Volume 97, Issue 1 ________________________________Bible Prophecy Ministry

The Bible and Palestine

Focus on Jerusalem Prophecy Ministry

By: Darrell G. Young

June, 2006


 Joel 3:1-4 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I 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 among the nations, and parted my land. And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink. Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me a recompense? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompense upon your own head;


In Earliest History, It Was Cannan’s Land


   The name of Palestine and or Palestina is mentioned on only four occasions in the Bible. With the subject of Palestine in the news so much these days, it is therefore practical that we should research into history and see where the name Palestine came from?

   The commonly used name of Palestine today refers to that region of the eastern Mediterranean coast from the sea to the Jordan valley and from the southern Negev desert to the Galilee Lake region in the north. The word itself is derived from "Plesheth", a name that appears frequently in the Bible and has come into the English language as the name of "Philistine". Plesheth, (root palash) was a general term meaning rolling or migratory. The ancient Philistines were not Arabs, nor even Semites, but were most closely related to the ancient Greeks originating from Asia Minor. The word Palestine (or Palestina) originally identified the region as "the land of the Philistines," a war-like tribe that inhabited much of the region alongside the Hebrew people. But the older name from antiquity for this region was not Palestine, but Canaan, and it is the term most used in the Old Testament regarding this particular parcel of land.

   The Amarna Letters (an advanced art of ancient Canaanite writing) of the 14th century BC referred to "the land of Canaan," applying the term to the coastal region inhabited by the Phoenicians. The Canaanites had many tiny city-states, each one at times independent and at times a vassal of an Egyptian or Hittite king. The Canaanites never united into a state.

    The history of Palestine is complicated by the many different cultures and civilizations that have flourished in the region. The first historical reference to the inhabitants of Canaan occurs in Genesis 10, where the table of nations is recorded. Canaan, the son of Ham and the grandson of Noah is said to have fathered most of the inhabitants of the land. These include Sidon (the Phoenicians), Heth (the Hittites), and the Jebusites (who lived near Jerusalem), the Amorites (in the hill country), the Girgashites, the Hivites (peasants from the northern hills), the Arkites (from Arka in Phoenicia), the Sinites (from the northern coast of Lebanon), the Arvadites, the Zemarites (from Sumra), and the Hamathites. (from Hamath) (Genesis 10:15-18) The history of Palestine gains its significance for the Christian with the beginning of the Biblical period. But the region was inhabited by other cultures long before Abraham and his family arrived.

   As the human eventually became scattered over the earth, a number of cultures emerged. Small city-states began to be organized in Mesopotamia, the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Almost at the same time Egypt and the fertile region of the Nile River Valley emerged as a unified nation west of Mesopotamia. In the 29th century BC the kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt were united, and the world power of the ancient Pharoah’s was born. The area of Canaan witnessed the same urban development and population increases during this period. The cities of Jericho, Megiddo, Beth Shan, Ai, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Shechem, Gezer, Lachish, and many others were all in existence during this time.



Canaan’s Land Became the Promised Land


   After the Exodus from Egypt, probably in the Thirteenth Century BC but perhaps earlier, the Children of Israel settled in the land of Canaan. There they formed first a tribal confederation, and then the Biblical kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and the post-Biblical Kingdom of Judea. Palestine was not the name used for this region in Biblical times, and that is the reason that the Old Testament refers to the land as Eretz Yisrael, or the Land of Israel. A precise boundary description of it is given in Numbers, Chapter 34:

   And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land of Canaan; (this is the land that shall fall unto you for an inheritance, even the land of Canaan with the coasts thereof:)

  Thus, prior to its conquest by the Israelite Hebrews under Joshua, the area referred to today as Palestine was known as the "Land of Canaan," but afterwards it received the name Eretz Yisrael or "land of Israel" (I Samuel 13:19). As recorded in Ezekiel (26:20), Palestine was also referred to as Eretz Chayim in Hebrew, or the land of the living. The land of the living was a symbol-spiritualized term for those living away from the influence of Babylon. Ironically, the land east of the Jordan River was named separately as Ever ha'Yardan, or, "the other side of Jordan."

   From the beginning of history to this day, Israel-Judah-Judea has had the only united, independent, sovereign nation-state that ever existed in "Palestine" west of the Jordan River. (In Biblical times, Ammon, Moab and Edom as well as Israel had land east of the Jordan, but they disappeared in antiquity and no other nation took their place until the British invented Trans-Jordan in the 1920s.) After the Israelites took the land from the Canaanites, the entire country became known as the "Land of Israel," (I Samuel 13:19; Matthew 2:20) and the "land of the promise" (Hebrews 11:9).

