Never before was an ancient nation destroyed, its people dispersed to the ends of the earth-and yet for centuries remain a separate and distinct people. Then, for that people to be regathered to its ancient homeland and re-established as a nation after nearly 2,000 years is a contradiction of time and logic. The rebirth of the Nation of Israel in 1948 was an unparalleled miracle of history.
This miracle of rebirth actually had its conception in 1878. David Ben Gurion observed that the new State of Israel did not begin in 1948 but with the pioneering efforts of Jewish immigrants that began in 1878 with the founding of the Jewish settlement Petah Tikvahwhich means "Door of Hope."1 The year 1878 did mark the beginning of an incredible fulfillment of a series of Bible prophecies related to the miraculous restoration of natural Israel. In that year the ban on Jewish immigration and Jewish Land purchase was eased. In fulfillment of Bible prophecy, the massive return of the Jew in Diaspora to his ancient homeland commenced (Jeremiah 16:14-16; Isaiah 43:4-6). The purchasing of land itself was a fulfillment of prophecy (Jeremiah 32:44). At exorbitant prices, barren desert and malarial swamps were purchased from absentee Moslem landowners. Miraculous climatic changes as well nourished the dry and thirsty Land (Joel 2:21-24). The very heavens opened and "the early rains," which for centuries fell only moderately, increased. The "latter rains" awoke from centuries of dormant slumber. As a result, the barren desert and malarial swamps began to blossom "as the rose"fulfilling the Divine prediction of vineyards and gardens and roses (Isaiah 35:1; Amos 9:14-15).
Then the birth pangs of the Jewish State began. In 1929 the Arabs in Hebron massacred 67 Jews. <2">2 In the 1930s under the direction of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, 3 a minority of Arabs in Palestine, inspired by Nazi propaganda, plotted the "stillbirth" of the Jewish State. These "spasms of travail" were reflected in calculated acts of terror against the Jewish settlements. Then in the 1940s the Mufti (who was Yassir Arafat's uncle 4) joined with Adolph Eichmann in Europe in the systematic extermination of the Jews. 5 History has recorded this shameful event as "The Holocaust." Finally, recognizing the enormous slaughter, the guilt-ridden nations felt a moral obligation to grant the Jews an independent state. In spite of the fact that the UN Partition Plan of 1947 dismembered the Land of Israel, Arab nations were determined to prevent the Jews from having any of it.
The Divine Physician, however, prevented the "stillbirth" of the Jewish nation. During the final travail, Israel's War of Independence, the Jewish State was bornnotwithstanding the fact it was outnumbered 100 to one by the invading armies of six Arab states. The newborn State developed by massive immigration. Land reclamation continued in fulfillment of Bible prophecy. The miraculous Six Day War in 1967 added Israel's ancient territories of Samaria, Judea, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights to the modern State. All the while quoting Bible prophecies about Israel's restoration, both Prime Ministers Menachim Begin and Yitzhak Shamir systematically helped 130,000 Jewish settlers to flourish in Samaria, Judea and Gaza. The sudden fall of Communism in 1989, that was in itself a miracle, stimulated another miraculous growth spurt by the massive influx of half a million Russian Jews to Israel. Excitement was running high. Certainly one or two million would shortly follow.
Israel's prophetic momentum, however, seems to have stalled. In the 1992 general elections the nationalist camp (Likud and the right wing parties) received the majority of Jewish Israeli votes but the marginal Arab Israeli vote put the Labor Party in power. The Labor government under Ben Gurion and Golda Meir still had the Zionist ideal, that "the Torah would go forth from Zion"albeit in humanist terms. Seemingly, the highest idealism inspiring the current Labor government is a "common market of the Middle East" in which Israel would be a tiny island in the midst of a sea of Arab and Moslem nations. Furthermore, the immigration of Russian Jews has slowed to a trickle. Giving up "land for peace" appears a looming reality.
Thus with Israel's prophetic momentum in fulfilling Bible prophecy seemingly grinding to a halt, many Evangelical Christians are reconsidering their prophetic expectations. Perhaps, they say, the traditional churches were rightIsrael has been permanently replaced by the Christian Church. Perhaps the Palestinian claim of a large Arab community in Palestine with a continuity reaching back several thousand years is correct. Would not the World Powers be justified then in pressuring Israel to give up Land? These doubts, however, are without a Biblical foundation. Though Bible prophecy can be demonstrated by the perspective of current events, Bible prophecy cannot be determined by today's headlines.
One perspective overrides all peace initiatives, compromises and accords: God's perspective. The Judaic Christian Bible discloses not only God's perspective, but His agenda for implementing His own incontestable peace plan. The following presentation is an endeavor to document and submit for consideration God's perspective:
CHAPTER 1. God's promise to Israel that the Holy Land belongs to the Jews forever had never been forfeited.
CHAPTER 2. As prophesied, the Land would remain relatively "desolate" for centuries during Israel's temporary expulsion. Finally, at God's appointed time, the Jewish people would return to their Land and this returning prosperity to the Land would attract a large influx of Arabs from surrounding nations.
CHAPTER 3. God has indicted the Gentile nations who partitioned God's Land by giving portions of it to the Arabs.
CHAPTER 4. Regardless of the outcome of the "peace process," the Scriptures seem to indicate a final Israeli-Arab war which would yield the rightful borders to the Land of Israel.
CHAPTER 5. The question of the size of the "remnant" of Israel is Scripturally defined as large. The destination of the road to peace will be reached in the final harmony of Israel and the Arabs when God's Kingdom is established on earth with Jerusalem as its capital.
The Arab Palestinians claim historic roots and historic rights to the Land of Israel. But there is a higher perspective of historythe perspective of the One who writes history before it happens. The Bible, God's Word, defines the actual boundaries the State of Israel is to possess. These boundaries are based on God's promise to Abraham and his "seed" or descendants. The promise was reiterated to Isaac (not Ishmael) and then to Jacob whose name was changed to "Israel." The children of Israel were promised to possess all the Land "from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates" (Genesis 15:18).
Long before the revisionism of Holocaust history, Christians made a revision of God's promises to Israel. Afflicted with anti-Semitism for over seventeen hundred years, the traditional churches quickly developed "Replacement Theology," which is in reality "revisionist theology." Early church theologians wrongly concluded that Israel as a people was eternally rejected by God for having rejected Jesus. The claim is that the church is now spiritual Israel and, as such, has replaced natural Israel. This "Replacement Theology" is still held by most mainline Christian denominations and is now making inroads in Evangelical churches especially in the charismatic movement under the banner of "Reconstructionism." This theology also falsely concludes that Israel has lost all claim to its Land. This attempt to deprive the overwhelming majority of the Jewish people since the time of Jesus of its glorious eternal destiny is the greatest grand larceny attempt in history.
The King James version of the Bible is replete with examples of "revisionist theology." Chapter after chapter of Old Testament prophecies contain promises of God's blessing to Israel and Jacob. The publishers, who are revisionists, attempt to negate the Jewish people in these chapters by arbitrarily adding chapter headings which apply the verses to the Christian church. While at times "Israel" can be symbolic of the Church, "spiritual Israel," promises to "Jacob" always refer to "natural Israel." Whole chapters of Divine blessings and promises have been literally stolen from the Jewish people. This is simply grand larceny. Isaiah 43, for example, God addresses His promises to "O Jacob" and "O Israel." The chapter heading arbitrarily reads in most King James Bibles, however, "God comforteth the Church with His promises."
The anti-Semitic spirit of "Replacement Theology" becomes evident when dealing with the chapters in the Old Testament that refer to God's curses against Israel. In these verses, spiritualizing the meaning of "Israel" is not attempted. But whenever God's curses to Israel appear, they are readily applied to the Jews. Above Isaiah 59 is added a heading, "The sins of the Jews." Yet in the very next chapter, Isaiah 60, these very same Jewish people are robbed by the revisionists of their God-given promise of future glory. Note the false chapter heading in most King James Bibles, "Glory of the Church." The historian James Parkes observed:<6">6
But Christian theologians divided it [the Old Testament] into the story of two people the virtuous Hebrews had all the praise and the promises and the wicked Jews had all the crimes and denunciations. This was the interpretation [of Replacement Theology] repeated over and over again, in every possible variation, and in every century from the third century onward.
What are the unfortunate origins of "Replacement Theology"? This "revisionist" or "Replacement Theology" had its roots in the anti-Semitism of the so-called Early Church Fathers.
