There is probably no group of people for whom evangelical Christians feel less compassion than the Palestinians. To most evangelicals, they are suicide bombers who want to drive God's chosen people into the sea.
Why should Christians care about Palestinians, much less learn more about their history?
Because failure to do so has the greatest moral consequences. Most Christians don't understand that, while obedient Jews own the land, God gave Gentiles permission to dwell in the Promised Land while Israel remains in unbelief. Misunderstanding Scripture, Christians support an evil regime in Israel which is not authorized by God and is not a legitimate, prophesied return.
Finding the truth about strife in the Mideast requires looking more closely at history and at the book which best explains it, the Bible. This article will examine the past, present, and prophesied future of the Palestinian people.
721 B.C. – Since the northern ten tribes of Israel will not obey God, He exiles and scatters them under the Assyrians. This fulfills His oft-repeated threat to expel them from the land, allowing Gentiles to occupy it until Israel obeys. 1 For 44 years, the northern kingdom is virtually empty. Much of its population has been decimated by the ruthless Assyrians with only, according to Assyrian records, 27,290 Hebrews deported (probably from the upper classes). 2 Lions multiply. In 677 B.C. Assyrian king Esarhadon repopulates its cities with Assyrian immigrants (Cuthaen Semites) who become known as Samaritans. 3 For more than a century, Samaritans are the dominant racial group in the northern, and later, southern kingdoms. More than any other peoples, Samaritans are the founding fathers of the Palestinians.
586 B.C. -- King Nebuchadnezzar exiles the southern kingdom of Judah. The land is similarly emptied, although he allows the poorest of Jews to remain. When Ezra returns from Babylon with a believing Jewish remnant 70 years later, he finds Samaritans occupying the southern kingdom. These Samaritans demand to help the Jews rebuild Jerusalem. The Jews refuse.
The Samaritans become theological competitors to the Jews. They borrow the Hebrew law and modify it to create a rival religion, centering on worship at Mt. Gerizim in Samaria. At first, they mix Mosaic Law with idolatry. But then (like the later Khazars) (See, The Khazars: Do They Destroy God’s Plan for the Jews?) they convince themselves that they are children of Abraham, "God's chosen people." They undoubtedly do contain some Israelite blood, through contact with the few Israelites among the common people who survived the Assyrians. 4 Yet the on-the-scene testimony of the Bible is clear. They are the nations which Esarhadon "brought over and set in the cities of Samaria." 5 Gradually they "abandoned polytheism for a sort of ultra Mosaism." 6 Samaritans hold to a higher moral standard than most pagan idolaters of the time, and God allows them to inhabit Palestine through the time of Jesus 700 years later. They constitute a persistent ethnic presence in Palestine , "lying in the very midst of the Jews." 7 Even after the Jews are largely driven from the land after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, Samaritans remain. Their power and presence in Palestine is finally broken in 529 A.D. when hundreds of thousands of Samaritans revolt against the Christian-Byzantine Empire. With tens of thousands slaughtered, the Samaritans fade from history. In 2007, however, 712 Samaritans still live near Nablus , Israel. 8
In the several centuries before Christ, Jews attempt to militarily expel Hellenic and Roman forces and influence. But there is no record of effort to expel the Samaritans. Jews undoubtedly recognize them as that people with divine sanction to occupy the land, because Israel failed to obey. Through many precedents, the Old Testament makes it clear that, if Israel is rebellious, God will authorize surrounding nations to occupy, oppressing the Hebrews until they repent. He did that with Assyria , saying: "Oh, Assyrian, the rod of Mine anger...I will send him against a hypocritical nation..." 9 similarly, He allowed the Cuthaen Assyrians (Samaritans) to occupy the land until Israel obeyed. This illustrates the flip side of God's threat to empty rebellious Hebrews from Palestine. He doesn't want Palestine to become a "no man's land." He wants people tending it, just as long as they are not a nation of rebellious Jews. However, God never made a land covenant with non-Jews, as He did with Israel. When Israel finally obeys, there must be no rival claims to ownership of Palestine.
7th Century AD -- After Muslims conquer Palestine , Arab blood (Semitic/Hamitic) dominates Palestine. The Samaritans, racially exclusive, do not encourage intermarriage with "Gentiles." Nevertheless, for 1200 years the Samaritans are the first modern Palestinians. They are authorized by God to dwell in Palestine. This is a right which succeeding Arabs or any other Gentile nation (as long as it does not become excessively wicked) also may enjoy.
Palestinians have thus never been interlopers in Israel. God allowed them to settle there in the 8th century B.C. If God’s law is truly unchanging, they should be allowed to remain until Israel at last obeys at Christ’s second coming. When that happens, no Gentile can ever take their land from them.
1516 A.D. – The Ottoman Turks conquer Palestine and subject the Palestinians to centuries of feudal oppression. Palestinian farmers work the lands of their Samaritan/Arab forefathers as tenant renters.
1914 – With Turkey allied with Germany against the Western powers in World War I, Palestinians hope that if Turkey is defeated the Allies might grant them a democratic state. The British agree that if the Arabs helped help defeat the Turks (with assistance from Lawrence of Arabia) they can have their nation.
1917 – Turkey is defeated. Yet Britain breaks its promise. Beginning with the Balfour Declaration, it divides Palestine between Jews and Arabs. The Palestinians are devastated, disillusioned with the western powers they trusted and admired.
1936-1939 – Many more Jews flood into Palestine than agreed. Western Jewish capital purchases extensive Palestinian land. Angry Palestinians riot over a three-year period, even killing Jews. Britain agrees to limit Jewish immigration and land purchase.
