“In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram (whose name was later changed by God to Abraham), saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites (these are all primarily nomadic tribes who lived at the time in various parts of Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt and which is now been recognized as the eventual, eternal Land of Israel God Promised to Abraham in approximately 1000 BC).”
The Abrahamic Covenant discussed above was bestowed forever upon the descendants of Abraham as God’s Promise to him. Interestingly, at the time this Promise was made, Abraham and his wife Sarai were very old and had NO children. I will explain the significance of this in a moment but based on what the Bible says above, God was VERY specific in outlining the exact geographical boundaries of the ETERNAL land He promised to Abraham and to his offspring. I spent some time researching the history of these groups of people that inhabited the land of Israel in approximately 1000 B.C. BEFORE God gave it to Abraham and his descendants to better understand. The land God gave to him is FAR greater than today’s current borders of Israel. In fact, it included parts of countries we know of today as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. For a clearer picture of the boundaries of the land God gave to Abraham’s descendants (which will be the NEW Israel during Christ’s Millennium Rule on earth), you may want to see my previous post Current Events Leading to the Israeli Peace Agreement and End Time Horrors.
So, now we know the boundaries of the land God gave to Abraham and his descendants forever. One of the many problems causing the major issues in the Middle East today, and specifically but not exclusively in Israel, is that Abraham eventually had TWO sons, whose names were Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael, was the first born son whose mother was NOT the wife of Abraham but was the handmaiden to Abraham’s wife Sarai. Her name was Hagar.
“Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go into my maid; it may be that I obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.”
“And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son’s name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.”
Even though God had Promised Abraham and Sarai a son, since they were both very old (Abram was then 86 years old and Sarai was 76!), they took it upon themselves to have a son, basically believing they were fulfilling God’s Plan. Instead of trusting in Him to do what He said He would do, they decided to take matters into their own hands and Abraham conceived a son with Hagar. But this was not what God intended. God had a different, specific Plan for Abram:
“And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an EVERLASTING (capitals mine) covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
After the man-made debacle with Hagar and Ishmael, God’s Plan was not yet in place. He had not condoned the birth of Abraham’s son by Sarai’s handmaiden. He told Abraham it would be Sarah (now renamed from Sarai) who would bear Abraham’s son.
“And I will bless her (Sarah), and give thee a son also of her: yea I will bless her and she shall be a mother of nations: kings of people shall be of her.”
This Promise was made by God to Abraham when he was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 years old. Impossible? Nothing with God is impossible! Even though Ishmael was Abraham’s “firstborn”, he was NOT the son God intended to Bless with His Covenant. Ishmael, while Promised by an angel of God to be the father of a great (large) nation, was NOT the one God pre-ordained. Instead, as He told Abraham clearly:
“And God said, Sarah they wife shall bear thee a son indeed: and thou shalt call his name Isaac: AND I WILL ESTABLISH MY COVENANT WITH HIM FOR AN EVERLASTING COVENANT, AND WITH HIS SEED AFTER HIM (capitals mine).”
Both Arabs through Ishmael and Jews through Isaac trace their lineage back to Abraham and firmly believe the Abrahamic Covenant applies to them, even though God specifically said it applies to Isaac only. Interestingly, the God of the Bible is NOT the Allah of the Quran or Hadith. For convenience, where it helps their cause they claim since the Bible says Ishmael was the first born of Abraham, the Covenant established between God and Abraham applies to them and not to the offspring of Isaac, the second born son. Of course, this would mean Israel belongs to them and not the Jews. But note the Promise God also made to Hagar after fleeing from Sarah upon finding out she was pregnant with Ishmael.
“And the angel of the Lord said unto her (Hagar), I will multiple thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”
Obviously, while mankind’s tradition says the firstborn receives the greatest blessing from his father, Ishmael was NOT the son of Abraham intended by God to inherit His Covenant. In spite of that, God also promised Hagar and her son Ishmael to make a great (large) nation out of him. Today, there is no question the descendants of Ishmael comprise a large number of Arabs in the Middle East. This argument as to who inherited the Promise from God continues to this day with Arabs believing it was intended for them and Jews (who came from the seed of Isaac) who believe the Promise was made to them since the Bible specifically says so (Genesis 17:19 above).
The facts remain, until the Diaspora of the Jews by the Romans beginning in 70 A.D., Israel as we know it today was NEVER anyone else’s country. Yes, nomadic tribes lived there but they fought continuously among themselves and there was never a specific country until the Jews settled in Israel as God had Promised. As Sarah told Abraham, knowing what God had commanded:
“Wherefore she (Sarah) said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondswoman (Hagar) and her son (Ishmael): for the son of this bondwoman shall NOT BE HEIR WITH MY SON (Isaac) (capitals mine), even with Isaac.”