An early Church writing, the Epistle of Barnabas, said that Jews had no future with any God-given covenant. "Do not add to your sins and say that the covenant is both theirs and ours," he insisted. "Yes! It is ours; but they thus lost it forever."<7">7
Justin Martyr, writing to the Jewish leader Trypho (A.D. 138), quoted from the Jewish Scriptures, which he referred to as "your Scriptures, or rather not yours, but ours." He also stated that the "prophetical gifts formerly among your nation have been transferred to us."8
In A.D. 387 John Chrysostom ranted, "Since the deicide, the Jews have been delivered into the hands of the demons they are only fit to be butchered their behavior is no better than that of swine and oxen in the gross lewdness The synagogue is a brothel, a cave of brigands, a den of ferocious animals ."9 He also argued that when Christians beat and murder Jews, the Jews are to blame, not the Christians who had acted through "God's will."10
Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, ordered the burning of a synagogue in A.D. 388, "so that there would be no place where Christ is rejected." In his eyes, the synagogue "was destroyed by the judgment of God."<11">11
As "Replacement Theology" was begotten by the anti-Semitism of the Early Church Fathers, so Martin Luther is an example of how the acceptance of "Replacement Theology" can, in turn, beget anti-Semitism. In an article entitled, "That Jesus Was Born a Jew," dated 1523, Luther initially said:<12">12
For they [the Catholics] have dealt with the Jews as if they were dogs and not human beings. They have done nothing for them but curse them and seize their wealth. I would advise and beg everybody to deal kindly with the Jews and to instruct them in the Scriptures; in such a case we could expect them to come over to us. We must receive them kindly and allow them to compete with us in earning a livelihood. . .and if some remain obstinate, what of it? Not everyone is a good Christian.
When the Jews did not convert as Luther expected, he wrote a pamphlet in his later years, "Concerning the Jews and Their Lies," in which he listed eight actions to be taken against the Jews:<13">13
- Burn all synagogues
- Forbid Jews to travel
- Destroy Jewish dwellings
- Forbid Jews to charge interest on loans to non-Jews and confiscate Jewish property
- Confiscate the Jews' holy books
- Force Jews to do physical labor
- Forbid rabbis to teach
- Expel the Jews from provinces where Christians live
Today "Replacement" theologians also, wrongly conclude that the Jewish people have lost all rights to their Land. Accordingly, they claim all propheciesespecially in the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah concerning Israel's restoration to its historic Landwere fulfilled with the return of Israel after the Babylonian captivity (536 B.C.). Then, they say, any further promises of blessing after 536 B.C. would be conditional to their faithfulness and since they proved totally unfaithful in rejecting Jesus, any further blessing as a nation or people was forfeited.
This revisionist concept of Israel's forfeiture of their Land is refuted by the prophet Jeremiah. "Thus saith the LORD if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, then will I cast away the seed of Jacob for I will cause their captivity to return [Hebrew-return from exile] and have mercy on them" (Jeremiah 31:35-37; 33:25-26). These two prophecies in Jeremiah together devastate "Replacement Theology." Only when God's laws of the universe cease to control day and night and the operation of heaven and earth, only then will God cast off the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Then Jeremiah shows, "That the city [Old Jerusalem] shall be built to the Lord" by the returned Jews and furthermore, "It shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down anymore forever" (Jeremiah 31:38-40). The descendants of Israel (Jacob)not Ishmael or Esauwill receive the city of Jerusalem (including East Jerusalem) forever.
Zechariah was written after the return from Babylonian captivity and during the building of the second temple. Yet Zechariah prophesied a future dispersion and final regathering of Israel to its Landculminating in Jerusalem becoming the capital of God's kingdom on earth.
Zechariah 8:7-8 "Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country; And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness."
Zechariah 8:13 "And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong."
Zechariah 8:20-23 "Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you."
Certainly, the prophecies in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Amos, and others, speak of Israel's first restoration to its Land, after the 70 years' desolation/captivity. But they also speak of Israel's final restoration in the "last days" and in "those days" which will culminate in God's Kingdom on earth. When has a kingdom of universal peace, prosperity, happiness and economic security ever been established (Isaiah 2:2-4; Jeremiah 31:29-34; Micah 4:1-7)? Isaiah reveals a set of prophecies indicating that Israel will be restored to Divine favorplaying a central role in God's future Kingdom on earthlong after the death of Jesus.
Isaiah 2:1-4 "The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 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. 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. 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."
Although written before the Babylonian dispersion, the Book of Isaiah speaks of the LORD regathering Israel the second time. He had regathered them the first time after the seventy years' desolation/captivity. Israel was not dispersed again until A.D. 70nearly forty years after Jesus' death when the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem. The regathering of the Jews to their promised Land in our era is the "second time" regathering of Isaiah's prophecy.
Isaiah 11:11-12 "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea [the nations far beyond Babylon]. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."
This "second time" regathering was predicted to be from nations far beyond Babylon. Deuteronomy indicates Jews would be scattered to nations not known to their fathers.
Deuteronomy 28:36-37 "The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers [Abraham came from Babylon, Genesis 11:31] have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone. And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee."
Because the Prophet Jeremiah quotes these very words of Moses, the "fathers" Jeremiah refers to must be a reference to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This prophecy refers to the "fathers" before Israel entered the Landnot as revisionists wrongly claim, the "fathers" or leaders of disobedience who led them after they entered the Land. Although Jeremiah lived before the 70 years' desolation/captivity, he was already predicting the second dispersion into a land that their "fathers" never knew. This second dispersion would extend far beyond Babylon or the Chaldees where "father" Abraham once lived. Therefore, Jeremiah presents a thrilling prophecy of both a second dispersion and the miraculous second regathering that is now being fulfilled.
Jeremiah 16:13-15 "Therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not, neither ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night; where I will not shew you favour. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of israel from the land of the north and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers."
Another example of a prophecy written before the Babylonian captivity with an end-time fulfillment is in Zephaniah 3:8,9. This prophecy includes the time when God pours out his wrath on all the kingdoms of this earth. Then He "turns to the people a pure language [the true gospel], that they may all call upon the name of the LORD with one consent." Never in the past have "all" called upon the Name of the LORD.
The same chapter wonderfully deals with natural Israel's "end time" restoration and Israel's leading role in God's kingdom:
Zephaniah 3:19-20 "Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD."
These end-time prophecies obviously were not fulfilled during the return following the Babylonian captivity. The Jews have not been replaced or displaced from these prophetic promises of God. These prophecies concerning modern Israel's restoration are unequivocally sure of fulfillment.
The Scriptures, furthermore, speak of this final regathering as culminating in joy and blessing that will never end.
Jeremiah 31:10-12 "Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all."the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all."
This time is yet future when Israel, restored to its Land, will experience an eternity of joy.
Amos 9:14-15 "And I will bring again the captivity [return from exile] of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God."
Such prophesies as these cannot be logically interpreted in any symbolic sense. Israel is to be literally planted again "upon their own land," the Land of their fathersCanaan. God had given them the Land by divine promise to Abraham and his seedan "everlasting possession." This promise is from God Himself and must eventually, therefore, be fulfilled. The original promise to Abraham stands forever.
Genesis 13:14-17; 17:8 "Lift up now thine eyes and look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever, . . . Arise, walk through the land, in the length of it, and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. . . . I will give it unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession."
"No more pulled up" "give the Land forever" "an everlasting possession"these phrases speak of Israel's future and eternal possession of the Land. The LORD specifically promised Canaan, "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" (Genesis 17:8). The Christian Stephen declared that Abraham never received the Land in fulfillment of God's promise recorded in Genesis (Acts 7:5). Stephen's logic is that Abraham will receive the Land in God's Kingdom and all his descendants (the Jewish people) shall receive the Land after him as an "everlasting possession." Canaan is not in heaven. Canaan is on earth.
All of these prophecies harmonize with Apostle Paul's inspired reasoning in Romans 11:25-36. Contrary to Replacement Theology, "All Israel shall be saved" from both Adamic death and the condemnation of the Law"for the gifts and callings of God are without repentance" (Romans 11:29).
Possibly the most pertinent scripture to the current Land issue and the "peace process" is Jeremiah 31:5-10. In the context of the end-time regathering of the Jewish people to their Land, the LORD says, "Again [after their exile from the Land] you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria [the so-called "West Bank"] watchmen on the Mount Ephraim [also the so-called "West Bank"] shall cry, arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the LORD our God." The Biblical Zionists are the "watchmen" and many live on the mountains of Samaria and Ephraim. The Biblical Zionists are calling the secular Israelis to turn to the LORD and His Bible. A debate is raging in Israel today between the Biblical Zionists and the secular Israelis.
However, vs. 7 stands out as addressing Christians. "For thus saith the LORD [here Christians, a class not represented in Jacob, are instructed to] sing with gladness for Jacob [natural Israel] and shout among the chief [Hebrew lit. "head"] of the nations [the U.S. is the chief nation today]: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel." 14 Christians are instructed to pray to God to save the people of Israelincluding those who are living in the mountains of Samaria and Ephraim (the "West Bank"). Christians are also instructed to "publish" to the United States what God is doing. Is the U.S. cooperating with God's purposes? By pressuring Israel to give up the West Bank, the U.S. is working against God. The U.S. is working against the LORD who said, "I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn [those who live in Samaria]" (Jeremiah 31:9-12). The prophecy concludes by revealing all nations should recognize that the Lord is restoring Jacob, natural Israel, to its land.
