An Historical Look at “Palestine”

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As we launched week 6, we discovered who the Palestinians are and the relatively recent advent of Palestinianism.  Today we’ll take a closer look at the Israel vs Palestine issue before moving on to discuss terrorism and its threat to Israel.

Many scholars believe that “Palestine” originated from Plesheth, the same root word as our English word “Philistine.”  The ancient Philistines were not Arabs, but more closely related to ancient Greeks  from Asia Minor.  Originally, Palestine referred to the land of the Philistines.  According to Zephaniah 2:5, what is another name for the land of the Philistines?

God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to the land of Canaan.  Scripture teaches us that, later, Canaan was the Promised Land to which Moses led the people out of Egypt.  Zephaniah equates Philistine to Canaan. (Remember, “Israel” was non-existent at that time.)

As you know, Rome ruled the land during Jesus’ day.  Pompey conquered Israel in 63 BC.  Later, in 70 AD, Jerusalem was destroyed by Roman general Titus and there was a move to rename the land of Israel.  That move continued, and following the suppression of the Jewish Bar Kochba revolt in 135 AD, Roman Emperor Hadrian succeeded in renaming the land in order to blot out the known name of the Jewish territory.  Thus, recognizing the propaganda power of terms and symbols, the land became known as “Palestina” (to ridicule the Jews) and Jewish Temples were replaced with temples to pagan deities.  In addition, he changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitalina.

Disassociating Israel from the Promised Land and from the Abrahamic Covenant has been at the heart of the matter from early on!  The Palestinian problem is not a new idea!  Moving on…

The British Mandate and the Balfour Declaration of 1917 mandated a homeland for the Jewish people, who, by this time, were known as “Palestinians!”  Take a look at the map to the left.  How is the land of Israel (light-colored territory) labeled?

The British Mandate allocated all of Israel (including the modern-day Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and West Bank) and Jordan as proposed Jewish homeland.

Compare that, however, to the map on the right, indicating the borders of Israel according to the UN Partition Plan 181 of November 29, 1947.  Only the orange portions represent Jewish territory.

We can see that, even before Israel’s official re-birth as a nation, there have been attempts to  limit the size of the Jewish homeland.  That remains a significant issue as we read current news about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But stop for a moment and consider: exactly who are the Palestinians?  At the time of the Balfour Declaration in 1917, the Jews were known as Palestinians!  However, there has been a propaganda war going on regarding the term “Palestine.”  At one time, it simply represented the Holy Land.  Now, in recent decades, Arabs living west of the Jordan River have suddenly adopted the name in order to avoid use of the name “Israel” as their place of residence!

In fact, in 1946, Dr Philip Hitti, an Arab historian representing the Muslim world stated adamantly, “There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not!”  The term has simply become a political propaganda tool meant to destroy the legitimacy of the state of Israel.  This has tremendous implications, of which we must remain cognizant.

Indeed, the world is obsessed with partitioning Israel.  Not only did God promise to bring His people back into His Promised Land…which He did in 1948, but Joel chapter 3 also gives strong warning to those who attempt to break Israel into pieces!  Read Joel 3:1-2.  What two things will nations do to Israel that will bring about God’s judgment?

Now, go to the Prophecy News Watch search page and search “Palestinian goal” or “Palestinian state.”  (Hint: search only the Prophecy News Watch site, not the entire internet!)  According to the headlines you see, what is the Palestinian goal, and where is the land they are seeking?  What countries and/or leaders seem to be backing the Palestinian effort?  What is Gods warning to them in Joel 3:2?

Galatians 6:7 warns us that God is not mocked; whatever is sown will be reaped in a future harvest.  I can’t help but believe that those who seek Israel’s division and destruction will meet their doom in the harvest soon to come.  One thing for sure…I’m not betting against God and His Word!

By the way, the US has backed Palestinian interests for years.  Does that concern you?  If so, don’t complain to family and friends about it.  Instead, pray for wisdom for our leaders!  And pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

Good work today, my friends!  I look forward to studying together with you tomorrow!

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