   Around 2000BC the patriarch Abraham arrived in Canaan from Ur of the Chaldees in lower Mesopotamia, and found the land controlled by Amorites and Canaanites. Abraham lived for a while in Egypt, where he was exposed to this great culture of the ancient world. For 430 years the descendants of Abraham were in Egyptian bondage, but God raised them up a champion in the person of Moses to lead them back to the Land of Promise. After Moses, God strengthened the new leader of Israel, Joshua, and he led the Israelites in successful campaigns to win control of Canaan, just as God had promised.

   With the rise of the United Jewish Monarchy under David and Solomon, the Hebrew people extended their influence over more of Canaan Land (later known as Palestine) than ever before. But around 920BC Israel was divided into two segments, the northern kingdom of Israel, and the southern kingdom of Judah. These were turbulent times in the history of the Jewish people, and eventually resulted in the uprooting of Israel from the land.

   In 606-605BC Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, annihilated the Egyptian army, and effectively came into control of all of the land of Israel (Canaan Land) to the Egyptian border. In 597BC, Jerusalem, as foretold by the prophets, (Ezekiel) fell to the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar. Later, when Cyrus, the King of Persia, conquered Babylon, he allowed the Jews to begin to return to Jerusalem and to rebuild the waste city. As a Persian province, the region was governed by regional rulers under Persian authority. Later the Greeks under Alexander the Great established rule over the former land of Israel, eventually giving sway to localized Jewish revolts that ended with Rome gaining control over the region just prior to the time of Christ’s birth.



 Rome Moves to Eradicate Israel’s Land Heritage


   In 63 BC Pompey conquered Eretz Israel (Palestine) for Rome. From 37BC until 4BC Herod the Great ruled the land as the Roman appointed king under the Caesars. During the reign of King Herod, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. In AD70 Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman general Titus as he crushed a revolt by the Jewish people, and Rome was moved to rename the Promised Land “Palestina.” The name "Palestine" was officially introduced in the period after 138AD, three years after Rome’s suppression of the Bar Kochba revolt. It was originally used as an adjective, Palaistinei derived from the Hebrew word, Pelashet, or "land of the Pelashtim" (the Philistines). It was first mentioned by the Greek historian, Herodotus as the "Philistine Syria", referring originally only to the southwestern coast south of Phoenecia held by the Philistines, but was gradually extended to cover the entire region. In time, the name was shortened and the adjective Palaistinei became a proper noun. Philo of Alexandria, a contemporary of Jesus, identified Palaistinei with the biblical Canaan.

   The word “Palestine” or Pelesheth thus became known as the land of southern Syria. This is a name Rome gave the region to conjoin it with the administrative district of its Empire located in Damascus. The boundaries of Palestine were not clearly defined in ancient times, a problem which plagues the entire Middle East even today. It fell to the British and French Mandates after WWI to establish the modern boundaries that separate the nations of the region today.

   Generally, the ancient Israelites had occupied the land bordered on the south by the Wadi el' Arish and Kadesh Barnea, and on the north by the foothills of Mount Hermon. The Mediterranean Sea formed the natural western boundary and the Jordan River a natural eastern boundary, albeit several Israelite tribes did occupy the region on the eastern side of the river, which today is known as Transjordan, or the land east of the Jordan River.

   After the fall of Rome, Palestine fell into the possession of several Middle Eastern and Arab powers. They included the Byzantines (330-634), the Persians (607-29), the Arabs (634-1099), the Crusaders (1099-1263), the Mamelukes (1263-1516) and the Ottoman Turks (1517-1917). The most important historical events during this period were Saladin's consolidation of his control of Egypt, Syria, Mesopotamia, and most of Palestine in AD1187 by his victory over the Roman Papal Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and the establishment of the Turkish Ottoman Empire in AD 1517.    


Since the destruction of the Second Jewish Commonwealth (1) by the Romans, the land referred to as "Palestine"(2) had been ruled by a series of foreign occupiers. Each successive ruler subdivided his conquest as he saw fit, though none, since the Romans, considered "Palestine" as having a separate administrative or geographic entity. The Ottoman Turks, who ruled this area from the year 1516 to 1917, regarded it as part of Southern Syria. The land later referred to as "Palestine" was divided into three separate districts.