The promises to natural Israel have not been forfeited to Christians. These promises of return to the Land do not refer to the return from Babylon, but to the current miraculous restoration to nationhood. Israel now will no "more be pulled up." Never.
With the exception of the 70 years' Babylonian desolation/captivity, the Jewish people have lived without interruption in the Land of Israel as a nation until A.D. 70-135ending a period of over seventeen hundred years. The Jewish population of Israel peaked at two and one-half million before the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and the massive slaughter and expulsion of Jews for the Second Dispersion. 15
If the Jews have a God-given right to the Land, why were the Jews expelled from the Land of Israel by the Romans? Why was the door to "Palestine," as renamed by the Romans, generally shut to Jews for so many centuries? Jesus gave the reason for this dispersion. Shortly after presenting himself to Israel as king (in fulfillment of Zechariah 10:9), he indicted Israel because they killed the prophets and failed to accept him. Jesus said, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate" (Matthew 23:37). 16 Similarly, Zechariah predicted that the LORD would render "double" (Hebrew mishneh, "an equal portion") because they did not turn to Jesus, their "stronghold." Israel would need to experience a period of disfavor equal to their period of favor from the Lord (Zechariah 10:12).
Regarding that equal portion of time in the disfavor of God, Jeremiah predicted that God's "recompense [for] their iniquity and their sin double" would be accomplished before the current massive regathering of the Jews to their Land (Jeremiah 16:14-18, especially vs. 18). The opening of the doors of the Land to the Jews can be pinpointed at 1878 when, by the diplomatic skill of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli at the Berlin Congress of Nations, Britain was given a protectorate over Palestine. Disraeli had approached the Congress with the intention of achieving that control over Palestine fully expecting a mass immigration of Jews to reach "one million strong, speaking one language, and animated by one spirit to achieve autonomy and independence."17 This turn of events finally eased restrictions on Jewish immigration and land purchase in Palestine.
Also at this time, Jews established the first agricultural settlementPetah Tikvah "Door of Hope"in the ancient Land of their ancestors.18 Here the reclamation of the Land by Jewish immigrants began.19 This regathering beginning in 1878 actually marked the first tangible sign of God's favor returning to the Jewish people.
Jeremiah prophesied that the Land would be restored to the Jews after it had become "desolate without man and without beast" (Jeremiah 33:10-16). Again, how do we know that this promise of restoration to the Land was not fulfilled with the return from Babylon? Jeremiah, after all, wrote before the 70 years' desolation. Vss. 15,16, predicted a permanent restoration that will culminate in the Messianic Age. "I will cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David. . .Jerusalem shall dwell safely." Jerusalem did not dwell "safely" after the temporary restoration from the 70 years' desolation/captivity. This permanent restoration was to occur after the Second Dispersionwhich Jesus prophesied would be worldwide (Luke 21:24).
From A.D. 70 until the current regathering, God intended that the Land of Israel would become barren of man and beast. Why? The Land then could receive a mass influx of Jewish immigrants at the prophetic time. No nation would be able to establish itself in Palestine during the interim period. But here we are faced with a credibility gap between the Bible and the Arab Palestinian claim. The Bible speaks of a massive dispersion of Jews followed by centuries of a minimum of inhabitants until God's regathering of Jews back to their Land. However, the Arab Palestinians claim that from the conquest of the Land by the Arabs (A.D. 640-1099), a thriving Palestinian culture developed. Which of these two views of history do the facts affirm?
Although the expulsions of Jews after A.D. 70 and 135 were massive, devotion to the Land of Israel caused some to linger just outside the borders, wait for quieter times and keep coming back. One of the so-called Early Church Fathers, Origen, during his stay in the Holy Land from A.D. 231-254, observed that the Jews were still a majority in the Land at that time. After the Roman Empire embraced Christianity in the fourth century, a systematic dispersal of the remaining Jews began. However, between A.D. 614-617, the Jews actually controlled large parts of the Land:20
Another large-scale uprising [of Jews in Palestine], supported by an invading Persian army, was so successful that for three years the Jews seem to have exercised control over large parts of the country including Jerusalem and Tiberias (614-617).
After this interlude of three years, the Persians were defeated and Jerusalem returned to the Byzantine Christians.21
Consequently, the population of the Land was a "quilt" of minorities when the Arabs acquired it in their conquest of Byzantine Syria in A.D. 640. This quilt of people whose Land was dubbed "Palestine" by Imperial Rome was composed of Jews, Samaritans, dissident-Christians and the largest grouping-Syrian Orthodox Christians-none of whom were Arabs.
Although the Arabs ruled the Land from A.D. 640 to A.D. 1099, it is questionable that they ever became the majority of the population. The historian James Parker wrote:<22">22
During the first century after the Arab conquest [A.D. 670-740], the caliph and governors of Syria and the Land [Palestine] ruled entirely over Christian and Jewish subjects. Apart from the Bedouin in the earliest days, the only Arabs west of the Jordan. . .were the garrisons.
In A.D. 985 the Arab writer Muqaddasi complained about the large majority Jewish population in Jerusalem and added, "The mosque is empty of worshippers. . ."23 Although Al-Hakim, Caliph of the Arab Empire (A.D. 996-1021), ordered all non-Moslems in Syria and the area called Palestine to convert to Islam or be expelled, he later rescinded some of the restrictions and so the Arabs remained a minority. The noted Arab historian Dr. Philip Hitti observed that after almost four centuries after the Arab conquest (about A.D. 1070), the Christians (non-Arabs) in Syria, including Palestine, were still fully as numerous as the Moslems and that the Moslems were by no means all Arab.<24">24
The Crusader rule (A.D. 1099-1291) in the Land was followed by the non-Arab Moslem rule of the Mamelukes (A.D. 1291-1517). The Arab historian Hitti observed that there was a large exodus of Arabs during this period.25 The Arab historian Ibu Khaldun wrote in A.D. 1377, "Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel extended over 1400 years. . . . It was the Jews who implanted the culture and customs of the permanent settlement."26 Nearly 300 years after the Arab rule in the Land, the noted Arab historian Khaldun (called one of the greatest historians of all time by Arnold Toynbee) observed that the Land still was permeated with Jewish culture and customs. In A.D. 1400, nearly 300 years after Arab rule, there was still no evidence of Palestinian roots or established culture.
During the period of the Mamelukes as a consequence of the Black Plague, the population of the Land west of the Jordan River dwindled down to 140,000 to 150,000 Moslems, Christians and Jews.27 After the Turkish conquest in 1517 a census for tax purposes tabulated 49,181 heads of families and single men liable to tax. Professor Roberto Bacchi calculated that in the years 1553-1554 there were 205,000 Moslems, Christians and Jews. From his travels in 1785, Francois Comte de Volney's figures would leave less than 200,000 for the total population of the land of Palestine.28 Both Dr. Philip K. Hitti and Alfred Bonni agree that the total population was less than 200,000 in A.D. 1800.<29">29,30 Some estimate the total population of the Land at 150,000 by 1850. This total population would include Jews, Christians and Arabs.
Then Jewish funds started to flow into the Land by 1856 when Sir Moses Montefiore purchased Land outside of Jerusalem to teach agriculture to the Jews in the Land.31 From about 1878, Edmond de Rothschild began to actually finance the establishment of Jewish agricultural colonies. At this time in history, an uninterrupted stream of Jewish funds and Jewish immigration commenced to pour into Palestine. This influx of resources resulted in an economic upswing that attracted Arabs from surrounding countries. Since the Land was at that time under Turkish Moslem rule, Arabs throughout the Middle East had unrestricted access to Palestine. By 1918 the Arab population increased to 560,000.32 In spite of restrictions on Jewish immigration, Jews and Arabs continued to pour into the Land until the birth of the State of Israel in 1948. Clearly, Jewish financial investments and immigrationtogether with laborious cultivation of the landhad put the Land of Israel on the economic map.
What conclusions can be drawn from the foregoing overview of history? The Jews lived in the Land of Israel for seventeen hundred years virtually uninterrupted until the Roman destruction of its national polity in A.D. 70. At this point, Israel's population of over two and one-half million was abruptly decimated by massive slaughter and expulsion. But as late as A.D. 617, Jews controlled Jerusalem and a large portion of the Land. After that time, even though Arabs conquered the Land, they were only a minority. Then through the centuries of Christian Crusader rule and the Mameluke period, the Land was still dominated by Jewish culture and customs until A.D. 1400 even though the Arabs eventually became a small majority. Because the Prophet Jeremiah had forecasted that during the Second Dispersion the Holy Land would be forgotten and desolate, the Land especially during the Turkish rule drifted into relative obscurity. . .the backwaters of Syria. Thus, for centuries the total combined populations of Moslems, Christians and Jews was less than 200,000. Compared, therefore, with the Jewish population peak of over a couple million, the Land did become relatively "desolate of man and beast" as the Prophet predicted.
|1,700 years to Roman destruction of Jerusalem, AD 70||Jewish national entity with judicial system, commerce, etc., majority of time. Population of 2½ million|
|AD 70 - 135||Rome began its attempt to destroy or exile 2½ million Jews|
|AD 614 - 617||Jews controlled large parts of the country|
|AD 640 -1099||Arab conquest, but not majority population|
|AD 1099 - 1291||Crusaders' rule|
|AD 1291 - 1517||Non-Arab Moslem Mamelukes' rule|
|AD 1517-1917||Land drifted into relative obscurity under Turkish rule|
|AD 1856 - 1948||Influx of Jewish funds and cultivation of Land attracting immigration of Jews and Arabs|
The Palestinian claim that the Land for centuries sustained a thriving Palestinian culture is not authorized by the facts of history. Yet the world community has given this claim a receptive hearing. PLO Chairman Yassir Arafat in his speech before the U.N. in 1974 declared, "The Jewish invasion began in 1881 . . . Palestine was then a verdant area, inhabited mainly by an Arab people in the course of building its life and dynamically enriching its indigenous culture."
