The raging conflict in the Middle East sparks two essential questions. First: Do the Jews own Palestine? The answer is yes. Scripture makes it clear that the land of Palestine was given by God to the physical descendants of Abraham. (Gen. 12:7, 13-14-17- 11 Chron. 20:7; Acts 7:5)
Secondly- Do the Jews have the right to occupy Palestine? The answer to this question is no! Scripture states that if Israel rejects Jesus, (Yahweh) who brought them into Canaan, He will expel them from the land. They can never lawfully return until they are obedient to their rejected Messiah.
Yahweh's conditional terms of occupancy are bluntly laid down in Leviticus 26-27,33. "Yet if in spite of this you do not obey me, but act with hostility against me, then I will act with wrathful hostility against you … You … I will scatter among the nations and will draw out a sword after you, as your land becomes desolate and your cities become waste."
Deuteronomy 4:25-27 continues: "When you do that which is evil in the sight of the Lord your God so as to provoke him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that you shall surely perish quickly from the land … You shall not live long on it, but shall be utterly destroyed. And the Lord will scatter you among the nations, where the Lord shall drive you."
And in Deuteronomy 28:63-4- "if you are not careful to observe all the words of this law … you shall be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it. Moreover, the Lord will scatter you among all peoples."
In the Old Testament, when Israel and Judah abandoned Yahweh, both nations were exiled from Palestine: Israel by the Assyrians in 722 B.C., Judah by the Babylonians in 597 B.C. Only abject repentance entitled a small minority of Judeans, under Ezra and Nehemiah, to return from Babylon and again occupy their land of promise. After the remnant Jews' rejection and crucifixion of Christ, they also were scattered among the nations in fulfillment of God's ancient decree.
Since their expulsion under Titus in 70 A.D., the Jews still have not repented. They have not given Christ the obedience He demands.
Who Has Rights of Occupation? Who, then, are the legitimate occupants of Palestine today? When God exiled Judah under Nebuchadnezzar in 597 B.C. He allowed various mixed people, later called Samaritans, to occupy Judea. Such occupancy was not conditional on righteousness. What was important was that rebellious Jews not occupy the land.
Similarly, when God expelled the Jews from Palestine in 70 A.D. He allowed various peoples eventually known as Palestinian Arabs to occupy the land in lieu of Jewish obedience.
Do the Palestinians own the land? They do not. But they do have divine approval, as did the ancient Samaritans, to become tenants of the land until Israel repents.
Someday, out of great tribulation, a remnant of Jews will give God the obedience He demands. Christ will lead this believing remnant back to the land of their forefathers; they will dwell there lawfully, in peace and safety. This will be the only legitimate return the Jews will make to Palestine since their rejection of Christ 2000 years ago. It will gloriously fulfill hundreds of Old Testament prophecies. (Isa. 4:4, 10:20, 59:20; Hos.14:4; Joel 2:18-20; Zeph. 2:7, 3:11-13) Until that time, God calls heaven and earth to testify that unbelieving Jews must remain dispersed, scattered, "wandering" among the nations (Deut. 4:25-27). And yet, as in ancient Babylon, God encouraged them to build, plant, marry and take root in the land of their dispersion, and to "seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile." (Jer. 29:4-7)
The proper role for unbelieving Jews is to dwell scattered among the very safe and prosperous Jewish communities in New York, London, Paris, etc. They are not to wrest Palestine from its divinely approved occupants, thus inciting persecution and hatred against Jews worldwide. This timeless principle of "no obedience, no occupancy" was illustrated in the time of Joshua. (Num. 13:25-33; 14:1-45) God invited the Hebrews to occupy Palestine by faith. Yet when unbelief emerged, He refused to let them in. When the people decided they wanted to penetrate the land anyway, God rejected them, ultimately condemning them to wander and die in the wilderness. Only a new, obedient generation (like the later generation under Ezra and Nehemiah) would be allowed to take root in a land dedicated to obedience.
Today, God's law requiring Jewish obedience has been subverted by Zionist Jews and by evangelical Christians. Zionism says to Jews, "We don't have to remain scattered, wanderers according to the curse of God's law. We can be re-gathered, established in peace and safety in the land God expelled us from. Obedience doesn't matter any more." The evangelical church heartily agrees, blessing them and bidding Godspeed.
Evangelicals believe the church has a responsibility, like a midwife, to come alongside and encourage Israel's birth of faith in Christ by blessing and endorsing unbelieving Israel, right or wrong. Such blessing, the church believes, can only hasten Israel's eventual national acceptance of Christ.
