As the whole world continues to watch with intense interest the developments within the arena of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, there is one dimension that is always entirely dismissed as irrelevant to the debate. And that absolute rock solid fact is that the Holy Bible is relevant to the entire drama.
The world just doesn't get it. The world thinks that the Israeli-Palestinian Land Conflict is just another one of the many earthly complex squabbles over human rights, and land distribution, differing religions and governing philosophies. The multitude of UN resolutions and peace processes regarding the ancient land feud between the Jews and the Arabs reflect the reality that the world is seeking to resolve this burdensome dilemma through humanistic mediation rather than consider the Bible. The last thing in the world that any diplomat, politician, or national leader cares about hearing is that the Bible might be relevant to the whole controversy. Former president Clinton and numerous other foreign policy architects have specifically stated publicly that when it comes to the political controversy in the Middle East, that although the region was steeped in religious history and tradition, that the Christian Bible was simply irrelevant to the issue of the land dispute. Many have argued that the application of the Bible to the controversy would justly require that the Islamic Koran be applied to the debate as well. Therefore the Arab and Muslim world points to the Koran as a revered document of Divine relevancy for a claim on the disputed land. In stark contrast, the Western world and the US, from a diplomatic standpoint consider the Bible as being totally irrelevant for all practical purposes in resolving the land dispute and determining a rightful owner. Thus the reason for the prominence and promotion of the many UN resolutions on the subject.
To whom does the land of Palestine really belong? That question is undeniably the most explosive issue of our times. And the world simply will not consider the Bible as being a legitimate document for clarifying the ownership of the disputed land. Since God is the architect and designer of the entire universe and overrules in the affairs of nations and men, then you can rest assured that the present Israeli-Palestinian and Middle East Conflict has not caught him by surprise. The current dilemma is not confined to the local parties involved either. And therein lies the historical and prophetic modus operandi involving the nations of the world over the Promised Land in the Final Days supernatural confrontation, prophesied only in the Bible! (no other book conveys this information)
Palestinians often make their claim for ownership of the disputed territory by pointing to a long residency in the land. And indeed, many Arabic peoples, now known as Palestinians have maintained a measure of occupancy in the land for hundreds of years. The Muslim Caliph Omar conquered the land known as Palestine in 638, and many Arabs have lived in the West Bank ever since. Also many Arab Muslims claim ownership of the disputed territory through a religious claim derived from the Koran. They point to their lineage of descent from Abraham through Ishmael. Though the Bible does not confirm this descent directly, almost all parties have acceded to its credibility. Mohammed further stipulated that the Jews lost their promised heritage of the Promised Land by breaking their covenant with God. In modern times, Palestinians and Arab nations assert that Israel has stolen the land that is in their possession with the help of Western colonialists.
Jews make their claim upon the disputed territory based upon their historical connections to the land also. Israeli's point to the conquest of Canaan by Joshua around 1400 years before the birth of Christ. Jews occupied the land as a sovereign state for about 400 years until being conquered by Babylon. Yet, Jews remained in the area all the way up to the time of the Roman occupation and the lifetime of Jesus. Israeli's can also point to the historical and archaelogical evidence pertaining to their ancient Temples and cities. Further criteria for Jewish claims can be attributed to the Balfour Declaration of 1917. The victorious armies of the Allied forces in World War I through the British Mandate authenticated a reestablished Jewish homeland in Palestine. The Arab nations have never accepted that declaration however.
But from a Biblical standpoint, the land of Canaan was promised to Abraham and his seed in the recorded scriptures located in Genesis 12:7 and Genesis 13:15. This covenant between God and Abraham became the bedrock of Israel's claim to the land. For this very reason it is called the 'Promised Land”.
Genesis 12:7 And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LordD, who appeared unto him.
Genesis 13:15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.
This covenant was later confirmed to Isaac, as illustrated in the Biblical record of Genesis 17:19-21. Later that same covenant was bestowed upon Jacob. That record appears in Genesis 26:3, Genesis 28:13, and in Deuteronomy 1:8.
Genesis 28:13 And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;
Deuteronomy 1:8 Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.
Though the Abrahamic Covenant is itself often disputed by theologians today, it still remains valid because God is an unchanging, uncompromising, and unfailing partner. God's credibility lies at the center of the whole land controversy. Though the privilege of occupation of the land was always based upon Israel's obedience, the ultimate realization of God's promise remains the central issue, and the reason that the Bible is relevant even today in the Israeli-Palestinian controversy over the occupied territory. As illuminated by God's land contract with Israel and recorded in Deuteronomy chapters 28-30, God has sworn a Divine oath to never forget his covenant. Jeremiah confirmed that promise in his writings, with the only prerequisite being that Israel must turn from its whore-mongering with the world. In evaluating the two land claims to Abraham's covenant there is little doubt as to whom the God of the Bible intended to become the heir. On the other hand the Koran conveys that Allah intended for the land covenant to be settled with Ishmael. Thus we have two dissenting holy books with dissenting gods. One must be wrong! The Bible emphasizes that God chose Isaac and Jacob. Though Ishmael was accorded special blessings also, the covenant for the Promised Land was assigned specifically through Isaac and Jacob. (Genesis 17:19-21) The Arab claim to the covenant is not unlike the church's attempts to make itself the heir of the Abrahamic blessings. For Muslims, the blessings and curses regarding the Holy Land meant that because of Israel's disobedience, the Jews were discarded from the land, with the mission of Islam being to occupy the land for the sacred honor of Allah. But the Bible stipulates that God's covenant with Israel is eternal.
