The most disputed real estate in the world

Israel has always been on my mind, more so recently again. There’s always something going on either over there or something that could potentially have consequences for the tiny state, whether from American politics and policies, wars and the constant struggle between Israel’s right to exist and the surrounding Arab nations.

I’ve wanted to write something about why Israel is always going to be a focus of the world, but reading some news the past couple of weeks about our own policies under the Trump administration has kind of brought it to the forefront of my mind again.  I’m not going to rehash any old arguments of pro/anti Trump rhetoric here, except to say while so far he’s been a lot more respectful than the previous administration, there have been troubling things as well.  From the contention of Israel’s building in Judea and Samaria, and Trump’s desire to make the biggest deal of history; he has said he wants peace between Israel and the “Palestinians” before even considering moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem as he had promised.

It’s not only politics which make me keep a close watch it’s also the resurgence of the “Replacement Theology” ideology where more people believe that the church has somehow replaced the covenant and that Zionist Israel of modern times is not the Israel of the covenant. This is a dangerous and demonically inspired road to go down.

This may be a long post again, so folks might want to grab something to drink before continuing. And I do apologize in advance that a lot of the material covered is probably already well known to many of our HB family- but it’s a good reminder of why Israel is so important, not just Biblically, but even secular arguments prove that Israel has every right to remain a strong state.

Israel is the one nation the world loves to hate.  What is it about this state which is barely the size of Rhode Island that it draws such anger, hate and ignorance from the rest of the world?

Part of that has come within the past few decades popularity of a false history of the Middle East, specifically that which pertains to Israel and “Palestine” as if they are two separate places and peoples.

I could show hundreds of Biblical verses which tell about the beginning of the nation of Israel thousands of years ago,  but for the first part of this, let’s look at things in a purely secular way.

Where was Palestine, and who were the Palestinians?   Back during the Roman Empire days, AD 70 to be specific, the Roman persecution of the Jews was in full swing.  The Empire didn’t care much about this backwater, hickville place in the desert, and they cared less for the people who lived there- specifically the Jews, Christians, and the Arab people.

Although they eventually named the region Palestine, which was a slur to the Jewish people, before 135 A.D., the Romans used the terms Judea and Galilee to refer to the Land of Israel.  The term Palestine was never used in the early Roman designations.

It was not until the Romans crushed the second Jewish revolt against Rome in 135 A.D.  that  Hadrian applied the term Palestine to the Land of Israel. He changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitalina, and changed the name of Israel and Judea to Palestine. Hadrian chose the name Palestine on purpose as he took the name of the ancient enemies of Israel, the Philistines, which was taken from the Latin version of  “Plesheth”.  This is a name appearing frequently in the Bible and have started being known as “Philistine” in English. The world root of “Plesheth” lies in the word “palah” was is a term used generally in the migratory sense, referring to the Philistine conquest of the coast of Mediterranean. When Hadrian applied it to the Land of Israel, he hoped to erase the name Israel from all memory.

Mind you, the original Philistines were not Middle Eastern at all. They were Aegean people closely related to the Greeks and with no connection ethnically, linguistically or historically with Arabia at all.

Even centuries later, under the Ottoman Empire (1517-1917), the term Palestine was used as a general term to describe the land south of Syria; it was not an official designation. In fact, many Ottomans and Arabs who lived in the region during this time period referred to the area as Southern Syriaand not as Palestine.

In any historical description of the area of Palestine, you will never see the word “Palestinian”.  There is no such thing as a Palestinian race or people.  There is no such thing as a Palestinian language or culture.

The area, still known by the Roman name, Palestine, was not much of a promised land for much of the past millennium.  In the early 19th century, Palestine was a backward, neglected province of the Ottoman Empire. Travelers to the region from the Western world left records of what they saw there.  An empty land which had been neglected, abandoned, desolate, and ruins.  Jerusalem wasn’t much different.   Mark Twain describes the area in “The Innocents Abroad” in 1867: There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent [valley of Jezreel] — not for 30 miles in either direction… One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. … For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee … Nazareth is forlorn … Jericho lies a moldering ruin … Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation… untenanted by any living creature… A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds … a silent, mournful expanse … a desolation … We never saw a human being on the whole route … Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country … Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery Palestine must be the prince. The hills barren and dull, the valleys unsightly deserts [inhabited by] swarms of beggars with ghastly sores and malformations. Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes … desolate and unlovely …

Sir Winston Churchill described a Palestine without the Jews in the winter of 1920-1921., “Left to themselves, the Arabs of Palestine would not in a thousand years have taken effective steps towards the irrigation and electrification of Palestine. They would have been quite content to dwell—a handful of philosophic people—in wasted sun-drenched plains, letting the waters of the Jordan flow unbridled and unharnessed into the Dead Sea.

The Arabs of the land were mostly nomads or Bedouins.  They had done nothing much to improve the land in any modern way, and it was the Jewish people who lived there, in the years before and after the world wars, which produced transformations by building power stations, industry and commerce and rebuilding cities.  Because of the ingenuity of the Jewish people, they were making living standards better not only for themselves, but also for the Arab people and others who lived and worked there.