Yet the church has no biblical right to bless the Zionist experiment in Palestine. Zionism's capitol is that fleshly Jerusalem which Revelation describes as "the great city, which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified." (Rev. 11:8) It is anathema that the church should bid Godspeed or pray for the peace of such a city, a city Scripture portrays as embodying the perversions of Sodom and all the bondage and occultry of ancient Egypt. The church is obligated to encourage and pray for the peace of that spiritual Jerusalem, which includes all Jews who accept the rulership of the "King of Jerusalem," or "King of Peace," Jesus Christ. (Heb. 7:1-3) Yes, Christians must be kind to Jews, responsive to their rights and humanitarian needs - just as Christians are to be charitable, without discrimination, to all people. (James 2:1-4) Yet the greatest blessing the church can give Jews is to preach the gospel to them, leading them to the gift of faith, joy, and eternal life in their only true messiah, Jesus.
Zionism's defiance of God's law not only creates anger in Heaven, but strife, hatred, revenge and terrorism within God's holy land, sending shock waves through the Middle East and the world. Further, because the Zionist presence in Palestine is against God's law, no attempt at peace-making by America, Israel, or the Palestinians can succeed. If God really endorsed the Zionist occupation of Palestine, He would bless Israel and the region with harmony - the kind of harmony Solomon enjoyed with his political neighbors. God is the One who causes even the enemies of a righteous man to be at peace with him. (Prov. 16:7) Instead, violence, hatred, terrorism erupt in the Middle East: God's laws have been turned upside down.
What is to be done? The evangelical church, while seeking the spiritual good of individual Jews, should end its support of the unlawful Zionist occupation of God's holy land. Such a return to Biblical law does not forsake or persecute Jews. Instead, it is a blessing, helping deliver them from further persecution and anti-Semitism. The fact is, Zionism stimulates hatred against Jews. The modern state of Israel was established ostensibly to provide safe haven to European Jewry. Actually, Zionists' unlawful occupation of Palestine, expelling and persecuting the divinely sanctioned occupants has only heightened hatred of Jews and lessened the security of Jews living in war-torn Palestine. In fact, it would be difficult to imagine a less secure place for Jews than Israel.
The argument can be made, of course, that God's law is impractical for us today. Exodus of the Jews from Palestine, it could be said, would be like giving America back to the Indians. Yes, it is inconvenient. But it is also God's law - the right thing to do. The alternative - heightened hatred and possible world war, destroying staggering numbers of Arabs, Jews, and probably Americans in order to uphold the Zionists' unbiblical claim - is a much more painful one.
Even worse, Zionist occupation will eventually precipitate the Great Tribulation, when the antichrist, Israel's false messiah, turns on the Jewish people in fury. (Isa. 10:5-11; Ezek. 38 & 39) Just as Sargon II and Nebuchadnezzar scattered Israel and Judah, the antichrist will be God's instrument to once again enforce God's law to expel and scatter disobedient Jewry throughout the world. (Hos. 9:13, Ezek. 39:23-28, Luke 21:24) Scripture tells us that the Tribulation will be the period of greatest suffering Israel has ever known, a holocaust to end all holocausts at the hands of antichrist, Arabs and gentiles. (Deut. 28:15,18-29; Hos. 8:7-8,13; Isa. 47:6; Jer. 6:1-3; Ezek. 23:46-47, 33:28-29; Matt. 24:21-22
We have come to a time, as in the time of King Josiah, when the law of the Lord concerning rightful occupation of Palestine has been forgotten. Both Israel and the church have massively strayed from God's law. The church, even when confronted with such law, has the greatest difficulty comprehending it. Such light is unwelcome, painful to those who have dwelt for a century in the dark shadow of Zionist propaganda.
It is time the church returned to confidence that God alone, in His time and on His terms, will bring back His remnant Jews to Palestine. The church dishonors God by joining with Christ-rejecting Jews in ramming a counterfeit return down the throats of the Arab world. Further, the church is siding with a bully. It bids Godspeed to arrogant and bloody men. Such include Menachem Begin who, having committed such atrocities as blowing up the King David Hotel and its occupants, proudly proclaimed himself "the father of modern terrorism." Or Ariel Sharon, who presided over the infamous Shattilla and Sabra Massacres in Lebanon, slaughtering hundreds of innocent victims.
Scripture warns that those who misguidedly bless evil men, bidding godspeed to them, become partakers of their evil deeds. (II Jn 1:11) Only by separating from international Zionism can the church escape further entanglement and corruption by it. The church must also remind Jews that if they want to avoid persecution, anti-semitism and ceaseless strife, they must return to Christ's divine law and terms of occupancy, given not to the gentiles, but to their forefathers thousands of years ago. If they obey, the Middle East will at last have peace.
For a complete discussion of the history and aspirations of the Jews, past, present, and future, order Rev. Ted Pike's monumental 345 page best-seller Israel: Our Duty…Our Dilemma and its video version The Other Israel.
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