What happens when this claim is compared with the personal observations of the following recognized authorities? In 1738 Thomas Shaw observed a land of "barrenness . from want of inhabitants."33 In 1785 Constantine Francois de Volney recorded the population of the three main cities. Jerusalem had a population of 12,000 to 14,000. Bethlehem had about 600 able-bodied men. Hebron had 800 to 900 men.34 In 1835 Alphonse de Lamartine wrote, "Outside the city of Jerusalem, we saw no living object, heard no living sound. . .a complete eternal silence reigns in the town, in the highways, in the country . . . The tomb of a whole people."<35">35
In 1857, the British consul in Palestine, James Finn, reported, "The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is that of a body of population."36 This historic observation is a remarkable confirmation of the Biblical predictions that during Israel's "double" period of time of punishment and dispersion, the Lord would cause the Land to become desolate of man and beast (Jeremiah 33:10; Zechariah 10:12; Jeremiah 16:14-18). No wonder by 1857 it was just waiting for "a body of population"! In the Lord's providence this needed body of populationthe Jewish peoplebegan to return after 1878 at the end of their Scriptural period of God's disfavor.
The most popular quote on the desolation of the Land is from Mark Twain's THE INNOCENTS ABROAD (1867), "Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes. Over it broods the spell of a curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies .Palestine is desolate and unlovely . It is a hopeless, dreary, heartbroken land."
The records of history confirm the Biblical predictions that during the Jewish dispersion and "double" of God's disfavor, the Land of Israel would become desolate awaiting the return of the Jewish people when its period of disfavor ended in 1878. The records of history simply do not confirm today's Palestinian claim of Palestinian roots and culture in a "verdant area" since the Arab rule of the land (A.D. 640-1099).
The Romans had changed the name of the Land of Israel to "Palestine." But from A.D. 640 until the 1960s, Arabs referred to this same Land as "Southern Syria." Arabs only started calling the Land "Palestine" in the 1960s. Until about the eighteenth century, the Christian world called this same Land, "The Holy Land." Thereafter, they used two names: "The Holy Land" and "Palestine." When the League of Nations in 1922 gave Great Britain the mandate to prepare Palestine as a national home for the Jewish people, the official name of the Land became "Palestine" and remained so until the rebirth of the Israeli State in 1948. During this very period, the leaders of the Arabs in the Land, however, called themselves Southern Syrians and clamored that the Land become a part of a "Greater Syria." This "Arab Nation" would include Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Transjordan as well as Palestine. An observation in TIME magazine well articulated how the Palestinian identity was born so belatedly in the 1960s:37
Golda Meir once argued that there was no such thing as a Palestinian; at the time, she wasn't entirely wrong. Before Arafat began his proselytizing, most of the Arabs from the territory of Palestine thought of themselves as members of an all-embracing Arab nation. It was Arafat who made the intellectual leap to a definition of the Palestinians as a distinct people; he articulated the cause, organized for it, fought for it and brought it to the world's attention. . . .who made the intellectual leap to a definition of the Palestinians as a distinct people; he articulated the cause, organized for it, fought for it and brought it to the world's attention. . . .
If there was an Arab Palestinian culture, a normal population increase over the centuries would have been expected. But with the exception of a relatively few families, the Arabs had no attachment to the Land. If Arabs from southern Syria drifted into Palestine for economic reasons, within a generation or so the cultural tug of Syria or other Arab lands would pull them back. This factor is why the Arab population average remained low until the influx of Jewish financial investments and Jewish people in the late 1800s made the Land economically attractive. Then sometime between 1850 and 1918, the Arab population shot up to 560,000. Not to absolve the Jews but to defend British policy, the not overfriendly British secretary of state for the colonies, Malcolm MacDonald, declared in the House of Commons (November 24, 1938), "The Arabs cannot say that the Jews are driving them out of the country. If not a single Jew had come to Palestine after 1918, I believe the Arab population of Palestine would still have been around 600,000. . ."<38">38
Jewish contributions and Jewish immigration continued to flow into the Land. The Jews created industry, agriculture, hospitalsa complete socio-economic infrastructure. As job opportunities increased, so did Arab immigration. In fact, in 1939 President Roosevelt observed that "Arab immigration into Palestine since 1921 has vastly exceeded the total Jewish immigration during this whole period."39 For one specific example, in 1934 between 30,000 and 36,000 Arabs from the Hauran Province in Syria left for "the better life" in Palestine.<40">40
On the other hand, Great Britain's White Paper of 1939 closed the doors of Jewish immigration to their Land. Simultaneously, there was a large-scale Arab immigration to the new Land of opportunity during World War II.41 In 1946 Bartley C. Crum, a United States Government observer, noted that tens of thousands of Arabs had entered Palestine "because of this better lifeand they were still coming."42
Because Arabs until the 1960s spoke of Palestine as Southern Syria or part of Greater Syria, in 1919 the General Syrian Congress stated, "We ask that there should be no separation of the southern part of Syria, known as Palestine."<43">43 In 1939 George Antonius noted the Arab view of Palestine in 1918:<44">44
Faisal's views about the future of Palestine did not differ from those of his father and were identical with those held then by the great majority of politically-minded Arabs. The representative Arab view was substantially that which King Husain [Grand Sherif of Mecca, the great grandfather of the current King Hussein of Jordan] had expressed to the British Government. . . in January 1918. In the Arab view, Palestine was an Arab territory forming an integral part of Syria.
Referring to the same Arab view of Palestine in 1939, George Antonius spoke of "the whole of the country of that name [Syria] which is now split up into mandated territories "45 His lament was that France's mandate over Syria did not include Palestine which was under Britain's mandate.
As late as May 1947, Arab representatives reminded the United Nations in a formal statement, "Palestine is a part of the Province of Syria .Politically, the Arabs of Palestine were not independent in the sense of forming a separate political entity."<46">46
On May 31, 1956, Ahmed Shukairy had no hesitation, as current head of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in announcing to the Security Council the observation, "It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria."<47">47
Syrian President Hafez Assad once told PLO leader Yassir Arafat:<48">48
You do not represent Palestine as much as we do. Never forget this one point: There is no such thing as a Palestinian People, there is no Palestinian entity, there is only Syria. You are an integral part of the Syrian people, Palestine is an integral part of Syria. Therefore it is we, the Syrian authorities, who are the true representatives of the Palestinian people.
Assad stated on March 8, 1974, "Palestine is a principal part of Southern Syria, and we consider that it is our right and duty to insist that it be a liberated partner of our Arab homeland and of Syria."49
In the words of the late military commander of the PLO as well as member of the PLO Executive Council, Zuhair Muhsin:50
There are no differences between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. We are all part of one nation. It is only for political reasons that we carefully underline our Palestinian identity .yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity serves only tactical purposes. The founding of a Palestinian state is a new tool in the continuing battle against Israel [emphasis ours].
The following are significant observations by Christians of the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s:<51">51
The Arabs themselves, who are its inhabitants, cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it.
Stephen Olin, D.D., L.L.D., called one of the most noted of American theologians after his extensive travels in the Middle East wrote of the Arabs in Palestine " with slight exceptions they are probably all descendants of the old inhabitants of Syria."<52">52
The most authoritative Arab statement, however, as to whom the Holy Land belongs is found in the Koran, the Islamic Scriptures:53
The fact is that the Koran agrees with the Bible that God (Allah) made a covenant with the Sons of Israel and assigned the Holy Land to the Jews (See the Koran, Sura V, "The Table"). The Koran also describes the Land given to the Jews as "blessed" and foresees a return of Israel to their Land at the end of days.
These testimonies confirm the Christian Scriptures that God gave the Land to the Jewish people as an everlasting possession. The relatively few Arabs who wandered into the Land between A.D. 670-1878 were but temporary dwellers. The truer perspective of history reveals that the large recent influx of Arabs that paralleled the regathering of Jews has no historic rootage in the Land.
