The holy land is a place of much conflict and war. Sacred to 3 major world religions; Christianity, Islam and Judaism. For thousands of years the Palestinian people have lived in the area that is now referred to as Israel. In 1948 the United Nations declared the state of Israel. Effectively telling the Palestinian nations that occupied that territory that they were no longer entitled to the land that was theirs.
The irony being that the U.N. really only has an implied means of power and does not have any real power or authority. A bunch of Diplomats voted on an idea and then told Israel that all the
land that is there now belongs to them. Palestinians had no say in this. They were essentially evicted out of the land they had lived in for thousands of years and were told to just suck it up and deal with it.
The Jewish community has been wanting a home land for a long time. Since the days of the scattering of the 10 tribes in ancient biblical history they have been a persecuted and oppressed people for thousands of years. They were scattered across the globe after they failed to live the commandments of God. This was known as the scattering of Israel. We know from biblical history that Israel’s homeland is the region they now occupy. But when we look again at biblical history this region was also occupied by the ancestors of modern-day Palestinians.
When Israel was on their exodus from Egypt they found themselves involved in numerous wars on their way to settle Jerusalem and Israel as we know it. They were commanded to exterminate and irradiate many of the cultures of the area and did so in many brutal and violent wars. The history of war and conflict did not start in this area till Hebrews also known as the Jews essentially invaded Palestine in ancient biblical history and took over the territory that they now possess.
This history of the region is one of war, strife, anger and consistent hostility. This is the holy land and the promised land that God promised Abraham, Issac and Jacob through their posterity. None of that however changes the reality that Palestinians and there ancestors have lived in the region for thousands of years and in many political and legal senses they have and very valid and rightful claim to that region of the world. Palestinians have essentially been told that they are no longer a people or a nation and are required to accept Israeli occupation of their lands and homes. Israel on the other hand is told that the area is now their home land and that Palestine should accept it. Both sides have valid claims and both sides have reason for wanting the other to leave. Both have ancient history of calling the region of Israel their home land and as such both have a rightful claim to the land.
I can’t help but wonder if the U.N. did not force the state of Israel on the occupants of that land to being with would there be peace in the land today? How accepting would the Muslims of the area be of Jews living within their borders without taking over the land and government of area. Many have argued that Palestine was never a nation merely an ethnic group of people and thus the land was never theirs as a nation. Because of this argument creating the nation of Israel did not actually take a country away from anyone.
For anyone to even suggest that Palestine may have some valid claim to the area they are often branded as anti Israel or anti-Semitic and somehow a Jew hater or racist. I have no such leanings or thoughts. I understand the Jews only wish to be left alone and live in peace but have constantly since becoming a nation had to fight off their enemies from all sides. Really not that much different from their biblical heritage. But with that I think it is important to understand why the conflict is happening. What I see in this situation is not a bunch of Muslims hating on Jews but rather fighting for what they believe to be rightfully theirs. A land that their ancestors have lived and worked for thousands of years. The Jews are doing the same but in this case the Jews are the occupiers not the Palestinians. I am not suggesting that the Jews are in the wrong, but it is important to understand Palestine was there when the Jewish nation was created. I even understand the reasons the Jewish nation was created where it was and fully support the idea of a Jewish homeland in the area. The execution of helping the Jews get a homeland is what caused the ongoing modern war that the world has seen since 1948. What the U.N. did to the Palestinians is not much different that what the Europeans did to the native cultures of North and South American. They came to the land, set up their settlements and government and relegated small pieces of land to the original inhabitants, that were not theirs to begin with and told them to just accept it, that is the way it is and there is nothing they can do about it, despite having lived and worked the land for thousands of years.
In the recent news concerning this conflict Israeli government has been launching missiles at Palestinian civilian targets. They have killed hundreds and now approaching 1,000 + deaths as a result of these attacks. Meanwhile Israel has reported to have lost less than 100 men and no civilians in this recent conflict. Palestinians in this case are taking the brunt of the war and are suffering more in this current trend of events than Israel. The Israeli government is insisting that they are acting in self-defense and only doing what is necessary to protect their people from their enemies. I do not know enough to pass judgment on either side of the conflict. We will have to come to those conclusions ourself.
In all of this war and conflict I find it interesting that the city of Jerusalem has been left relatively untouched and harmed by all the war, deaths and bombing that is going on in the region. When we look at the demographics of Jerusalem some sources indicate that 64% are Jewish, 32% Muslim and 2% christian. Within the city of Jerusalem there is relative peace amongst these groups. They have been spared for the most part the ravages of war. The Muslims control the dome of the rock, a site sacred to all 3 religions. The Muslims believe that is where Muhammad the prophet ascended to heaven. The Jews believe the dome to be the locations of Solomon’s temple as do the Christians. Despite the debate over the dome of the rock these groups, mainly Jews and Muslim get along without killing each other. Jerusalem it seems is relatively peaceful compared to the rest of the region. Israeli and Palestinian borders seem to be so much in dispute it is hard to really refer to the area as a country .
I am left to wonder how can these 2 groups of people who are spending their lives killing each other get along so well in Jerusalem yet are destroying each other everywhere else in the region. The contrast is remarkable and yet shows that they can get along if they just put their differences aside and work together for the common good.
The creation of the nation or state of Israel many Christians have come to believe is the direct fulfillment of prophecy given to us in the bible and other scriptures regarding the gathering of the 10 tribes of Israel in the last days. There is certainly merit in this belief and while I believe personally that is the truth I am open to a different interpretation or understanding that may be out there regarding this prophecy. The conflict in the area I personally believe will not hold to everywhere but Jerusalem and will eventually spill out into Jerusalem. Prophecy in the new testament indicate this will happen in the book of revelations.
Revelations chapter 11 verse 3, 5-8
“And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.”
“These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.”
What I find to be the worst thing about this prophecy is not only will war be made against these 2 prophets but when they are slain it will be like Christmas morning. verse 10 says
What a sad day that will be. I hope my children and descendants are not among the ones that would rejoice at the death of a prophet.
We learn that the city will be split into 3 parts from verse 19 of chapter 16 of revelations
“And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.”
This division is already taking place. The Jews will worship at the wailing wall while Muslims go to the dome of the rock and Jews are not permitted there. The city is divided if not at war with itself. And as it was once said “a nations divided cannot stand”
The Jewish nation is chosen of God and has a destiny greater than even they realize. They are people at constant war fighting for their right to survive and live in peace. There are no easy solutions and certainly no easy way out for the Jewish nation. They have enemies on all side which is nothing new to them. They have suffered persecution for millennia but they have also persecuted, enslaved and waged war with others as well. Just reading the biblical account of the exodus and their journey to the promised land makes that clear.
In the end the Jewish nation will not see peace until the second coming of Christ. In the meantime what side do you take in the ongoing conflict. It is not easy to decide and I am not sure we even should take a side if any at all. The most important thing at this point is for understanding on both sides of the issue. Both sides of the conflict need to sit down and work out a way to become one nation that allows both groups of people to live in peace. They won’t need to give up their religion or way of life but seek a way to co-exist. For the most part it is working in Jerusalem so why not the rest of the region?
And that is the gospel according to Andrew