·         The Kingdom of Jerusalem was a French kingdom established in the French Levant in 1099 by the First Crusade. (Holy Roman Empire) Currently, the title of “King of Jerusalem” is claimed by King Juan Carlos I of Spain as the successor to the royal family of Aragon, as heir of Ferdinand II of Aragon.

  • In 1917 the Balfour Declaration liberated Palestine from Turkish rule and placed the land under the control of Great Britain. On May 14, 1948, the modern State of Israel was established, and the British withdrew. Almost immediately the Jews and Arabs began their struggle for control of the land of Palestine!
  • The Arab states do not recognize the Balfour Declaration, which was born out of the Christian Zionist movement of the late 1800’s, and appropriated with the political Zionism movement of the Jews. Great Britain eventually conceded to the complex dilemma, and turned the conflict over to the United Nations in 1947.


Rome Created The Mythology of Palestine


   As the world treks down the so-called "Road Map to Peace," there are some issues Christians need to deal with. One of the most prominent of those issues is the question regarding the peoples referred to today as the Palestinians. Christians that support the State of Israel (because of Biblical prophecy) as the national, ancestral, covenantal homeland of the Jewish people are often charged with being calloused and totally insensitive to the needs and aspirations of the Palestinians. Fair minded Christians need to know if that is a fair charge, and know how to evaluate history to understand the complex subject in this perplexing ‘land controversy.”

   First, let us clarify who the "Palestinians" really are. The notion of a modern distinct "Palestinian people" with a language, culture and nationality of its own, is a creation of Yasser Arafat and his notorious PLO, in unison with the Arab League, and nurtured by the surrounding Arab nations and world media, after the ignominious Arab defeat in the 1967 war with Israel. The modern so-called "Palestinian people" are, in reality, a mixture of Arabs whose mother tongue is Arabic, whose religion is Islam, and whose culture is shared by most of the 22 surrounding Arab countries. There simply is not nor has there ever been a distinct Palestinian national entity. The term “Palestinian” has historically applied to anybody living in area, even Jews.

   Second, as I have alluded to before, the name "Palestine" is the Romanized version of "Philistine," which was assigned, by the Romans to the region in the first century AD. It was a derogatory and humiliating term imposed by the Romans on the Jews, who constituted the vast majority of the people who lived there. Rome forced on the Jews and their land, not the name of Israel that God had ordained, but the name of an arch enemy of the Jews, the Philistines. Rome even went so far as to rename Jerusalem, Aelia Capitolina. Thus, the name Palestine came into prominence and remained attached to the region until the end of the British Mandate period in 1947. However, Jews have always considered the land their homeland and Jerusalem its capital. In addition, the land was never without as many Jews as the governing power would allow.

    But what should be a Christian's attitude toward the Palestinians? Some Christians note what God says about the "ger," that is, the "alien" and the "stranger," and say that should apply to the Palestinians today. One of the most comprehensive passages regarding the "ger," i.e. the "alien," is found in Ezekiel 47:21-23. "'You are to distribute this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel. You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the aliens who have settled among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. In whatever tribe the alien settles, there you are to give him his inheritance,' declares the Sovereign LORD." The question is, are these, and similar passages, relevant to Israel's treatment of the "Palestinians" today? The answer is clearly, No!

    This passage assumes God's everlasting covenant promise to the Jewish people of the land of Israel as an everlasting possession (cf. Genesis 17:7-8). The passage referred to above is speaking of those non-Jews who desire to have a protected citizenship under Israel's sovereignty. They are not seeking a sovereignty of their own that replaces Israel. They are willing subjects to the laws and governance of Israel. As a matter of fact, the scriptures require that they also worship and follow the decrees of the God of Israel. (Jehovah) Modern Israel has made a provision for such people. There are Arab Israelis who have the full rights and privileges, including voting, of Israeli citizenship. There are duly elected Arab Israelis in the Israeli Parliament that represent their Arab constituencies. In a word, the Palestinians do not qualify for the protections to be given to those under Israel's God-ordained governance. The so-called "Palestinians" under the leadership of Yasser Arafat, are loath to have Israel as their sovereign authority. The Palestinian Hamas, as well as the Arab goal of peace envisions the total elimination of Israel as a nation and a people. The Palestinian flag portrays the current boundaries of Israel as being the boundaries of a future Palestine State without any mention of Israel. As Christians consider the "Road Map to Peace," we do well to keep in mind that God's sovereign decrees and covenants will not be thwarted. If a Palestinian state emerges within the boundaries given by God to Israel, it will be short-lived and interim. But even more sobering is the fact that those Christians who promote a Palestinian State have placed themselves in alliance against God’s providential designs for Israel. (Psalm 83:5).