Before Jewish immigration and Jewish investments spawned massive Arab immigration, Arabs were actually leaving Palestine. Then the flow of traffic reversed. ". . .Palestine changed from a country of Arab emigration to one of Arab immigration. Arabs from the Hauran in Syria as well as other neighboring lands poured into Palestine to profit from the higher standard of living and fresh opportunities provided by the Zionist pioneers."54 This phenomenon is confirmed by the Palestine Royal Commission Report which observed that in the period between the Balfour Declaration and the United Nations Partition Resolution of 1947, Palestine became a land of Arab immigration.55 As further documented by Frankenstein, substantial Arab immigration was a recent phenomenon:56
The early "lovers of Zion" began the stimulation of Arab immigration. Some writers have come out with the conclusion that in 1942, 75 percent of the Arab population were either immigrants or descendants of immigrants into Palestine during the preceding one hundred years, mainly after 1882.
Indeed, the verdict of history does more than confirm the Prophets. The population of the Land of Israel would be minimal until the "double" of Israel's disfavor ended in 1878 when the regathering of the Jewish exiles began (Jeremiah 33:10; Zechariah 9:12 and Jeremiah 16:14-18). The record of history testifies that the great influx of Arabs also began after that date.
These facts of history explain why the United Nations needed to develop a definition that a "Palestinian Refugee" is any Arab who had been in "Palestine" for only two years.<57">57 This U.N. definition, in fact, is incompatible with the assumption that the Arab Palestinian roots go back one or two thousand years. The Jews themselves have dominated the Land called "Palestine" for the past two millennia. The Jews themselves are as much "Palestinian" as the Arabs who claim to be Palestinians. If any population has a right to the name Palestinian (if they wanted it), it would be the Jews whose ancestors had their Land renamed "Palestine."
"When I bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations. . .I will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land." Joel 3:1,2
With the ending of God's "double" of disfavor and punishment, God takes issue with the nations responsible for hounding and scattering "my people." Now during God's regathering of the Jews by Divine Providence since 1878 to "my Land," He also takes issue with the nations who have "parted My Land"His Land. How have the nations "partitioned" His Land?
World War I was the second significant event in end-time prophecy regarding the regathering of Israel. Turkey, with an expansive empire that compassed the Middle East (including Palestine) and North Africa, fought with Germany and the Central Powers against the Allies. At the breaking up of the Turkish Empire by the victorious Allies, both Jews and Arabs requested independent states. The world powers were generous in the extreme to the Arabs by granting them twenty-two independent Arabs statesencompassing 5,414,000 square miles. The Jews asked for less than one percent of that vast territory. The Allies agreed to this request (which included both sides of the Jordan) in the 1917 Balfour Declaration and the 1920 San Remo Conference of World Powers.
For imperialistic interests, however, in 1921 Great Britain reneged on the Balfour Declaration, lopped off 77 percent of the Land promised in the Balfour Declaration and set up the Arab Emirate of Transjordan (See Map II). Then in 1922 the League of Nations gave Great Britain a Mandate to prepare the remaining 23 percent of Palestine (including Samaria, Judea, Gaza, Golan Heights and Eastern Jerusalem) for a Jewish National Home. But under French pressure, in 1923 the Golan Heights was ceded by the British to the French mandate of Syria.58 They partitioned His Land and the Lord was angry.
Oil was then discovered in the Arab countries. Consequently, "oil diplomacy" was instituted. British foreign policy simply appeased the Arabs. In 1939 the British White Paper banned further immigration to Palestine. Also, with brutal callousness, the United Sates and most nations refused to accept the beleaguered Jews of Europe. Consequently, 6 million Jews were slaughtered in the Holocaust.
How many millions of these hapless victims would have found a haven in Palestine if Britain had not renegedwith the silent consent of the other nations of the worldon its own mandate obligations by banning Jewish immigration? What a heinous, collective crime of history! Lloyd George, the Prime Minister of Great Britain when the Balfour Declaration was issued, went on national radio to call the British 1939 White Paper, "an act of national perfidy which will dishonor the name of Britain."<59">59
This time the nations actually denied the Jews any of God's Land and the Lord was angry. Finally, the gentile nations, guilt-ridden after defaulting on their promise since 1922, felt a moral obligation to grant the Jews an independent state. But, unfortunately, the UN Partition Plan of 1947 further reduced the size of the new Israeli State (See Map III). They partitioned "My Land" and the Lord was angry. . .
When Israel became an independent State in 1948, armies from six Arab nations invaded the newborn State. Outnumbered 100 to one, Israel's ragtag army pushed back the invaders and took more of its rightful Land. Divine Providence was telling the world something about whose Land it is.
However, the Arab State of Transjordan captured East Jerusalem, expelled all Jews and destroyed or desecrated all Jewish holy sites. This is the time when Jerusalem became "occupied territory." In addition to defying the U.N. Mandate, Transjordan also occupied the west bank of the River Jordan. No longer limited to being "Trans" (across) Jordan (the east bank), Transjordan reduced its name to simply Jordan, now ruling over both the occupied west bank and the original east bank of Jordan.
But this annexation of the "West Bank" by Jordan was not recognized by any nation of the worldexcept Great Britain and Pakistan. Jordan was even denounced by its Arab allies, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who wanted to expel Jordan from the Arab League!60 It is claimed that 600,000 Arabs fled "temporarily," but temporarily became permanently when the Arab invaders failed to destroy the new State of Israel. David Ben-Gurion adamantly argued that the 600,000 figure was a lie. "The refugee issue is one of the biggest lies, even among our own people I have all the figures. From the area of the State of Israel, only 180,000 Arabs left in 1948. There were 300,000 Arabs altogether in Israel and 120,000 remain."<61">61
In the 1967 Six Day War, under the threat of being "pushed into the sea" by Egypt, Syria and Jordan, Israel actually liberated the "occupied territory" of Jerusalem and granted free access to Jews, Christians and Moslems to worship at their respective holy sites. Israel also liberated the "West Bank" and Gaza. How easily recent history is forgotten. By comparison, Israel's administration, despite its faults, has been much more humane. The realities of the Jordanian and Egyptian occupation are conveyed in the following quote from HARSH REALITIES:<62">62
For 19 years, until 1967, Jordan brutally occupied the renamed "West Bank" with its 20 UNWRA refugee camps . And when western Palestinians rioted in December '55, April '57, April '63, Nov. '66 and April '67, King Hussein sent in tanks which shelled city streets and machine gunned people at random, killing hundreds of men, women and children.
The Gaza Strip, as it was known for the 19 years of harsh Egyptian occupation, had 8 UNWRA refugee camps in which the Palestinians were forced to live in overcrowded squalor. Egypt refused to absorb any refugees; kept them stateless, denied passports, and forbade them to travel or work in Egypt. [On the other hand, Palestinians were permitted to work in Israel after 1967.]
For 19 years of brutal occupation of their fellow Arabs, Jordan and Egypt kept these areas in a deliberate state of economic stagnation and severe unemployment. Average unemployment in the early Sixties ran between 35-45%, and refugee unemployment hit a high of 83%. Yet during this entire period, the world was silent. Only after Israel's seizure of these territories in a defensive war in 1967, did anyone discover the "legitimate rights and national aspirations" of the Palestinian Arabs.
From a humanitarian viewpoint, their situation improved immeasurably under Israeli administration. Unemployment hovers around a mere 1% (1989) and per capita gross income tripled in less than 20 years; infant mortality rates dropped from the pre-1967 140 per 1,000 to only 30 per 1,000 todayat a time when the rest of the Arab world is still at 80 per 1,000; 7 Arab colleges and universities were established under Israel "occupation," where none existed before 1967. Yet it is Israel that is now being attacked.
Had the Arab countries any true intentions of helping their beleaguered brethren from western Palestine, they would and could have absorbed them easily 4 decades ago, as the Israelites did of an even greater number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands. The Palestinian Arabs share the same language, religion and culture, and for 70% of them, the same countries of origin just 3 generations before when their grandfathers emigrated for economic reasons to Palestine from surrounding Arab lands. But the 22 Arab countries, uninterested in aiding in Palestinian brothers, preferred to use them as a political weapon to wield against Israel, and the U.N. supported this heartless human manipulation.
In the mid-1970's Israel attempted to give the Palestinian Arab refugees in Gaza new and better housing. The U.N. General Assembly, at the urging of the Arab states, passed Resolution 32/90 condemning Israel for trying to relocate these refugees and demanded they be returned "to the camps in which they were removed." And yet, a senior U.N. official came to Gaza in January 1988 accompanied by 10 TV crews on a fact-finding visit and laid the entire blame for the situation at Israel's feet. As if the U.N.'s own complicity in the matter didn't exist!
When the six Arab nations invaded Israel at Israel's birth, many claim 600,000 Arabs were displaced in that war. What is not well known is that approximately 800,000 Jews, who were living in those six Arab nations, had to flee for their lives because of Arab hatred. The solution to this refugee problem was simplea fair exchange.