Jeremiah 25:5 They said, Turn ye again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord hath given unto you and to your fathers for ever and ever:
While many theologians today debate the legal aspect of the Covenant of the Lord, the truth of the matter is that the land covenant is not dissimilar from a simple agreement between a father and son today. For a comparison, imagine the following typology picture wherein a father buys a car or horse for his son, and gives that car/horse to his son, and says: “Son, you can use and have possession of this car/horse so long as you use it in the means required of you. It is yours! Drive or ride safely and you can enjoy it forever”. But if I catch you misusing the car/horse I will take it away, and you will be without it until I think you have learned to use it right. And that is exactly the same analogy that exists with regard to the Promised Land. God gave the land to the descendants of Jacob, and instructed them that the land was theirs to occupy and enjoy as long as they remained steadfast in obedience to the Lord and followed his commandments. Deuteronomy chapter 28 lists a long list of blessings that would befall the children of Israel if they would simply hearken unto the Lord's voice. The latter part of that chapter also conveys a long list of curses that would befall Israel if they should turn aside and follow after the temptations of other gods. And surely the Lord indeed knows how to chastise his children and reconcile back unto his ways.
The current wisdom of mediation efforts over the Promised Land have utilized every method known to man except adapting the Holy Bible to the controversy. Though the historical claims of the Jews irrefutable, so too do the Palestinians have a claim on recent continued residency in the land. A workable and acceptable solution to the land impasse has long baffled modern man, and all the experts in world diplomacy have thus far failed to arrange an in-the-field accord. The Land-for-Peace method has sufficed to some extent in some areas, such as with Egypt and Jordan, but it has proved very complex when applied to the Palestinian track. The option of Palestinian autonomy under Israeli land sovereignty has also proved to be impractical. The unilateral and multi-lateral tracks of negotiation within the framework of the Middle East Peace Process (incorporating a perimeter of peaceful nations around Israel geographically) stalled on Israel's northern border. Finally the world seems to be resolved to place its last bargaining chip on the table in the form of a new Palestinian State with democratic styled governmental principles. The Statehood formula seeks to establish a sanctity in the West Bank that would eliminate the threat of terror, and stem the tide of rising Islamic fundamentalism in the rest of the Arab States.
Today, the Middle East commands the whole world's attention. And in the ever building drama around the controversy over the “disputed territory” a massive supernatural confrontation looms on the horizon. It is a battle between holy books and between the God of the Holy Bible and the multiplied mini gods of world religions. The central issue in the Middle East is whether the Bible or the Koran has Divine authority.
Israel's most basic need today is not a secured peace arrangement with the Arabs, rather it is a reconciliation with the God who gave them the land in the first place. As with the aforementioned car/horse analogy, when Israel returns unto the Lord, and heeds his will, then he will return full possession of the land unto them, and make a peace with all the nations of the world. Until this prophesied eventuality, the whole world groans until the peace of Jerusalem becomes a reality. The return of Israel on the world stage in modern times to a portion of the Promised Land is setting the climatic tone for Jesus own prophecy related to the budding of the fig tree.
Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
Matthew 24:32-33 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
To whom does the land really belong? The great “I AM” of the Holy Bible maintains that it is his land, and that he gave it to Jacob as an everlasting deed. The Holy Bible conveys that he will give the land to Israel in the Last Days, and that finally they will enjoy the full possession of the Promised Land after they learn to use it for his Divine purposes. The “cup of trembling” which the Promised Land is to the nations of our world today is land that belongs to God. He has stipulated that Israel has no right to sell, bargain, trade, or negotiate away any parcel of that land. Is the Bible relevant to the land dispute? Every nation on the earth needs to reconsider that issue, because God has stated on record that he will destroy all nations that come against his people after he has restored them to the land that he gave them. How I pray that my native land of America and other world leaders could understand that it is a fearful thing to disregard God's word concerning the hotly contested “disputed land” land of Israel!
Leviticus 25:23 The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.
Joel 2:18 Then will the Lord be jealous for “his land”, and pity his people.(Israel-Jacob)
Joel 3:2 I (God) will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered (Diaspora) among the nations, and parted my land.
The Bible is the most relevant thing in the world regarding the explosive controversy in the Middle East over the disputed/occupied territory!