Why Did Rome Use The Name Palestine to Rename Eretz Israel?

    Again, the name Palestine itself is derived from "Plesheth", a name that appears frequently in the Bible and has come into our modern English as "Philistine". The Philistines were not Arabs, nor even Semites, but were most closely related to the Greeks originating from Asia Minor and other Greek localities. The Philistines reached the southern coast of Israel in several waves. One group arrived in the pre-patriarchal period and settled south of Beersheba in Gerar where they came into conflict with Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael. Another group, coming from Crete after being repulsed from an attempted invasion of Egypt by Rameses III in 1194 BC, seized the southern coastal area, where they founded five settlements (Gaza, Ascalon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gat). In the Persian and Greek periods, foreign settlers, chiefly from the Mediterranean islands, overran the Philistine districts.

   After the Roman conquest of Judea, "Palastina" became a province of the pagan Roman Empire and then of the Christian Byzantine Empire, and very briefly of the Zoroastrian Persian Empire.

    From the fifth century BC, following the historian Herodotus, Greeks called the eastern coast of the Mediterranean "Philistine Syria" using the Greek language form of the name. In AD135, after putting down the Bar Kochba revolt, the second major Jewish revolt against Rome, Emperor Hadrian wanted to blot out the name of the Roman "Provincia Judaea" and so he renamed it "Provincia Syria Palaestina", the Latin version of the Greek name and the first use of the name as an administrative unit. The name "Provincia Syria Palaestina" was later shortened to Palaestina, from which the modern, anglicized "Palestine" is derived.

     In 638AD, an Arab-Muslim Caliph took Palastina away from the Byzantine Empire and made it part of an Arab-Muslim Empire. The Arabs, who had no name of their own for this region, adopted the Greco-Roman name Palastina, that they pronounced "Falastin". In that period, much of the mixed population of Palastina converted to Islam and adopted the Arabic language. They were subjects of a distant Caliph who ruled them from his capital, that was first in Damascus and later in Baghdad. They did not become a nation or an independent state, or develop a distinct society or culture.

    Rome’s dispersion of the Jews from Eretz Israel was an instrument of the Satanic cosmic conspiracy to dissect Israel from the providence and omniscience of God to fulfill his covenant with Jacob.

    Thus Rome’s renaming of Eretz Israel was the Roman Emperor’s method of eradicating the memory of Israel from anything to do with the Biblically Promised Land, and to show the world that Rome had forever annulled the covenant of Abraham. This same concept is still alive today in religious Rome, and throughout the religious world in the guise of Replacement Theology.

   The eradication of Israel in geography and the insertion of Palestine to the label for the land remained the situation until the end of the fourth century, when in the wake of a general imperial reorganization Palestine became three Palestines: First, Second, and Third. This configuration is believed to have persisted into the seventh century, to the time of the Persian and the Muslim conquests of the land.

    Later, the Roman Papal Crusaders employed the word Palestine to refer to the whole general region of the "three Palestines." After the fall of the crusader kingdom, Palestine was no longer an official designation, but was continued to be used informally for the lands on both sides of the Jordan River.

   The Ottoman Turks, who were non-Arabs but religious Muslims, ruled the area for 400 years (1517-1917). Under Ottoman rule, the Palestine region was attached administratively to the province of Damascus and ruled from Istanbul. The name Palestine was revived after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in World War I and applied to the territory in this region that was placed under the British Mandate for Palestine. The name "Falastin" that Arabs today use for "Palestine" is not an Arabic name. It is the Arab pronunciation of the Roman "Palaestina."

·         Thus, this is the fundamental reason that talking and writing about Israel and the Middle East Conflict today features the nouns "Palestine" and Palestinian", and the phrases "Palestinian territory" and even "Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory". All too often, these terms are used with regard to their historical or geographical meaning, so that the usage creates illusions rather than clarifying Biblical truth about the Promised Land.


The Jews Come Home & Palestine Becomes a Problem


    At the end of World War I, the Ottoman Empire collapsed and among its subject provinces, the region known as "Palestine" was assigned to the British, to govern temporarily as a mandate from the League of Nations. The restoration of the "desolate" land began in the latter half of the Nineteenth Century with the first Jewish pioneers. Their labors created newer and better conditions and opportunities, which in turn attracted migrant workers from many parts of the Middle East, including Arabs.