Israel, at a terrible economic cost, absorbed the 800,000 Jewish refugees But the Arab nations refused to accept these Arab refugeestheir Arab brethren. Rather, they placed them in refugee camps, which became dark holes of hate and misery, models for propaganda to turn world opinion against Israel. They succeeded. How well they succeeded .
When Israel inherited Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") and Gaza in the 1967 War, Israel also inherited the Palestinian refugee camps that were administered by a United Nations agency. Israel wanted to negotiate both the refugee problem and a peace settlement, but the Arabs refused. One cannot help but agonize for the poor refugee pawns in this ploy. The deplorable condition of the Palestinian refugees is especially pitiful because the situation was designed and perpetuated by their own Arab brothers. No wonder the "intifada" erupted. Many claim the Arab nations refused to alleviate the refugee problem both in 1948 and in 1967.
Among many who have made this observation is Col. Richard Henry Meinertzhagen, a British Middle East expert. He asked a fellow dinner guest at the home of a British diplomat, "Why do not you Arabs, with all your resources from oil, do something for those wretched refugees from Palestine?" The Lebanese replied, "Good God, do you really think we are going to destroy the finest propaganda we possess? It's a gold mine!" When Meinertzhagen observed that this view was unkind and immoral, the Lebanese replied, "They are just human rubbish, but a political gold mine!" In slightly different language referring to the same attitude about the usefulness of Palestinian refugee camps, Meinertzhagen notes in his book, "I received identical views from other Arabs."<63">63
The Palestinians who have taken to the streets, spoiling for trouble, are the new generation-spawned in the refugee camps. From earliest childhood, they have been taught hate.
The U.N. has now had the audacity to call Jerusalem and the "West Bank" "occupied territories" only after Israel regained them in the 1967 War. In 1922 the League of Nations had recognized the legal, moral and historic right of the Jewish people to a national homeland in Palestineincluding Jerusalem. If the Jews had a right to Jerusalem recognized by the world community in 1922, that right is still valid today. But since then, the vast oil reserves were discovered in Arab lands. The nations are compromising Israel's rights for their own oil interests! Consequently, today the U.S. administration and the U.N. define East Jerusalem as "occupied territory." But when Jordan occupied East Jerusalem, it became "occupied territory." Now, in fact, no part of Jerusalem is "occupied territory."
Jerusalemindivisiblebelongs to Israel. The same logic applies to the "West Bank." Unfortunately, Israel's government presently is too intimidated by tremendous pressure from the U.S. and other world powers to insist on its historic right to Judea-Samaria, the so-called "West Bank."
What is the Lord's perspective of all of these events? He is angry at the nations. Whose Land is it that the world powers are now pressuring Israel to give to the Arabs? During the current regathering of the Jews to Israel, even before God's Kingdom is set up in Jerusalem, God refers to Israel as "My people" and their Land as "My Land" (Ezekiel 38:16; Isaiah 11:11). Because the LORD is angry with the nations during Israel's regathering, He will bring them down to the "Valley of Jehoshaphat" (symbolic of the great time of trouble in Daniel 12:1 and Matthew 24:21), to be punished because of their sins against Israel (Joel 3:1-2). The first sin is "they have scattered" "My people" among the nations and then during the regathering, "they parted [partitioned] My land." To whom does the Land belong? The Arabs? No! The Land belongs to God and He gave it to the children of Israel. But the nations have the arrogance to partition God's Land. They took 77 percent of it away from Israel, "My people," and gave it to the Arabs, and now the United States and the nations of the world are pressuring Israel to surrender even more of their God-given Land to the Arabs (See Map inside front cover).
What is God's evaluation of the actions of Israel in contrast to the actions of all other governments including the Arabs? What is His respective judgment of each? His intentions are revealed by the Prophet Jeremiah (30:11):
For I am with thee (Israel) saith the Lord, to save thee; though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet I will not make a full end of thee; but I will correct thee in measure and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.
After the destruction of their governments, the people of these nations will "seek the Lord of Hosts in Jerusalem" which will become the capital of God's Kingdom (Zechariah 8:20-23). Instead of converging on Israel and Jerusalem to partition the Land or take it, the nations will come to Jerusalem to learn of the God of Israel so that they may walk in His ways. Instead of coming to dissect Israel, they will come to be taught (Isaiah 2:1-4).
The road to actual peace between Israel and the Arabs is full of land mines. Whether or not any kind of peace is actually attained, the Scriptures indicate that this current "peace process," will precipitate another Arab-Israeli war. Bible-believing Christians view the "peace process" with great prophetic interest. Those who have a short prophetic time frame expect this peace process will position Israel in the prophetic setting of Ezekiel 38:11dwelling "at rest," "without walls and having neither bars nor gates." Then very soon Gog and his associates would invade Israel resulting in the destruction of our world order (Ezekiel 38 & 39). However, the Scriptures indicate another war between Israel and the Arabs before this drama of Ezekiel's prophecy can unfold. Therefore, whether or not peace is temporarily attained, this "peace process" will set in motion a series of events that will precipitate another Arab-Israeli war .But an Israeli-Arab war need only delay Gog's invasion by a matter of months.
The Rabin-Arafat agreement is at variance with God's agenda in our prophetic time as "the day for extending your [Israel's] boundaries" (Micah 7:11).64 This peace agreement is intended to actually shrink Israel's boundaries. Consequently, this agreement will not last. There is only one nation on earth that has its boundaries decreed in the Bible. That nation is Israel. Israel's ultimate boundaries are from the River of Egypt to the Euphrates River (Genesis 15:18-21). These boundaries will be fully attained in God's Kingdom after this "time of trouble" or "great tribulation" which terminates our world or age (Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:3, 21-22; Zephaniah 3:8,9). (Since the following prophetic analysis deals with future prophetic details, these details are presented in the spirit of dialogue. We will content ourselves here with identifying the minimum territory Israel will evidently occupy before the "time of trouble" is over and, incidentally, deal with the immigration of Russian Jews as this immigration is tied into the "Land issue" scriptures.)
The Israeli-Arab conflict is graphically portrayed in Psalm 83. A look at a map of the Middle East in Biblical times will identify the countries involved today. These are the nations that are saying, "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" (vss. 4, 5). This confederacy, of course, is a reference to the Arab nations. Although this Psalm is a prayer to God ("Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace ") for the defeat of these nations ("O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind ")the actual conclusion of this conflict is not described. But the Scriptures reveal how this Arab defeat is accomplished.
The same day Israel is fortifying and expanding her borders, Micah also describes as a severe time of trouble for the rest of the earth (Micah 7:11-17, NEW AMERICAN STANDARD):
It will be a day for building your (Israel's) walls. On that day will your boundary be extended And the earth will become desolate because of her inhabitant on account of the fruit of their deeds Nations will see and be ashamed of all their might They will lick the dust like a serpent They will come trembling out of their fortresses; To the LORD our God they will come in dread.
What a fitting description of the time of trouble! Sandwiched in this time-of-trouble setting, the Lord is described (vs. 14) as feeding (Hebrew "ruling"65) Israel in a territory that includes "Bashan" (the Golan Heights) and "Gilead." Half the tribe of Manasseh received all of "Bashan" (Deuteronomy 3:3,4,13) and Golan was part of Bashan (Joshua 21:27) and still is. And Gilead is a part of the East Bank of the Jordan River (See Map VI). The current "peace process" in the Middle East is negotiating the status of the Golan Heights and the "West Bank." Can man negotiate with God on the status of His promises to Israel? If Israel is forced to temporarily compromise Land for peace, the Scriptures indicate that before the "time of trouble" is over, Israel will again acquire the Golan Heights and not only the West Bankbut the East Bank as well.
An immigration of Jews from "Assyria" and "Egypt" is described by Zechariah that is so large that it will fill the land of Gilead and Lebanon (Zechariah 10:10,11). Therefore, Lebanon (at least southern Lebanon as described in the Book of Joshua) belongs to Israel by Divine Right (Joshua 13:5,6). Israel already occupies a buffer zone in southern Lebanon. But an immigration from Assyria and Egypt is prophetically anticipated that will be so numerically great that "place shall not be found for them." The people will overfill the Land of Gilead (East Bank) and at a minimum southern Lebanon.
Literal "Assyria" is Iraq. There are fewer than a thousand Jews in Iraq and Egypt. This number is hardly enough to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah. "Assyria" must be symbolic. For example, in Micah 5:5-7, Assyria invades Israel just before Israel becomes a blesser nation (vs. 7). "Assyria" is repelled. Micah's prophecy is evidently a parallel account of Gog's invasion (Ezekiel 38,39). It is generally agreed that Gog and some of his associates mentioned refer to Russia and at least some of the republics of the former Soviet Unionincluding the Moslem republics. Therefore, the massive immigration from a symbolic "Assyria" may be a reference to the current wave of Jews from Russia and other former Soviet republics. Also, evidently "Egypt" is symbolic of the Christian world (Revelation 11:8). Where among the Christian nations are there so many Jews that could converge on Israel? There are over 5 million Jews in the United States alone.
