2017 – Jerusalem’s Anniversary Year!
Fifty years ago this year, the City of Jerusalem was reunited for the first time under Israeli sovereignty since it was sacked by the Romans in 70 AD. This took place during the Six Day War of 1967 when the paratrooper’s division of the Israeli Defense Forces defeated three Arab armies and chased the Jordanian Legionnaires out of Jerusalem and beyond the eastern bank of the Jordan River, restoring Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem to Jewish hands.
One hundred years ago this year, General Allenby led the British campaign across Egypt and into what was then called Palestine. The swift campaign defeated the forces of the Turkish Ottoman Empire which was sided with Germany, ending 400 years of Islamic rule in the region, and the City of Jerusalem was liberated in Dec of 1917. As King George V wrote in a telegram to General Allenby, “Today you have given the British people the greatest Christmas gift.”
As you can see, 2017 is a BIG year for us here in Jerusalem.
If you are on our mailing list, you probably appreciate the Judeo-Christian foundations of society and culture as reflected throughout the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, God speaks to those who care to listen and to learn, and His Word is not only transformational in nature, it is also powerful to perform all that He has purposed and promised to achieve on behalf of His elect.
The nation of Israel has been miraculously brought back to life following 2,000 years of dispersion, rejection and persecution, to serve as an undeniable witness of God’s sovereignty, covenant, severity, mercies, faithfulness and power. In fact, more biblical prophecy has been fulfilled on planet earth during the last 100 years than in the recent 2,000 years combined, and most of it had to do with the final harvest of the nations and the resurrection of Israel in preparation for the return of Christ in the fullness of His Kingdom. You and I live in incredible times.
What is possibly the Lord’s most studied, detailed and far-reaching prophecy, the Olivet discourse of Matt. 24, addresses the preparations of the earth and her inhabitants for Christ’s return. And in the heart of this difficult prophecy are two keys that the Lord emphasized – the proclamation of the Gospel to the whole earth, and the budding of the Fig Tree (signifying Israel’s national resurrection). We hope that you are committed to the unfolding of both promises, as both are fiercely opposed by the enemy and dear to the heart of God.
In light of the recent UN resolution (and subsequent uproar) condemning any Israeli territorial presence beyond the 1967 borders (including east Jerusalem, Temple Mount and the Western Wall), every truth-loving individual should be reminded of the nature of this lie. This misleading rhetoric has been consistently chanting, for over 100 years now, that the primary problem preventing peace in the Middle East is Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian lands. The false argument is that the root of the Middle East’s problems is Israel’s aggression, occupation and settlement activity, and that if we could only get rid of these “political and human injustices,” then peace could come.
However, for those who believe the Word of God and the claims of the Bible, both historic and futuristic, the truth is not only undeniable, but visible for all to see. And those who cannot see it, don’t because they don’t want to.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL & HISTORICAL EVIDENCE
The Hebrew nation is the ONLY people group that have had a consistent, proven and visible presence in the Land going back to 1,000 BC. Other people groups came and left, occupying armies passed through, and migrating populations arrived in search of opportunity; but only the Jewish people kept an uninterrupted and demonstrable presence in the land.
In other words, since the time when Father Abraham first arrived and built altars to worship Jehovah throughout the land, and certainly since Joshua led the 12 tribes to possess and occupy the Promised Land, the Hebrew nation has been the only national entity that possessed, loved, cultivated and defended the land consistently. No other people groups established their capital there and no other powers claimed this territory as their own homeland. Never!
The last Islamic power to rule the region was the Turkish Ottoman Empire between 1517 and 1917, at which time the land was liberated by the British Expeditionary Forces which swept the Ottoman forces out during WWI. Consequently, after the war ended, the historic “British Mandate” was granted to Great Britain by the League of Nations which was based on agreed upon international principles (including the San Remo Resolution of 1920) with the objective to administer the territories taken from the disintegrating Ottoman Empire. Of special emphasis and legal significance is the preamble of the Mandate document which declared:
“Whereas the Principal Allied Powers have also agreed that the Mandatory should be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 2nd, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country… Whereas recognition has thereby [i.e. by the Treaty of Sèvres] been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine, and to the grounds for reconstituting their National Home in that country.”
Simply stated, the international community, in its commitment to administer the territories liberated during WWI from the Ottomans, agreed that as far as “Palestine” is concerned (the area of historic Israel), the mandate:
- Favored the establishment of a Jewish national homeland.
- Required that this new Jewish homeland will not obstruct any CIVIL or RELIGIOUS rights of non Jews living in the area, whereby acknowledging the fact that there were no other people groups present in the area, apart from the Jews, who had recognizable NATIONAL rights.