   The Balfour Declaration of 1917, confirmed by the League of Nations Mandate, committed the British Government to the principle that "His Majesty's government viewed with favor the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish National Home, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object." It was specified both that this area be open to "close Jewish settlement" and that the rights of all inhabitants already in the country be preserved and protected. Mandate Palestine originally included all of what is now Jordan, as well as all of what is now Israel, and the territories between them. However, when Great Britain's protégé Emir Abdullah was forced to leave the ancestral Hashemite domain in Arabia, the British created a realm for him that included all of the Mandate Palestine east of the Jordan River. There was no traditional or historic Arab name for this land, so it was called after the river: first Trans-Jordan and later Jordan. It has since become known as the first Palestinian State.

    By this political act, that violated the conditions of the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate, the British cut more than 75 percent out of the Jewish National Home. No Jew has ever been permitted to reside in Trans-Jordan/Jordan. Less than 25 percent then remained of Mandate Palestine, and even in this remnant, the British violated the Balfour and Mandate requirements for a "Jewish National Home." Britain progressively restricted where Jews could buy land, where they could live, build, farm or work, until WWII.




During the period of the British Mandate, it was the Jewish population that was known as "Palestinians". British policy was to curtail their numbers and progressively limit Jewish immigration. By 1939, the White Paper virtually put an end to admission of Jews to Palestine. This policy was imposed the most stringently at the very time this Home was most desperately needed, after the rise of Nazi power in Europe. At the same time that the British slammed the gates on Jews, they permitted or ignored massive illegal immigration into Western Palestine from Arab countries Jordan, Syria, Egypt, North Africa.

   By 1948, the Arabs had still not yet discovered the mythical ancient nation of Falastin. When they were offered half of Palestine west of the Jordan River for a state, the offer was violently rejected. Six Arab states launched a war of annihilation against the nascent State of Israel. Their purpose was not to establish an independent Falastin. Their aim was to partition western Palestine amongst themselves. They did not succeed in killing Israel, but Trans-Jordan succeeded in taking Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and East Jerusalem, killing or driving out all the Jews who had lived in those places, and banning Jews of all nations from Jewish holy places. Egypt succeeded in taking the Gaza Strip. These two Arab states held these lands until 1967. Then they launched another war of annihilation against Israel, and in consequence lost the lands they had taken by war in 1948. During those 19 years, 1948-1967, Jordan and Egypt never offered to surrender those lands to make up an independent state of Falastin. The "Palestinians" never sought it. Nobody in the world ever suggested it, much less demanded it.

   It was only after the Six-Day War in 1967 that Israel was finally able to settle some small part of those “mandated” lands from which the Jews had been debarred by the British. Successive British governments and now world governments regularly condemn Israeli settlements as "illegal". In truth, denying Israel a right to settle the so-called “occupied territory” is tantamount to giving away the Allied victory in WWI, and denying the Christian Zionist movement that led Great Britain and America to oversee the birth of the Jewish Homeland in the first place!

    But it was actually three years earlier, in 1964, that the Palestine Liberation Movement was founded. PLO co-founder Ahmed Shukairy, who less than 10 years earlier had denied the existence of Palestine, was its first chairman. Its charter proclaimed its sole purpose to be the destruction of Israel. To that end it helped to precipitate the Arab attack on Israel in 1967. Yasser Arafat emerged as the terrorist leader of this movement to destroy Israel, and yet the West invited him to participate in a new scheme to partition the Promised Land in 1991.

    As Arafat and his terror thugs learned how to manipulate the media and use it for propaganda purposes, they discovered it sounded better for Western consumption to speak about the liberation of Falastin than of the destruction of Israel, which they had screamed so much about prior to 1967. Much of the world, governments, media and public opinion, accept virtually without question of serious analysis the new-sprung myth of an Arab nation of Falastin, whose territory is unlawfully occupied by the Jews. Even though since the end of World War I, the Arabs of the Middle East and North Africa have been given 22 independent states in 99.5 percent of the land they claimed, the Islamic-Arab world remains intent on destroying Israel. Lord Balfour once expressed his hope that when the Arabs had been given so much, (that would later be discovered to hold vast reserves of oil) they would "not begrudge" the Jews the "little notch" promised to them. But alas, the voice of demonic hatred of Israel that resides in the Arab psyche resonated recently in the words of the President of Iran, who vociferously announced what the whole Muslim world aspires to, “the end of Zionism and the annihilation of Israel from existence.” 