1947 – The newly formed United Nations decrees that although the Palestinians outnumber Jews 2 to 1, 56 percent of Palestine will be put under Jewish rule and 43 percent under Arab in the upcoming two-state partition of the land. Palestinians are furious. Who gave an ad hoc world-governing council in San Francisco the right to impose Jewish rule over more than half of Palestine? No one has ever satisfactorily answered that question. Palestinians rise in rebellion, determined to save their dream of an autonomous nation consisting of at least two-thirds of Palestine , a nation governed by themselves – not Jews. Jewish paramilitary and terrorist groups fight back in favor of the UN decree. Conflict rages in Palestine through 1947-8.
April 9, 1948 – Determined not to share any of Palestine with the Palestinians, Zionist terrorists slaughter 250 innocent men, women and children in the sleeping Arab village of Deir Yassin. They widely publicize this atrocity to the Palestinians, threatening a similar fate if they do not flee; 800,000 flee in terror. Zionists suddenly possess 80 percent of the property in Palestine as well as sovereignty over virtually the entire nation.
1948 to 1973 – No longer needing to purchase property from Palestinians, Israel confiscates much remaining Palestinian property (largely through illegal settlements or outright theft, for “security purposes"). Tens of thousands of formerly prosperous Palestinian land owners and their children languish in Zionist concentration camps, subject to inhuman conditions. Arab anger and righteous indignation remain at the boiling point, contributing to the 1967 and 1973 wars of attempted liberation of Palestine. These fail, resulting in even more Israeli occupation of Palestine , particularly of Gaza and the West Bank.
2008 – Rapidly expanding illegal Jewish settlements and construction of a concrete “fence” throughout Israel quickly devour even more Palestinian territory.
Future – Ezekiel 38 and 39 predict the whole Middle East and world will come under Jewish control. The prophet sees Israel dwelling at peace with no one able to oppose her. Yet she is so wicked, polluting the land, that God hides His face from her! 10 At last, Revelation indicates, the archetypal harlot Israel , having crucified her first spiritual Husband, Jesus, marries her false husband Antichrist and rules the nations with him; she ruthlessly persecutes Christians. 11
Yet Antichrist, “The Beast” (also called Gog), turns on the harlot Israel. He gathers armies from the nations, including the Arab world. 12 They invade Israel and slaughter most Jews, attempting to once and for all end the "Jewish problem" through Jewish extinction. Jews are thrust into their "great tribulation" or "time of Jacob's trouble." Christ prophesied this to be “the time of the Gentiles” when Jerusalem is "trodden under foot.” 13 Two messengers from God, the "two witnesses," call down plagues. 14 But the Gentiles' general mood is of triumphant rejoicing, "marrying and giving in marriage." Optimistically, they begin a whole new world order, enjoying unrestrained wickedness as did the world before the flood. 15
Just before Jewish extinction, Christ returns. The nations, including the Arabs, unite against Him. 16 The Beast attempts to destroy Christ as He comes in the skies. Instead Christ rains fire on all who oppose Him. He destroys them in the battle of Armageddon. 17
A remnant of beleaguered Jews repents and trusts their true Messiah. For the first time in at least two millennia, they give God the obedience He has always required. He allows them and their posterity to inhabit the Promised Land for 1000 years. Surviving Palestinians and Arab peoples worship Christ, obeying His law under the threat of quick judgment. 18
This is the last we know about the Palestinians. At the end of the 1000 years of peace, Satan will be released with his demons. Many people will choose to rebel against Christ. He will send fire from heaven to destroy them. 19
Will the Palestinians be among that number, perhaps still resentful God displaced them from their former homeland and returned it to its lawful inhabitants, His obedient chosen people?
No one knows.
Why do the Palestinians present a moral challenge to Christians? Why should evangelicals accept the fact that God gives first rights of occupation to the Palestinians today, just as He did their forefathers, the Samaritans?
Because, without that understanding, Christians will join with those who once received the law of God and now trample it and who oppress the lawful inhabitants of Palestine.
By giving aid and comfort to such wicked Zionists, Scripture says we "become partakers of their evil deeds." 20
Scriptures teaching that God's covenant with Israel is accessed only by obedience include: Gen. 18:1,9; Ex. 19:5; Deut. 7:9-15, 11:13-15, 15:4-5, 19:8-9, 28:1-68, 30:9-20; Josh. 24:19-20; I Sam. 2:30, 12:14-15, 12:20-25; I Chron. 28:9; II Chron 15:2; I Kings 6:12-13, 9:4-9, 11:38; II Kings 21:8; Is. 58:9-14, 65:11-12; Jer. 17:24-25, 18:7-10, 22:4-5, 26:3-6; Zech 3:7. Scriptures teaching God’s requirement of obedience for Jews to occupy or reoccupy Palestine include: Lev. 26, Num. 32:15, Deut. 1:37, 28:21, 25, 37,41, 58-64, 29:28; I Sam. 12:20-25; I Kings 8:46-53; II Kings 18:11,12, 21:8; II Chron. 7:17-22, 30:9; Neh. 1:8-9; Jer. 4:1-4, 7:5-7, 12:16-17, 13:22, 15:19, 22:4-5, 29:13; Hosea 9:15; Amos 4:1-2; Zech. 7:11-14. Also see, Almost Anyone Can Occupy Palestine
Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911, "Samaritans," pg 209.
Ezra 4:2, 10
Wikipedia presents an interesting article, "Samaritan," elevating the Samaritan claim to Israelite ancestry.
Smith's Bible Dictionary, Pyramid Books, NY, 1967, "Samaritans," p. 598.
Rev. 16:16, Rev. 19:19
II John 1:11
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