- Recognized and declared the historical connection of the Jewish people with the land.
The reader should remember that the term “Palestine” had nothing to do with the present day Palestinians, many of whom migrated into the region in recent centuries from poor neighboring Arab nations in pursuit of economical opportunities. Rather, the title “Syria Palestina” was given to the territories of Judea and Israel by the Romans in 135 CE while naming a new Roman province after crushing the Bar Kokhba Jewish Revolt. It was a political title copied from Israel’s ancient foes, the Philistines (as recorded in Genesis, Judges, etc…), with the aim to humiliate the defeated Jews and crush any remaining national aspirations.
The fact is that after King David’s military campaigns (3,000 years ago) the surviving Philistines assimilated and became extinct. And since then, there has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. Today’s Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians (also a recent creation), Syrians, Iraqis, etc. There is no Palestinian language, historical records, coinage, traditions, or a demonstrated national heritage.
In fact, according to honest Arab (and Palestinian) historians, it was only after the Jews re-inhabited their historic homeland of Judea and Samaria, following the 1967 Six Day War, that the myth of an Arab Palestinian nation was created and marketed worldwide. In contrast, with more than 3,000 archaeological sites throughout Israel, discoveries emerge almost weekly bearing proof after proof of a rich, documented and demonstrable Hebraic/Jewish heritage that goes back thousands of years and confirms the witness of the Bible, both Old and New Testament scriptures.
A TWO STATES SOLUTION? One for the Arabs and one for the Jews, living peacefully side by side?
I wish it was as simple as it sounds, but the reality is far more complex. If that were the case, then the Arab nations in the Middle East had multiple opportunities to sign a peace treaty with Israel during the past 70 years since the formation of the State of Israel in 1948. But the undeniable fact is that, time and again, the neighboring Arab nations exhibited hostility and attempted to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, and would have succeeded were it not for God’s hand of protection and Israel’s capable Defense Forces.
The fact is that the political circus focusing on Israel’s presence in the disputed territories (this is their correct legal term, “disputed,” and not “occupied” territories) is a hoax. Israel had to face and repel three wars between 1948 and 1967 before it occupied even one inch of the “disputed” territories beyond the 1967 lines. So obviously, territory is not the issue. It’s Islamic diabolic and unrelenting ideology that drives this campaign of hatred and of rage that is by now infecting the whole world.
And, assuming that the region does move toward a two-state solution, will all Jewish villages and communities be removed from the Arab State creating a de-facto “Jew-free zone” (with all its ugly implications) as the Palestinians demand? And if so, will all Arab villages and towns be removed from the Jewish State? With more than one million Arabs living in Israel and enjoying all the benefits and provisions of citizenship in the region’s only prosperous democracy, this too is highly unlikely.
The tragic fact is that the Palestinians, deep inside, don’t really want a two state solution, knowing that as soon as Israel pulls out the IDF security forces from the disputed territories, Hamas will forcibly take over the PA, murder the moderate Palestinian leadership as it did in Gaza soon after Israel pulled out in 2005, and create another terror state on Israel’s eastern frontier. Hamas’ charter doesn’t call for two states. It calls for only one state, a Palestinian state all across the region with no Israel in it at all.
So, as you can see, this is quite an impossible situation, humanly speaking, which brings us to the third and last point of this writing.
THE SPIRITUAL REALITY – There does not seem to be any viable, workable human solution to the issue since the roots of this dilemma are spiritual. The Biblical truth is that Israel is not occupying or settling someone else’s land. Rather Israel, by God’s amazing grace, is re-possessing its own territory according to scripture, the only land in which the Jewish people have had a continual presence for over 3,000 years.
This past history is recorded in the Scriptures, as is the modern day claiming of the land that we see in our generation. And the only way to explain the extreme hatred and chronic resistance to the presence of the State of Israel in its ancient homeland is to agree with the Biblical world view which says that:
- There is a God who is in charge.
- His covenant promises are eternal.
- His will and purpose dictate human history.
- He not only kept the Jewish nation through thousands of years of hatred and rejection, but also raised them back to life again as a witness.
The battle is not over land, territory or ideology. The real battle is over the WORD OF GOD, and the only question is, “will the word of God come to pass as it is written?”
And remember that God cares for all creation and His mercies extend also to the Palestinian people who are caught in the abusive grip of dark spiritual powers and failed human leadership. More on that in the next article.
We would love to have you join us for our upcoming Messianic Bible Teaching Cruise, IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE APOSTLES, sailing from Rome to Jerusalem in the summer of 2017 while celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. Details will be available on our website soon.
A blessed 2017 to you and yours,