The Propaganda of Palestine


   One of the most misunderstood issues today is the question of "Who are the Palestinians"? There is a propaganda war going on now with regard to the term "Palestine."  At one time it might have been argued that Palestine was an innocuous designation of the Middle Eastern area that is generally thought of as the Holy Land.  During the last few decades, however, the term Palestine has been adopted by Arabs living in Israel in the area west of the Jordan River. It is specifically employed to avoid the use of the name Israel, (just as Rome designed) and must be considered an anti-Israel term.  In all Arab maps published in Jordan, Egypt, etc., the area west of the Jordan River is called Palestine, without any reference to Israel.  Palestine is the term now used by those who want to deny the legitimate existence of Israel as a genuine nation among the family of nations. The term has even been adopted by the former terrorist-turned political entity (PLO) within Israel that is gradually obtaining more and more pockets of territory through the "peace process," and formally known as the PA (Palestinian Authority).  Palestine has successfully become a political propaganda term with massive anti-Israel implications. The world press uses the term consistently as a means to question the legitimacy of the modern state of Israel. Christians also have used the term Palestine for centuries, and have become seduced into using the term in a manner which gives credence to those who wish to destroy God’s Chosen People. In earlier times this might have been excused because of its common usage, but since the rebirth of Israel in 1948 and in light of the perpetual hatred of Esau in seeking Israel’s destruction, with the empowering aid of Western political power brokers, every Christian should recognize that God is moving to bring history to its climax around Jerusalem!

  Therefore, in light of the current propaganda war against Israel, Christians must now re-evaluate the term Palestine and consider whether it is biblically, theologically and prophetically accurate to participate in the political partitioning of God’s Land.



The Biblical Usage Of Palestine

   The term Palestine, although rarely used in the Old Testament, refers specifically to the southwestern coastal area of Israel occupied by the Philistines.  As stated above, it is a translation of the Hebrew word "Pelesheth."  The term is never used to refer to the whole land occupied by Israel.  Before Israel occupied the land, it would be generally accurate to say that the southwestern coastal area (Gaza Strip vicinity) was called Philistia (the way of the Philistines, or Palestine), while the central highlands were called Canaan.  Both the Canaanites and the Philistines had disappeared as distinct peoples at least by the time of the Babylonian Captivity of Judea (586BC), and they no longer exist. In the New Testament, the term Palestine is never used.  The term Israel is primarily used to refer to the people of Israel, rather than the Land.  However, in at least two passages, Israel is used to refer to the Land:

Saying, Arise, and take this young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel:  for they are dead who sought the young child's live. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel" (Mathew. 2:20-21).

"But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another:  for verily I say to you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man shall have come" (Matthew 10:23)

The first passage is when Joseph, Mary and Jesus returned from Egypt to Israel, and the second has reference to the proclamation of the Gospel throughout the Land of Israel.  Jesus, Matthew and the angel speaking to Joseph use the term Israel with reference to the Land, even though the term was not then recognized by the Roman authorities.

   It is clear, then, that the Bible never uses the term Palestine to refer to the Holy Land as a whole, and Bible maps that refer to Palestine in the Old or New Testament are, at best, inaccurate, and, at worst, are a conscious denial of the Biblical name of Israel.



The Deception About Palestine

  How did the world and the church get into the habit of calling the Land of Israel "Palestine?" When Titus destroyed Jerusalem in 70AD, the Roman government struck a coin with the phrase "Judea Capta," meaning Judea has been captured. The term Palestine was never used in the early Roman designations. It was not until the Romans crushed the second Jewish revolt against Rome in 135AD under Bar Kochba that Emperor Hadrian applied the term “Palestine to the Land of Israel.” Hadrian, like many dictators since his time realized the propaganda power of terms and symbols. He replaced the shrines of the Jewish Temple and the Sepulchre of Christ in Jerusalem with temples to pagan deities. He changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitalina; and changed the name of Israel and Judea to Palestine.  Hadrian's selection of Palestine was purposeful, not accidental. He took the name of the ancient enemies of Israel, the Philistines, Latinized it to Palestine, and applied it to the Land of Israel. He hoped in doing this to erase the name Israel from all memory. Thus, the term Palestine as applied to the Land of Israel was invented by the inveterate enemy of the Bible and the Jewish people, ROME.

