Many great men and women have been instrumental in the spreading of the Israel Truth, including many men of the cloth. Were they successful? Let’s examine some of their lives.
A few days before Reverend Batzold closed his life in his 81st year in 1960, he made a request that Ecclesiastes 3: 1-15 be read at the funeral service, beginning with “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” I was intrigued to discover this because all my reading about the Reverend suggested there was a great purpose to his life, God had awakened him in 1920 to his identity while he was pastoring a small church in the interior of British Columbia and set him on a course of lifelong service. He chose well. The individuality of man was never more apparent than in Charles E. Batzold; he did not conform to type, there was nothing stereotyped about him. He was an unusual man, a solitary figure, as many great men are. He was a man with a mission.
“Charlie Batzold,” as he was fondly known among the rank and file of Canada’s 72nd Seaforths Battalion, with whom he served overseas in World War I, was respected by the men in the line and out of it, as a man of sterling character and great understanding of human nature. He identified himself chiefly with those in the ranks and never concerned himself with promotion. Even then, his entire nature was equipped to serve his fellow man. A story is told of the battle at Paaschendale, where the Seaforths took a severe beating, and dead and wounded were strewn all around. How many a wounded and dying Seaforth felt the firm, yet tender lift, of Reverend Batzold’s strong arms and spoken words of comfort, as he went about the battlefield tending to the immediate needs of the casualties that lay about. I don’t know but I suspect there was a great cheer when a military medal for saving lives was pinned on Charlie’s tunic sometime later.
Yet, not even Charlie Batzold could conceive what God had in store for his future. Moving to Vancouver and coming into contact with the fledging British Israel Association, he met other great men, like Professor Edward Odlum, Reverend Wm. Pascoe Goard and Reverend Merton Smith, men dedicated to taking the Israel Truth to Israelites around the world. Beginning in 1924, Rev. Batzold began sharing his time between his small Congregationalist Church and the Movement. On any given Sunday evening, he conducted the British Israel service, often to overflowing crowds. As a spiritual trailblazer, he had few equals. It was said that he could speak with all the passion of John the Baptist as he would quote such things as, “Ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell.” Yet, in the very next breath, his words could be tender and sympathetic and bring a tear to the eye.
Yet, God had much more in store for Charlie Batzold. This man was a crusader, a tireless leader, and a man with a purpose. Indeed, no man of the cloth had any more resolute confidence in his mission and its responsibilities than this man, Charles E. Batzold. He jumped in with both feet and went everywhere preaching the Israel message, at churches, service clubs and any place where the desire to listen to the truth was evident. As his name became known, huge crowds would be there to meet and listen to him. He took on the leading role of Secretary-General of the Movement and helped organize British-Israel associations, conferences and youth groups across Canada with much success. He went on to form his Reconciliation Ministry and “Excalibur,” a magazine that discussed world events in light of Scripture prophecy. It was sad that our friend and longtime member of the Association, Leslie MacDonald, also recently closed his life, but we have to thank Les for keeping Reverend Batzold’s name prominently in front of us for all these years and for preserving dozens of this prolific man’s writings. We follow this article by an adaptation of an editorial written in May 1941 by Reverend Batzold, which has great implications for today, as our forces are embarked in a struggle in the Mediterranean area.
I believe Charlie Batzold was God’s man. He is almost a pattern for Psalms 37: 23, “the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and he delighteth in his way.”