject Commentaries: “Without a doubt, the most important Christian Zionist in the United States during the late 19th Century and the first half of the 20th Century was William E. Blackstone (1841-1935).
He was a businessman who became convinced of the Dispensational viewpoint of end-time prophecy. In 1878 he wrote a book called Jesus is Coming, and it became the first Bible prophecy best seller.
In 1887 he founded the Chicago Hebrew Mission for the evangelization of the Jews.
In 1891 he presented President Benjamin Harrison with a petition signed by over 400 prominent Americans, advocating the re-settlement of persecuted Russian Jews to Palestine.”–Dr. David Reagan. Read more on this subject from Dr. Reagan here.
“In 1878, Blackstone wrote, Jesus is Coming. His book became the veritable reference source of American dispensationalist thought. Over the next 50 years, Jesus is Coming sold multi-millions of copies worldwide and was translated into 48 languages.
He initially focused on the restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land as a prelude to their conversion to Christianity, out of a pious wish to hasten the coming of the Messiah; but he increasingly became concerned with the deadly, Russian, government-instigated pogroms and believed that it was necessary to create a Jewish homeland in Israel.
Blackstone and his daughter traveled to the Holy Land in 1888. He returned convinced that a return of the Jewish people to its ancient homeland was the only possible solution to the persecution Jews suffered elsewhere. On November 24–25, 1890, Blackstone organized the Conference on the Past, Present and Future of Israel at the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Chicago where participants included leaders of both Jewish and Christian communities, albeit not leaders of the Reform movement.
The conference issued a call urging the great powers, including the Ottoman Empire, to return Israel to the Jews. Resolutions of sympathy for the oppressed Jews living in Russia were passed, but Blackstone was convinced that such resolutions – even though passed by prominent men – were insufficient. He advocated strongly for the voluntary resettlement of the Jewish people, suffering under virulent anti-Semitism, in Israel.
A year later in 1891, Blackstone led a petition drive that was approved by the conference. It was later known as the Blackstone Memorial. The memorial was signed by 413 prominent Christian and a few Jewish leaders in the United States. Blackstone personally gathered the signatures of men such as John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Cyrus McCormick, senators, congressmen, religious leaders of all denominations, newspaper editors, the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and others for the “Blackstone Memorial.” He presented the “Memorial” to President Harrison, (in)March 1891, calling for American support of Jewish restoration to Israel. His petition presaged and paralleled the later ideas of Theodor Herzl, the founder of the State of Israel.” ¹