When the State of Israel came into being again after the World War, there was  much to improve in the land which in Biblical days had been described as a land flowing with milk and honey.

It was not long after, that the tiny new nation was being drawn into war over territory by the Egypt, the newly created Trans Jordan and Syria.  Israel, with barely a standing military managed to win these wars.  Interestingly, before these happened, there had never really been a call for a “Palestinian State”.

During the Six Day War, Israel did capture land which included parts of Jerusalem and what is now called the West Bank.  But they did not capture this land from “Palestinians”.  They captured it from Trans Jordan.

OK. Lets look at the land.  For what purpose does the world demand Israel give up half it’s country to Arabs?  It can’t be due to size!

Syria has nearly 71,500 square miles. Jordan has nearly 35,700 square miles of land.  Iraq, nearly 169,000 and Iran nearly 637,000 square miles.  Saudi Arabia nearly 757,000 square miles!  These are only a handful of Arab lands surrounding Israel.  Israel, is 8,109 square miles.  The widest part of the country is not quite 30 miles across!

So it’s not land.  It’s not oil or other natural resources, as the massive square mileage of Arab lands has plenty.  Maybe, as so many people seem to believe, it’s because the Arabs were forced from their homes during the early wars against Israel.  That could be part of it.  It’s not pleasant to think of anyone having to be forced from their homes, but like it or not, this has happened throughout history- not just from Israel.  Should all people all over the planet be allowed this “right of return”?   If this were the case, most of North America would be emptied, much of South America as well.  And if we really want to knit pick, Israel would go back to it’s right of return as well, the original lands based on the early Biblical description has it’s eastern border on the Euphrates River!     No, it’s not even really about the people displaced during the early years of Israel’s rebirth.

Is Israel a perfect nation? Not by a long shot- but show me a nation, or people who are!  My secular side, if I even have one, tells me that the world seems piled against Israel is just not right.  Something doesn’t make sense here.

Then it must be religious right?!  After all, the Dome of the Rock is there, so Arabs should be able to have Jerusalem as their capital!!  Not so fast!

Again, yes, the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque are located where?  On the Temple Mount.  What Temple would that be?  The Jewish Temple, not the original one mind you, built by King Solomon over three thousand years ago, but the one rebuilt by Herod between 20 BC and AD 70.  Islam wasn’t even a twinkle in the Mohammad’s eye until well after 500 AD.

The Jewish Temple is the most Holy Place of Judaism.  Jerusalem has been the capital city of Israel for over 4000 years.  Jerusalem is not even mentioned in the Quran.  Mecca, the Holiest place of Islam is in Saudi Arabia, and is mentioned throughout the Quran, but not one mention of Jerusalem except a verse referring to the ‘furthest mosque’ where Mohammad supposedly had his night time trip to heaven.  Yet even still, it makes no mention of this mosque being in Jerusalem.

So, it can’t be for religious reasons…. or can it?

I have posted on Israel, the end times and prophecies much on my old blog ever since my earliest days at AOL.  I have, time and time again, told people to watch the happenings in and around the middle east, specifically Israel, because all of prophecy concerning the coming of Christ points to the rebirth of the Israeli Nation, political upheavals, the rise against God’s chosen people of Israel through Antisemitism, and the world coming against Israel until she has no friends left.

It seems that things are falling rapidly into place.  Up until the past few decades the western world, specifically the United States has stood with Israel, supporting her new creation.  The past few decades has seen a steady decline in American/Israeli relations, but no more pronounced and troubling as with the Obama administration.  Yet the main stream news still reports on so called atrocities, apartheid and  Israeli occupation of a fictional race of people and the masses have been quick to pile on the anti Israel bandwagon.

This is a religious thing.  It always has been.  God chose Abraham to be the father of the Jewish people.  Through the promise of his descendants through the line of Isaac, Israel has been the apple of God’s eye for thousands of years.  It is through the earthly descendant of Abraham, Ishmael, who was described as a wild donkey of a man, quick with bow and arrow, who is the father of the Arab people.  The brother of the Promise have been enemies with Jews ever since.

Satan has always had his plans to destroy God’s people.  After all, God’s Holy Word comes to the world from the Jews, as does the Savior of the World.  Satan has tried through centuries, by leading the people of Israel, through disobedience to God, to be lead into captivity time and time again.  But God keeps on bringing His people home.  He has brought them home after the last major attempt to wipe them off the face of the earth by the gas ovens of World War 2.   He will try again, by the world coming against one of the tiniest nations on earth, but when everything seems the most hopeless for Israel, God will once again save His people, and show the world He is Lord of Lords.  Soon thereafter, Jesus comes to reclaim His creation.  Please read the Book.  It’s all in there.  Ask Jesus, ask Him, “if You are real, please reveal yourself and Your Word to me, that I understand”.   Trust in Him.  The rest of the Word is coming to life in front of our eyes, you can be assured, that Jesus is the Author, and His Word is True.