Staying on with what the Bible speaks of in regards to the ownership of the Land of Israel, several generations after Abraham and Isaac, Moses was born as one of the descendants of Abraham and was tasked by God to bring His people out of captivity in Egypt and back to the Land of Israel which God had Promised to the descendants of Abraham.
“And I (God) am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.”
Did you catch that? The exact same Land God Promised to Abraham hundreds of years earlier forever is the land He will now return the Jews to the Land of Israel! And, if God promises something you know He WILL fulfill His Promise, just as He did when He brought the Jews back to Israel.
“Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made, for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which they hands have established. The Lord shall reign for ever and ever.”
The Historical Birth of Palestine
Of course there are many, many more scriptures which relate to the Promises God made to Abraham and his descendants. Beyond that, however, there is a history of the actual Land of Israel which also easily proves the Land of Israel belongs to the Jews, not the Arabs who from time to time lived there. The history of the Jews in Israel goes back almost 3,000 years, far longer than any other distinct group of people who claim it as theirs. During the Roman era and reign over Israel, Jesus was born, lived and was crucified by the Romans at the direct request of the Jews who failed to recognize Him then as their Promised Messiah. While this specific event did not lead immediately to the beginning of their dispersion by the Romans in 70 A.D. (after the destruction of their 2nd Holy Temple in Jerusalem on the 9th of Av – 2018 UPDATE: The 9th of AV – History or Prophecy?), the Jews continued to rise up and rebel against the rule of the Romans. Eventually, after the 3rd major uprising, the Romans led by Emperor Hadrian, could no longer take it! Not only did he take the remaining Jews and sell them into slavery, he renamed the city of Jerusalem Aelia Capitolina and renamed Judea (Israel) Palestine, Syria. No longer could the Jews say Jerusalem and Judea/Israel were theirs because these names had ceased to exist! We know the Romans also fulfilled Jesus’s prophecy from 40 years earlier:
“And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
Not only did the Romans totally destroy the Jew’s Holy Temple by tearing it down to the ground (I personally have been there and have seen the stone lines and can attest to the fact the Temple did not have one stone left upon another), but did you know the Romans also cut down all the trees in Israel to make it uninhabitable? They did not want the Jews to ever come back! The city and country were renamed; the Jews were dispersed throughout the world; the Holy Temple was totally destroyed; and, they made the land uninhabitable. From 135 A.D. until the beginning of the 20th century, they got their wish!
Who Owned the Land for Almost 2,000 Years?
It is important here to note the occupation of the land of Israel was very different from the inhabitation of the land. Historically, we know after the Roman era (which ended in the 4th century A.D.), next came the Christian Greco-Roman Empire who controlled Israel until the 7th century A.D. Then the newly created Saudi Arabian Muslim religion took over the area until 1096 A.D.. This led to the European Crusaders taking control from 1096 until 1291 A.D.. Then it went back to the Arabs until they morphed into the Turkish Ottoman Empire in the 1600’s. The Turks aligned themselves with Germany during World War I and as a result, Great Britain took over control of the land of the entire land of Palestine/Syria as a result of Turkey’s WWI defeat. Israel’s birth by a United Nations vote in December 1947 paved the way for Israel to once again officially become the homeland of the Jews on May 14, 1948. The name had not changed back to Israel from when Emperor Hadrian changed it to Palestine so Great Britain’s control was referred to as the British Palestinian Mandate. Jews started migrating back to Israel as part of the Zionist movement in the late 19th century, buying, NOT capturing, the land from wealthy Turkish businessmen who were very excited about selling the land. As a result, they also paid extremely high property taxes to Turkey for this land. Amazingly, the Bible had prophesied this exact occurrence of the Jews returning to a desert wasteland, with malaria filled swamps. It had been uninhabitable for almost 1,800 years!
“And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.”
Perhaps you are an unbeliever or anti-Semitic and feel that all the Bible says is rubbish. I pray that is not the case but there is a history of Israel that is undeniable. It was a wasteland while the Jews were absent and very, very few people lived there. Various countries controlled it but it was not itself a country and NO ONE ever moved their headquarters or capital there. Did you know Mark Twain visited Israel in 1867? This was before the Jews returned as God Promised in Ezekiel 37. In his book, The Innocents Abroad, he said Israel was a “…desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given wholly over to weeds – a silent, mournful expanse.” During his entire travels in Israel he repeatedly commented that he walked/rode for days and never saw another single human being, Arab or Jew! The 1913 Report of the Palestine Royal Commission also observed “…The western part, towards the sea, was almost a desert….The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants.” Simply put, Israel WAS NOT a nation of Palestine which the Jews invaded! It wasn’t until they returned that God Blessed the land and the Arabs then attempted to return because all of a sudden, Israel was a growing, beautiful Land!
