un logoWhose land?

Palestinians want half of Jerusalem, and a slice of Israel as their own Country of Palestine. Will it happen? Will the UN enforce it? Maybe! 

On September 23rd Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas officially asked the United Nations to recognise a Palestinian state. Despite the Balfour Declaration, League of Nations mandates and United Nations recognition for a Jewish state in 1948, Abbas has refused to recognize Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people.

The Israeli-Palestinian Problem is a thorny one. For centuries Bible students had believed the prophecies that Israel would return to the land. The Balfour Declaration was the start, allotting Israel for its National Homeland a much larger area of land than she has ever occupied.

 The History of the Jews

The history of the Jews and this land is sad, it may be ‘the Promised Land’, and the Jews, ‘the people of God’ (Judges 20:1), but they have been expelled from it twice in the past. So, whose land is it really, Israeli ; Palestinian; both? The answer is it is God’s land.

Deut 11:12 describes it as ‘A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.’ And for over 5,000 years it has been promised to Abraham and his seed. This is one of the promises which God made to Abraham.

Gen 17:8  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.

Gen 13:14 ¶  And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:

 15  For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.

16  And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.

17  Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.

 That’s pretty conclusive, if you believe in God and His Word the Bible, but sadly, popular opinion seems not to. In the world’s hardly unbiased eyes, Israel is the oppressor and the Palestinians the oppressed and that with a fair share out of the land all will be well.

Of course, the Jews are not perfect. Theirs was intended to be a model God fearing Kingdom for all the nations to emulate but sadly from almost the start they failed to keep God’s Word. Eventually they failed Him so much that the Kingdom of Israel had to be dissolved. King Zedekiah ruled at the time when God could bear their sins no longer.

 Exodus 21:25  And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end,

26  Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high.

27  I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.

 The King, of course, to whom the crown is to be given is Jesus. His disciples knew this and were hoping that he would restore the Kingdom to Israel sometime soon and they asked him for a sign.

 The Return of Christ

In Luke 21 Jesus prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem in AD67-70 an exile of around 2,000 years, when the Jews would not have Jerusalem (described in v. 24 as being trodden down of the Gentiles) and the return of the Son of Man with power and glory. The amazing accuracy of the prophecy was seen in 1967 when v. 24 was fulfilled; All Jerusalem was in the hands of Israel and  thus no longer trodden down by the Gentiles. The Lord Jesus also described graphically the events we are experiencing now - a world in dismay, as shown in vv. 25-26. A “time of trouble such as never was” is upon mankind, both politically and naturally.

 Other Bible Prophecies (Ezek 38; Joel 3:14-16; Revelation 16:16 etc.) tell us that, at the Return of Christ to set up his Kingdom, the nations of the world will oppose him. Perhaps the current problems over Jerusalem are the trigger. In Zech 14 we read of the ‘Day of the LORD’ when all nations will attack Jerusalem

 14:1 ¶  Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.

2  For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

Is it significant that the Palestinians want half the city for their capital? Perhaps, but even if the attack described is not sparked off by their demands and Israel’s refusal to bow to them, what is certain from Luke’s Gospel is that we are living in the days when the Lord’s return is very near and the next few verses show how this will be accomplished

 3  Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.

4  And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the

     east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

  9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.

After this terrible battle, Jesus will be enthroned as King in Jerusalem. He will rule over the whole earth and  Jerusalem will be the global Centre of worship.

 Isaiah 2: 1 ¶  The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

       2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

      4  And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

 No more strife, no more war, no more border disputes or ‘Problems’. May the time of Jesus’ return come quickly and may each of us take steps to make sure that we are found faithful to

 Jesus in that day.

The way is clear, we need to become one of Abraham’s seed in order to ‘inherit the promises’ In Galatians 3, Paul explained that Jesus was the unique seed to whom God was referring:

      16  Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

      And we can share in this promise if we repent, believe the Gospel and are baptised.

      27  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

      28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

      29  And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Abraham never received the Promise in his lifetime but he believed God, and expected to be raised from the dead and to be given eternal life to live and reign with Jesus in his Kingdom*, that can be our hope too!

*Hebrews 11:10 &13; 17-19. John 8:56