For our times, Israel has always been pressured to divide Jerusalem, which Biblically and Historically, has been their Holy City for the past 4000 years. They are also being pressured to give up more land or at least stop expanding building in places such as the West Bank and Golan Heights, all for the sake of peace, which would only make them that much more vulnerable to attacks from all sides from surrounding nations which would like to see the whole Israeli people wiped off the face of the earth. Considering the proximity of Iran these days in Syria being less than 10 miles away from Israel, which would be a nerve wracking experience as our pastor who just visited the area last month described.  Being in an apple orchard next to the border and hearing gun fire from the Syrian side is something these folks live with daily.

For religious history,  the Arab ‘palestinians’ have claimed East Jerusalem as their capital. Again, Jerusalem being the most Holy City of Israel, it is mentioned in the Old Testament 850 times and is called by the name Jerusalem or the Hebrew word Zion, and in the New Testament, it is mentioned 142 times. Zion is the most Holy City on the face of the planet for Jews, and has been Israel’s capital since the time of King David.  Zion has been the center of Law and Religion for the Jewish people since King David. Even as the nation was scattered among other nations, the people always have longed for Jerusalem.

The country of Israel is steeped in religious history as well as archaeological history which supports Israeli claims to the land for well over 4000 years, and supports both Old and New Testament accounts of places and people of those times. Yet even amazingly so, people believe the narrative that not only has the area they call Palestine been Muslim, but that Jesus and the prophets were Muslim, and many of the artifacts found are Islamic as well.

So, what about the road to peace in which every world leader has been trying to achieve for at least 30 years? Is it really Israel’s stubbornness and intolerance towards Arabs which keeps the road from being constructed?

Israel already offered the Palestinians a state five times during the past 30 years and five times the Palestinians have turned these offers down. They are called an apartheid state because of the wall separating Israel from Palestinian areas, yet Israel has continuously had rockets flying in from Palestinian areas, and countless Arabs coming through  or tunneling under the borders with weapons.

People call Israel racist because they want to keep their Jewish homeland, ignoring the many ethnic groups who live in Israel and are citizens there.  What is life like for Arabs who live in Israel? Arabs who hold Israeli citizenship are allowed to vote, they have seats in the Knesset, and have every same right afforded to Israeli Jews. Thinking of life in a Palestinian state, one only has to listen to Maen Areikat, former PLO Ambassador to the United States when answering a question about the legal status of a Jewish minority in the future state. Areikat rejected the issue, saying: “I believe, I still believe that as a first step we need to be totally separated… I think we can contemplate these issues in the future... After the experience of the last 44 years, of military occupation and all the conflict and friction, I think it will be in the best interest that the two peoples should be separated..”

And one only needs to listen to the rhetoric from other Fatah and PA authorities who have said there will be no Jews in the Palestinian state.

So in other words, a Palestinian state which demands Jerusalem as the capital, the Holiest place of Israel, there would be no Jew allowed. No Jews allowed to live in Palestine at all.

I realize that not everyone believes in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Not everyone believes in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, who will come again. I would invite those people who are more secular in their beliefs to at least look at the overwhelming evidence which shows that Jews belong to the land. In looking at the total square mileage of the numbers listed above, consider these are all Arab lands. Jews are hard to find in that massive area. The only true Jewish homeland is the State of Israel, in which Jews and Arabs live. One would think that with the millions of miles surrounding this one tiny parcel of land, Arab Palestinians  would be able to assimilate in any of these surrounding areas. They will not however, because the goal of the Arab nations has always been the annihilation of Israel.

It is interesting that one little seemingly insignificant nation comprising of such a small land area is the most hotly contested piece of real estate in the world. People can argue to no end about the history of the Jewish people, who more than any other race of people have been in slavery, have been persecuted and murdered only because they are Jewish. The persecution goes on still.

“Son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel and say, ‘O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD. This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The enemy said of you, “Aha! The ancient heights have become our possession.” ‘ Therefore prophesy and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because they ravaged and hounded you from every side so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations and the object of people’s malicious talk and slander, therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Sovereign LORD : This is what the Sovereign LORD says to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys, to the desolate ruins and the deserted towns that have been plundered and ridiculed by the rest of the nations around you- this is what the Sovereign LORD says: In my burning zeal I have spoken against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, for with glee and with malice in their hearts they made my land their own possession so that they might plunder its pastureland.’ Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel and say to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I speak in my jealous wrath because you have suffered the scorn of the nations. Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I swear with uplifted hand that the nations around you will also suffer scorn. (Ezekiel 36:1-7)

I may go into more detail about the demonic doctrine of “Replacement Theology” in a later post, but for those who claim to be Christian and believe that the church has replaced Israel and that Jews are no longer a part of God’s eternal plan, realize that the first Christians were Jews. The writers of the Epistles and the disciples of Jesus were Jews. Jesus was born of a Jewish house from a Jewish earthly lineage and followed the traditions, observances and Holy Days of the Jewish faith.

And for a reminder, read and understand Romans 12 for starters….

Will you stand with Israel or with the world who is gathering against them? Keeping in mind, those of you who even may slightly believe there may be something to this whole God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob thing, that when you choose- you will be choosing where to stand on Judgement Day. You will be  either sheep or goats. For or against the Lord God Almighty.

Please choose wisely