From Ancient, Historical Roots to Biblical Realities

From Ancient, Historical Roots to Biblical Realities

Whose Land is it Anyway?

Did Israel steal the land they live in? Did they take land from the Palestinians, as some believe, or do they have a legitimate right to ownership? The right to the possession of land in Israel is at the forefront of many debates these days.

In order to understand the history of the land, we must go back to the beginning of recorded history: back to creation. And what better place to refer to creation than the Bible, the infallible word of God.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1

The answer to “whose land is it” lies in the above passage. When the Lord created the earth and established the seas, it all belonged to Him. It is His to do with what He chooses, we are merely stewards. It is clearly recorded through Biblical history, that God Himself gave the land to Israel to fulfill His covenant with Abraham. God chose the Hebrew nation as far back as the 17th century B.C., making a covenant with Abraham and His offspring via Isaac through the everlasting promise found in Gen. 17:7-8. It would be many years before this promise was fulfilled, however, God is faithful to all His promises.

On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: “to your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates….”

Genesis 15:18

After the Exodus from Egypt in the 13th century B.C., God instructed Moses to lead His people to the land He had promised to Abraham, 4 centuries ago. However, it would be Joshua to lead the tribes into the land to take possession of their inheritance from God. This confirmed not only God’s power to predict the future but also His faithfulness to fulfill His promises throughout the generations.

The word “inheritance” is found 50 times in the early chapters of Joshua, reminding us that the Jewish people inherited their land. They did not win it as a spoil of battle or purchase it through a business transaction. They inherited the land. In other words, The Lord, who owned the land, gave it to them.

The question then becomes, why do people think it was Palestine?
When did people begin to occupy the land as Palestinians?

The truth of the matter is the Judeans and Samarians were, in fact, the first “Palestinians”. When the Romans captured Jerusalem in 63 B.C., Judea became a Roman providence. Around 130 years later, in the years 66 -73 A.D., a revolt by the Jewish people against the Roman authority led to the destruction of the Temple. This uprising was ultimately crushed by the Roman Empire, resulting in the continued occupation.

In the year 132 A.D., the then-Roman Emperor, Hadrian, decided to suppress the Jewish religious culture including banning the practice of circumcision, which led to a second Jewish revolt. However, after three years of fighting, the revolt was lost along with any Judean independence. Judea’s name was changed to Syria Palaestina (later shortened to Palestine) in 135 A.D. by the Romans as punishment and to destroy the connection between the Jews and their homeland. Many of the remaining Jews were either sold into slavery or sent to Egypt. Arabs from surrounding countries quickly began inhabiting the land once owned by the Jewish people.

However, a Jewish remnant remained, and Israel has always retained a Jewish presence in the Land.

Over the next 1400 years, the land was controlled by various foreign countries. The Ottoman (British) rule began in 1517, lasting for 200 years until 1917 when the British government decided to endorse the establishment of a Jewish home in Palestine. In what is known as the “Balfour Agreement” a public statement was issued by the British Government announcing its support for the establishment of a “national home for the “Jewish people” in Palestine.

In 1922 this agreement became a British Mandate (Decree).

During most of the Mandate, from 1922 to 1947, the British under pressure of the Arab population and nations surrounding the mandate, limited Jewish immigration as much as possible. Large-scale Jewish immigration took place after the end of WW2. The growing Jewish population began buying back and reclaiming the lands of their forefathers.

Arab resistance to this immigration led to a rebellion in 1936 known as “The Great Revolt.” During this period, the Arabs demanded an end to Jewish immigration and land purchases. This is thought to be the beginning of the Arab conflict with Israel. The term Palestinian as used to refer to Arabs was not used until 1964 when the Russian KGB helped Egypt’s President, Abdul Nasser, create the PLO. Using “Palestinian” was part of disinformation created by the Russians.

Before the State of Israel was formally founded, thousands of Jewish people had already returned and about 657,000 people resided there. On November 29, 1947, the General Assembly of the U.N. adopted a resolution for the establishment of an Independent Jewish nation. On May 14, 1948, the Nation of Israel was reborn.

God knew His plans for Israel when He created the world.
He also knows His plans for her future.

Many people believe God has forsaken Israel because of her unbelief but if you are reading your Bible, you know this is not true. Theirs is only a temporary hardening of the heart so that Gentiles may become part of God’s plan of mercy for the Jewish people. Romans 11:26 tells us there will be a day when “all of Israel will be saved”.

Jesus, our Messiah will return again, and it will be to Israel. He will return to the Mount of Olives as foretold in Zechariah 14:4. It is from Jerusalem He will rule and reign in the city of David and it will never be destroyed again. This is His promise; to return to the Land His Father had promised to Abraham as an inheritance. A land that was, is, and will always, belong to God and His people.

The earth is the Lord’s and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.

Psalm 24:1-2