If Israel is not a Country, then Neither is Jordan, Syria, Lebanon or Iraq!
The Middle East, under control of the British Palestine Mandate after 1917, was tribal in nature. One of the areas was called Transjordan and under the auspices of the League of Nations, Transjordan was split into two parts, Israel and Jordan. If Israel was not a “legal” country, why then is Jordan? Syria, like Palestine, was not their own country either until 1945. Like Palestine, they were ruled by various other countries for centuries. After the downfall of the Ottoman Turkish Empire and with Great Britain and France winning World War I, various countries emerged with new borders to what they look like today. However, these alignments were agreements made between France and Great Britain to divvy up the spoils of war, primarily oil. As a result, the Middle East of today looks NOTHING like it did 2,000 years ago. However, the nation of Israel as established by King David looks the same today as it did then and no other country comes close!
What About Islam’s Claim to Jerusalem as their 3rd Holiest Site?
Muhammed, the founder of Islam, was born in Mecca (Saudi Arabia) around 570 A.D. His original teachings were monotheistic (one God) as opposed to the rampant existence of then popular polytheism (many gods). This was a message previously advocated by Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and others. After experiencing attacks for his beliefs, he left Mecca and went to Medina (also in Saudi Arabia). These two sites are now the two holiest sites in Islam. Today, Muslims also claim Jerusalem with their mosques on the site of BOTH previously destroyed Jewish Temples, as their 3rd holiest site. The problem with this is Muhammed NEVER once visited Jerusalem or Israel. He supposedly had a dream in which he ascended to heaven from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and his followers later built the Dome of the Rock there after his death in 692 A.D. on top of the mount where both of the Jewish Temples once stood. In other words, their claim of the holiness of the Dome of the Rock on the Jewish Temple Mount was it was not even built until over 600 years AFTER the Romans destroyed the 2nd Jewish Temple. The 1st Jewish Temple was built on that same site 1,200 years before the Muslim claim. Historically, the claim to that holy site is rightfully only by the Jews.
“And unto his son will I (God) give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light always before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there. And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shall be king over Israel.”
1 Kings 11:36-37
I am amazed while the history is well known of the Jews being in the land of Israel for 3,000 years, countries, colleges and other anti-Semitic entities today still teach that somehow the Jews “stole” the land from a people called Palestinians, a name that did not even exist until 135 A.D. when the Romans “renamed” the land after dispersing the Jews. I guess I should not be surprised since one of the rallying cries by many in the Last Days will be:
“For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent; they are confederate against thee.”
Since God is all knowing, He prophesied not only all the above, but also how He would bring the Jews back to Israel to reclaim their God given right to the land of Israel. Even more startling to the fact they did this in an unimaginable and believed impossible way, they did it on May 14, 1948 in ONE DAY!
“Who has heard such a thing? who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? CAN A NATION BE BROUGHT FORTH ALL AT ONCE (capitals mine)?.”
To answer my beginning question Palestine or Israel – Whose Land is It? I sincerely hope what the Bible (not me) says has convinced you the Land of Israel belongs to the descendants of Abraham’s son Isaac, the Jews. Are you still not convinced:
“But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the ARABIAN (capitals mine), heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will you rebel against the king? Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and rebuild: BUT YE HAVE NO PORTION, NOR RIGHT, NOR MEMORIAL IN JERUSALEM (capitals mine).”
We are seeing fulfillment of Biblical prophecy every day! Should it be surprising to see ALL the nations of the world actively trying to destroy Israel? If Satan could ultimately fulfill his dream, the promises God made to Abraham would be proven false and Satan would then be vindicated. But God does NOT lie! In witnessing these prophecies come to fruition in our lifetime, not only are we aware how close we really are to Jesus’s Second Coming but we all should be totally comforted by the fact God told us exactly what to expect in the Last Days. In seeing these things happen, I am comforted by the knowledge and faith that God is in total control! If you are also comforted by His Word, I again ask you to Like and/or Share this message with your friends, families and all so we may all do what we are instructed to do by Jesus and that is to “…therefore comfort one another with these words.”
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May God Bless the people of Israel and May God Bless you for sharing His message!