In another prophecy in Ezekiel, Israel's ancient exodus from Egypt is identified as a microcosm of the exodus of Jews from all nations back to Israel at the end of the Christian Age (Ezekiel 20:32-38). God is described as bringing the Jews out of the nations "into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of Egypt "
In this original exodus Israel had to cross a literal sea and a river in order to enter the Promised Land. The smiting of the "sea" and the "river" in Zechariah's prophecy (the Hebrew word here does not mean the Euphrates but merely a river) seems to be symbolic of removing obstacles that prohibited the Jews from leaving the former Soviet Union (Zechariah 10:11). The main obstacle was Communism. With the breakup of Communism, the massive exodus began. Over a half-million have immigrated to Israel. This continuing immigration of Jews is the largest from any country in the world (Jeremiah 16:14,15).
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north (Russia) and from all the lands whither he had driven them; and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.
Isaiah also prophesies the smiting of a "sea" and a "river" (again-not the Euphrates as some translations incorrectly read) in connection with a large immigration of Jews from Assyria to Israel (Isaiah 11:14-16). The preceding verses show that Israel and Judah are gathered together from the nations (Isaiah 11:10-12). "Ephraim shall not envy Judah" (vs. 13) parallels Jeremiah's prophecy where the ten-tribe "house of Israel" (Ephraim) and the two-tribe "house of Judah" become one in Diaspora and return "together" to the Promised Land (Jeremiah 3:18).
Once in the Land, any peace agreement will explode in a two-front war on Israel's southwest and eastern borders. "They [Israel] shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west [Gaza strip on the southwest Mediterranean coast where the Palestinians now reside]." The Hebrew word for "fly" literally means "a flying attack from behind." The picture becomes even more vivid since the Hebrew word for "shoulders," can refer to a maritime coast, "the side [shoulder] of the sea" (Numbers 34:11). Any Palestinian state or self-rule on the Gaza Strip will be short-lived. Eventually, Israel by missiles or planes will fly out into the Mediterranean and attack the Palestinians from behind. What about the eastern front? "They [Israel] will possess Edom and Moab. And the sons of Ammon will be subject to them" (Isaiah 11:14, NAS).
These Old Testament nations occupied territories that are now within the Arab nation of Jordan on the East Bank of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea (See Map VI). A war in which Israel defeats Jordan and occupies portions of Jordan (Gilead, Ammon, Moab and Edom) could spark a wave of worldwide anti-Semitism and precipitate a further mass exodus (vs. 16) from Russia and the former Soviet Republics, "And there will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant of His people who will be left "
Gog is spoken of as coming from the "northern parts" (Ezekiel 38:14,15). While many prophecies speak of a regathering from all the nations, an emigration "out of the land of the north" (which seems to be the land of Gog, or the former Soviet Republics) is particularly emphasized (Jeremiah 16:14,15; 31:7,8; 23:8; 3:18). First, a small number would return, "one of a city, and two of a family" (Jeremiah 3:14-18). From 1878 to the fall of Communism in 1990, relatively few Russian Jews did return. A prophecy in Isaiah contrasts this trickle immigration ("gathered one by one") with the time when "the great trumpet shall be blown" and there would be a massive return (Isaiah 27:12,13). What "great trumpet" is this? The Jubilee Trumpet of old was a signal to return rights that were lost (Leviticus 25). Today the trumpet blast of human rights brought down Communism and over a half-million Jews fled to Israel. What will precipitate this even greater immigration wave from "the north"? The next massive immigration wave from the former Soviet Republics to Israel might occur after the next Arab-Israeli war as indicated in Isaiah 11:14-16. Time will reveal if this conclusion is a valid assumption.
The decisive victory over the Palestinians in Gaza on the west and Moab, Ammon and Edom on the east already considered in Isaiah are paralleled in Zephaniah (Isaiah 11:14 and Zephaniah 2:2-7). The setting is during "the day of the Lord's anger" (vs. 2). A complete defeat of the Philistines in the Gaza area is described. Of course, the literal Philistines have long since passed off the scene, but they are symbolic of the Palestinians who now occupy that territory. Ironically, one of the fanciful claims of the Palestinians is that they are descendants of the Philistines while simultaneously claiming to be descendants of Abraham. The origin of the Palestinians is identified by Ezekiel (36:1-7). The Lord is angry with "the people round about [Arabs]" the Land of Israel who came into the land and made it a desolation. The Lord will punish these self-styled Palestinians (see map on inside back cover). 66
Zephaniah also indicts Moab and Ammon for all their abuses towards Israel. "I have heard the reproach of Moab and Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people and magnified themselves against their [Israel's] border" (Zephaniah 2:8). The Lord spared ancient Moab and Ammon during Israel's wilderness journey, but not modern Moab and Ammon which is the Arab nation of Jordan. During the Israeli War of Independence in 1948, it was Jordan who captured the "West Bank" and the Bible Jerusalem ("magnified themselves against their borders"). It was Jordan who expelled all Jews from the West Bank and East Jerusalem ("they have reproached my people"). It was Jordan who occupied Judea and Samaria (wrongfully calling them the "West Bank") until Israel's victory in the 1967 War. It was Jordan who destroyed all Jewish holy places in Jerusalem. Also it was Jordan with the Palestinians who sided with Saddam Hussein during Desert Storm in the hope he would fulfill his threat to "scorch half of Israel." Now in the "peace process," King Hussein of Jordan with dignity and poise knows how to say all the right things and the past is forgotten. But the Lord has not forgotten. Because of these sins, Moab and Ammon (parts of modern Jordan) shall become "a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people [Israel] shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people [Israel] shall possess them" (Zephaniah 2:9).
Thus the Scriptures forecast that before the invasion of Gog, Israel will gain more Land and more people. What may precipitate these two factors would be an Arab-Israeli war which would expand Israel's borders and simultaneously stimulate world anti-Semitism. Worldwide anti-Semitism, in turn, would precipitate a greater flood of immigration to the Land.
After its decisive victory over the Arabs (Isaiah 11:14; Zephaniah 2:4-10; Ezekiel 36:7), Israel will dwell in peace and "unwalled villages" as symbolized in Ezekiel (38:11). At this juncture, Gog and the nations listed will invade Israel (Ezekiel 38:3-6). Here we disagree with many of our "born-again" Christian friends. We do not believe in a so-called "second holocaust"in which nine-tenths of the Israelis will be eternally condemned when slain by the forces of Gog and only a one-tenth holy remnant remain.
Is the purpose of Gog's invasion to once and for all teach Israel a lesson of God's sovereignty? Or is it to teach the Gentile nations which attack the Land the sovereignty of the God of Israel? The answer is "Yes" to both questions. But the way God accomplishes this lesson is different in each case. On Israel's behalf He fights for them as He did in ancient times, "Then shall the LORD go forth and fight against those nations as when he fought in the day of battle" (Zechariah 14:1-3) In their spectacular deliverance the LORD says, "I will bring again the captivity of Jacob and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel " (Ezekiel 39:25,29). On the other hand, the way God will sanctity Himself "in the eyes of many nations" so that "they shall know that I am the LORD" is by defeating them (Ezekiel 38:23). They will be so dumbstruck by Israel's extraordinarily outstanding victory, that they will have no choice but to glorify God. "For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee, though I make a full end of all nations [governments, not the people] whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee " (Jeremiah 30:11).
Actually, Ezekiel's prophecy does not indicate how many Jews are killed during Gog's invasion. But great emphasis is given to the Lord's destruction of the forces of Gog. By contrast is Israel's prospect, "Now I shall restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel" (Ezekiel 39:25, NAS). A parallel prophecy speaks of half of Jerusalem being exiled (not destroyed) but the rest of the people would remain (Zechariah 14:2,3). What becomes of those who went into exile? The prophet Isaiah shows a further regathering of Jews to Israel after the invasion of Gog (Isaiah 66:19,20; 60:4-9). The "half" who are taken into exile during the invasion will return in this post-Gog invasion regathering.
This concept of the destruction of nine-tenths is based on the Revised Standard Version's (1952) gross mistranslation of Ezekiel 20:37 which among several errors implies the "rod" that Israelis pass under is a shepherd's counting rod. The New Revised Standard Version has corrected its former mistranslation and shows that the thought of counting or numbering is not contained in the Hebrew text. The Hebrew word "shebet" is translated "rod" in the King James rendering of this text, but it can be translated also "staff" or "scepter." The thought of counting is not contained in "shebet" even though "second holocaust" commentators unfortunately couple it with tithing (Leviticus 27:32,33).
The Hebrew word "shebet" (here rendered "rod") is often translated "scepter" when the thought of a reigning king is in the context. Actually the context of Ezekiel 20:37 presents God as reigning over the Jewish people during their regathering (vs. 34). That is why some Bibles have "scepter" in the margin as an alternative rendering of "shebet."