  Thus, the anti-Israel, anti-Christian name of Palestine was assimilated into the Universal Church's vocabulary as the Byzantine Empire was being established. The Church has, since that time, broadly used the term Palestine in literature and in maps to refer to the Land of Israel. It should be noted, however, that the Crusaders called their land the Kingdom of Jerusalem. When the British received the mandate after World War I, though, they called the land on both sides of the Jordan River, Palestine. This became the accepted geo-political term for several decades, and those who lived in the land were called Palestinians, whether they were Jews, Arabs or Europeans.



   Even evangelical Christians who believe in the future of Israel casually use the term Palestine.  It appears that Bible-believing Christians have either knowingly or unwittingly followed the world pagans and haters of Israel in calling Israel by the anti-Israel term Palestine.

   The use of the term Palestine for propaganda and political purposes is devastating in the ongoing events of our time. The term, “Occupied Palestine” has incorrectly been assumed to lie at the heart of the Israeli-Arab Conflict. In truth, the term Palestine lies at the cornerstone of the propaganda war against Israel and the Jewish people. Should Christians utilize terms used by the enemies of Israel who desire to accomplish nothing less than the completed destruction of the Jewish people?  I would think not. Christians should use the terminology of the Bible wherever possible. Why should we use any other term when referring to the Land, especially now that the Jews are back in the Land and have re-established the nation of Israel among the family of nations?

    As we draw closer to the Second Coming of Christ, we should understand that Satan's fury against the Church and Israel will grow exponentially. Satan hates the Gospel of the crucified and risen Messiah, and he hates the reality of the Restoration of Israel as the nation that will ultimately receive Jesus as the Messiah at His return, and the nation that will be Christ's earthly headquarters. The only term we should use for the Land is Israel, or its subdivisons of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, and not be sucked in to the propaganda word war developed to eradicate the name of Israel from its Land.

   The Jewish people base their claim to the Land of Israel (Palestine) on at least four premises: 1) God promised the land to the patriarch Abraham; 2) the Jewish people settled and developed the land; 3) the international community granted political sovereignty in Palestine to the Jewish people and 4) the territory was captured in defensive wars.

    By the early 19th century-years before the birth of the modern Zionist movement-more than 10,000 Jews lived throughout what is today Israel. When Jews began to immigrate to Palestine in large numbers in 1882, fewer than 250,000 Arabs lived there, and the majority of them had arrived in recent decades. No independent Arab or Palestinian state has ever existed in Palestine. Palestinian Arab nationalism is largely a post-World War I phenomenon that did not become a significant political movement until after the 1967 Six- Day War and Israel's capture of the West Bank. Israel's international "birth certificate" is validated by the promise of the Bible, and it specifies that its land is what the world now calls PALESTINE!

   Joshua conquered the Land God promised the Jews over three thousand years ago. King David established Jerusalem as the capital of Israel around 1000 BC and King Solomon built the Jewish Temple about 96OBC. This was almost 1000 years before the beginning of Christianity and 1600 years before the rise of Islam. When Jesus came to Jerusalem to celebrate the feasts, he didn't come to a church or a mosque, he came to the Jewish Temple. It was not the Church Mount or the Mosque Mount, but the Temple Mount of Israel.    

   Before the birth of the State of Israel, Arab leaders themselves denied the existence of an Arab country called Palestine. In 1937, Arab leader, Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi said, "There is no such country as Palestine! 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Bible. 'Palestine" is alien to us; it is the Zionists who introduced it." Yet today the whole world is heeding the demands of the Arab terrorists who insist upon having a new Palestinian State inside the land of Israel.

    Recently (May 2006) an Islamic Palestinian cleric remarked that Christians who support Israel are distorting the true faith of Christianity, and have adopted Satan as god and comprise the greatest danger to world peace. The cleric, Hamed Al-Tamimi, the PA’S official cleric accused Zionist Christians of persecuting Palestinians and directing the war in Iraq. He further called for pro-Israeli Christian denominations to be expelled from the "World Church." As usual, the demonic inspired clerics of fundamentalist Islam have been led by Satan to turn things around 180 degrees. It is obvious that it is a top priority of Satan’s Last Days strategy to isolate Christian Zionism, (which did indeed help create an environment for Jehovah to bring a remnant of Jews back to the Promised Land) and to encourage the World’s False Church to eliminate Biblical teaching that is supportive of God’s providence with his chosen nation, Israel. Unfortunately, there are many so-called Christian denominations and Churches that are blindly following the demonic-rhetoric out of Satan’s anti-Zion theological camps.