In any case, under the Law when every tenth animal was tithedgiven to God (Leviticus 27:32,33) the tenth animal was not to be inspected and determined better than the rest. Even if the animal was bad, blemished or defective, it was still the Lord's. This procedure does not fit as a picture of "Jews of faith" as a tenth part being delivered out of Gog's invasion as some claim.
Since every tenth animal in the flock or herd was given to the Lord, what happened to the other nine-tenths? Were they killed? No. They remained alive as the flock or herd of the shepherd. Therefore, the nine-tenths of living animals cannot portray the death of nine-tenths of Israel in Gog's invasion. In fact, nothing in the description of Gog indicates such a massive destruction of Jewish life. Rather the outcome of the invasion will be glorious for Israel, "the whole house of Israel" (Ezekiel 39:25, NAS).
The several Hebrew words translated "remnant" mean "remainder, descendants, survivors." The thought of a minority is not implicit in these Hebrew words. The meaning for "remnant" can refer to either a minority or a majority. When a tenth part of an ephah (1½ bushels) of flour is given to the priest for a sin-offering, he only used one handful of the flour as an offering upon the altar. The leftover flour (still more than a bushel) is referred to as a "remnant" (Leviticus 5:11-13; 2:3). Here the "remnant" (Hebrew "yathar") is significantly the larger portion.
Another example in the New Testament of a remnant being the larger portion is in the Apostle Peter's discourse (Acts 15:14-17). When the Apostle described the "residue of men" who will seek the Lord in His Kingdom, he quotes from the Old Testament which renders the phrase, "remnant [Hebrew word "she'eriyth"] of Edom" (Amos 9:11). In the Hebrew "Edom" means "reddish, Adam or man." Conversely, "Adam" or "man" means "reddish." Hence the phrase, "residue of men," in Peter's discourse refers to the overwhelming majority of the human race who will be on trial for eternal life in the Kingdom. Since both of these Hebrew words ("yathar" and "she'eriyth") are used in Scripture to refer to the "remnant of Israel," obviously, the thought of "a minority" is not inherent in the phrase, "remnant of Israel."
The Prophet Micah (2:12) gives insight as to the size of the "remnant of Israel" in three different instances:
I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men.
First, "Jacob" always refers to natural Israel. Therefore, "O Jacob, all of thee," whom the Lord assembles or gathers to the Land equals the "remnant of Israel" in the next phrase. This internal equation demonstrates "remnant" is not a small 1/10 minority. Second, this "remnant of Israel" is like a flock of sheep of Bozrah. Bozrah was not only noted for large sheep but for very large flocks of sheep. Third, this sheepfold is noisy because it is crowded with men. Therefore the remnant must be a large flock.
The Rotherham translation speaks of this "remnant" as "sheep in distress." This rendering locates the context at the time of Gog's invasion when Israel will be surrounded by enemies. The next verse shows how these sheep of Israel are delivered (Micah 2:13):
The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up [out], and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them.
The Hebrew for "breaker" is the "one who breaks out or through." Their king will deliver them from the forces of Gog. Only those who are "feeble" (Hebrew, "bend the knee"), that is, turn to the Lord in prayers of faith will be delivered (Zechariah 12:8). Those lacking this faith will be killed (Ezekiel 20:38) and not immediately share in the special blessings of the remnant or flock that are brought through the trouble safely. But even these lacking faith who die will come forth from their graves in the general resurrection of the "unjust" to a fair trial or "judgment" (John 5:28,29 NAS).
Only after their deliverance from Gog's invasion will the Messiah or Christ reveal himself to Israel by pouring God's spirit upon them (Zechariah 12:9-14). Those who accept Christ at this time are described as "all families [of Israel] that remain." Therefore, all the "remnant of Israel," who are a large flock, shall recognize their Savior who died for them and there will be "great mourning" throughout the Land. But the very next verse shows a wonderful opportunity will be opened, "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness" (Zechariah 13:1).
Not only is there a pre-Gog invasion gathering of Jews, but also a post-Gog invasion regathering. This further regathering after the destruction of Gog is prophesied in Isaiah 66 & 60 and also Ezekiel 36. The Isaiah 66 prophecy parallels the time after Gog's defeat when the Gentile nations see the Lord's glory through the great destruction He brings upon them (Isaiah 66:15,16,18 and Ezekiel 39:21). This prophecy in Isaiah additionally explains that some Gentiles escape " I will send those that escape of them unto the nations and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren out of all nations to my holy mountain Jerusalem" (Isaiah 66:19,20).
Similarly, the prophecy in Isaiah 60 reveals that the Gentiles shall see God's glory upon Israel and they come into harmony with God's Kingdom in Israel, "and the Gentiles shall come to thy light." After the trouble is over and the Kingdom is set up in Israel, there is a further regathering, "Thy sons shall come from far" on "ships" to Israel and "to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee" (Isaiah 60:2-9).
The parallel passages in Ezekiel 36 supply added details (vss. 23-38). Specifically, vs. 23 focuses on the time after Gog's defeat, "I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes" (Ezekiel 36:23 and Ezekiel 39:21-23, 27). After the heathen nations see the Lord in the miraculous deliverance of Israel from their invading forces, a further regathering is expected, "For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you and ye shall be clean " (Ezekiel 36:24,25). Significantly, it should be noted that these Jews gathered after the invasion of Gog are "cleansed with water" just as those gathered before the invasion are cleansed in the "fountain for sin" (Zechariah 13:1). Also, at this time the newly gathered flock will receive the Holy spirit as did the flock of Israel who was already in the Land and delivered during Gog's invasion (Zechariah 12:9,10).
The "remnant of Israel" which was a large flock before Gog's invasion (Micah 2:12) is now increased in size to include these cleansed Jews regathered after Gog's defeat. "I will increase them with men like a flock." This combined flock that is now increased in size is described as a "holy flock" (Ezekiel 36:37,38).
The "second holocaust" commentators believe all of the Jewish people will return to Israel before Gog's invasion. But the nine-tenths ratio of judgment on the Jews in the Land during Gog's invasion becomes meaningless if there are still Jews outside of Israel who will return (also Isaiah 66:18-20; 60:4-9 and Ezekiel 36:23-28). The nine-tenths destruction becomes even more pointless since during Gog's invasion, "half of the city shall go forth into captivity [exile]" (Zechariah 14:2). These recently exiled Jews will be also part of the grouping of Jews who return after Gog's invasion is over. They will have the opportunity to be cleansed, receive the Holy spirit and be part of the "holy flock" together with those who lived through Gog's invasion.
Both segments of this flockthose that lived through Gog's invasion and those who are gathered to Israel after Gog's defeataccept the Savior, are washed and receive the Holy spirit. Therefore, it is a "holy flock," a sanctified flock, that is set aside to God's service, God's destined purpose. For what service is the "holy flock" sanctified?
This large and cleansed holy flock, the descendants of Jacob, is the earthly seed of Abraham ("sand which is upon the sea shore") which will work with the spiritual seed, Christ and his Church ("stars of the heaven") to bless all the families of the earth (Genesis 22:16-18; Galatians 3:16, 27-29). All the Land promised from the Euphrates to the River of Egypt will then belong to these descendants, the remnant of Jacob (Genesis 13:15,16; 15:18) for Jerusalem will be the capital of God's Kingdom and the Land of Israel its operational base.
"All Israel shall be saved" then is not a gross exaggeration on the part of the Apostle Paul (Romans 11:26). How are they saved? Israel is "saved" by the Deliverer, the Christ, that comes out of Zion, the Kingdom of God. The Deliverer saves them by turning "away ungodliness from Jacob." By Christ's death they are saved from Adamic death and the condemnation of the Mosaic Law. Why are they saved? "They are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Romans 11:28,29).
Then the fathers of IsraelAbraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Samuel, Elijah and the restwill constitute the government of Israel and will be "princes" on earth, "children" of the King and of his Bride Psalm 45:10-16). God will restore (by raising from the dead) their "judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning" (Isaiah 1:25,26). What will begin as God's Kingdom on earth in Jerusalem and Israel will eventually extend to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 2:2,3):
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain [Kingdom] 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. 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 [the spiritual seed of blessing] shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem [the natural seed of blessing].
The whole worldthe Arab peoples toowill come up to worship the God of Jacob in Jerusalem. Peoples of all national tongues will come to pray to the LORD God of Israel because they will understand God is blessing Israel (Zechariah 8:3, 21-23):
Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain O house of Judah and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing; fear not, but let your hands be strong .It shall yet come to pass that there shall come people and the inhabitants of many cities, .saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts ten men shall take hold out of all the languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.
God's own peace process will succeed when man's has failed. The peace God will give Israel and the whole world will be all-comprehensive and permanent. All peoples, both Jews and Gentiles, even Israelis and Arabs who faithfully drink of the "water of life freely" and who overcome "shall inherit all things" (Revelation 22:17; 21:7).