The Prophetic Paradigm of Palestine


   This article began by highlighting the prophetic scripture from Joel chapter three that deals with the world’s obsession with partitioning the land of Israel. Joel’s prophecy mentioned the ancient conspiracy among the Phoenician Empire in complicity with the people of Mt. Seir. (Esau’s descendants and the ancient Palestinians)

  Joel 3:1-4 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I 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 among the nations, and parted my land. And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink. Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me a recompense? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompense upon your own head;

   God’s word through his prophet Joel reveals that the ancient conspiracy of ‘parting god’s land” will be dealt with in a recompense fashion by God almighty in the days when He has returned a remnant of Israel from the four corners of the world. Jehovah God says, “I will bring again the captivity” (undo the Dispersion) and plant his people back in their own land, and There, He will plead with the nations for his people, which they have scattered, and parted MY land.

   Joel continues to recount the duplicitous conspiracy and prophetic pattern that the Phoenicians of Tyre and Sidon were engaged in with other perpetual enemies of Israel. The conspiracy involved the ancient descendants of Esau (Mt. Seir) that were enabling and aiding the Phoenicians in capturing and enslaving the Jews for work in the Phoenician world trade and commerce industry, while in return, the people of Mt. Seir sought to steal the Land of Israel. To this conspiracy, God pronounced a judgment against Tyre and Sidon, and all the coasts of Palestine.

    History records that the Phoenicians were famous for their trade and commerce and their skill as a seafaring people. Phoenicia had two major sea-ports, Tyre and Sidon, which were semi-independent city-states. Phoenicia grew in world influence as its merchant fleets brought wealth into the country from all over the known world. The nation increasingly became independent of foreign domination and by its "golden age" (about 1050-850BC) the Phoenicians achieved their height of prosperity and influence. Phoenicia went on to found many colonies along its shipping routes, so that many Phoenicians lived in Crete, Cyprus, Sardinia, Sicily, Italy, North Africa (Carthage), and even Spain. Tyre and Sidon began to realize their colonial and expansionist dreams. Under Hiram I, the ruler of Tyre (980-947BC), Phoenicia began a colony at Tarshish in Spain. (Ezekiel 38 also mentions Tarshish as being instrumental in global trade with Sheba and Dedan in the Last Days when Russia invades the land of Israel) Tyrian ships began to dominate Mediterranean commerce, and helped lay the groundwork for the formation of later European powers. Phoenicia’s merchants became princes, and the honorable ruling elite of the earth says Isaiah 23:8. (Isaiah 23:8 Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth?)

   Several prophets of the Old Testament prophesied against Tyre and Sidon. They condemned the Tyrians for delivering the ancient Israelites to the Edomites (Amos 1:9) and selling them as slaves to the Greeks (Joel 3:5-6). Jeremiah prophesied Tyre and Sidon's defeat (Jeremiah 27:1-11). But the classic prophecy against Tyre and Sidon, and all the coasts of Palestine was given by Ezekiel. This prophecy was partially fulfilled when the Assyrians came and ended the Phoenicians hold on the Eastern Mediterranean Coast of Palestine. (Canaan) (Sidon, or Zidon was a son of Canaan)

   Ezekiel prophesied of the Lord against Mt. Seir. (Palestine) Ezekiel’s prophecy forecast that the Palestinian conspiracy to steal the land of Israel, and the perpetual hatred and bloodletting practiced against Israel by the descendants of Esau would cause God to recompense their evil upon their own heads!

    In the days of King Jehoshaphat of Judah, the people of Mount Seir (the Edomites) joined the Ammonites and the Moabites in an invasion against Judah. For this reason, the prophet Ezekiel staunchly predicted God's destruction of "Mount Seir" because of their strong hatred of Israel and their desire to possess the lands of Israel and Judah. Tyre and Sidon, and all the coasts of Palestine appeased the Seirians in this conspiracy.

   This same conspiracy is being revisited today in the Middle East Conflict. The Western world is involved in a world scheme of placating the Arab hatred of Israel (oil resources and cartels) and enforcing the ages old conspiracy to ‘partition” the land of Israel, and give it to the Palestinians.

    But the Lord has spoken, and He will speedily recompense evil upon the heads of the nations of this world and the conspiratorial designs of the inhabitants of the Coast of Palestine!


Focus on Jerusalem Prophecy Ministry

The Bible and Palestine

By: Darrell G. Young

June, 2006


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