Hello once again. This is Paul Billington bringing you another edition of the Bible in the News as we watch the much vaunted two-state solution going up in the Iranian-backed smoke of Hamas.
What an incredible situation less than two years since Israel withdrew from Gaza in its disastrous Disengagement move. Not only did that U.S. sponsored policy deprive Jewish settlers of their homes, their businesses and their security--it has plunged the Palestinians of Gaza into chaos. To repeat this process in the West Bank, as most of the world urges, is becoming nigh impossible for Israel. No wonder, as is reported, at least 45,000 Palestinians want to leave the so-called Palestinian territories. It says a lot when a religious Fatwa has been issued in order to prevent emigration from these areas.
The way we see it, from a Bible perspective, is that the world is pushing an impossible agenda as it tries to prize Israel out of those territories, and especially out of the West Bank, which is the true Bible Land. We know from personal on-the-spot experience, having spoken with some of these ordinary Palestinian people, that many want to leave. These people came to the area many years ago--or at least their grandparents did--for economic reasons. Now they would be happy to move on, but the world wants to use them in order to lever out the Jews.
Most people of course do not see the underlying and deceitful forces that are at work in this situation. They simply accept and believe what they learn from the media--but it is the Bible, and not the media, that reveals to us the truth behind the news. And when we actually visit these areas (as we do from time to time), it is the Bible that tells us what to look for, and where. What the Scripture makes clear to us is that the regathered Jewish people are to remain upon the mountains of Israel until they are invaded by the nations as is described in Ezekiel 38, Zechariah 14 and other places.
Meanwhile the idea of a two-state solution; one Israeli and one Palestinian is going up in smoke. If you have not been following the news you may not be aware of the situation. A report by the Associated Press is worth reading because it gives a clear picture of what is happening; The headline reads, "Fierce Battles Spread to Central Gaza." I quote:
"Fierce battles over key security positions spread Wednesday to central Gaza, with Hamas fighters wresting control of the coastal strip's main north-south road--and putting themselves in position to cut off reinforcements to beleaguered Fatah forces.
"Hamas leaders blamed the Gaza fighting on President Mahmoud Abbas, saying his security forces were corrupt and riddled with criminals. Abbas, of Fatah, called the fighting 'madness' and appealed to Hamas' exiled leader, Khaled Mashaal, to end the violence.
"The United Nations decided to scale back its operations in Gaza immediately after two Palestinians who worked for a U.N. agency were killed in the fighting, a U.N. spokesman said 'In view of the increased threats to our staff, UNWRA has no choice but to scale back its operations in Gaza with immediate effect,' U.N. spokesman Christopher Gunness said, referring to the agency that deal with Palestinian refugees.
"Gunmen also fought for control of high-rise buildings in Gaza City that serve as sniper positions. Six militants died in clashes near the besieged house of a senior Fatah commander in Gaza City, in addition to four killed there Tuesday, Hamas said. Two other people died of wounds sustained in earlier fighting.
"A mortar shell hit the home of a deputy Cabinet minister from Hamas in the nearby Shati refugee camp, setting it aflame, security officials said. No one was hurt, and the official was not at home, officials said.
"Violence in Gaza between the two factions, which nominally share power in the Palestinian government, has rapidly spiraled toward all-out civil war, with more than 50 reported killed since Monday. Hamas has systematically taken control of security positions in the north and south, apparently leaving the main battle for the strip's security and political nerve center in Gaza City for last.
"An announcer on a Hamas radio station said the offensive would proceed to the presidential compound and the national security headquarters in Gaza City.
"Hamas demanded Fatah-allied security forces in the north relinquish their weapons by 7 p.m. (noon EDT) Friday, or risk having them taken by force. The ultimatum was delivered in text messages and radio announcements.
"Shops in Gaza City were closed and streets were mostly empty as terrified residents huddled in homes. The U.N. Relief and Works Agency announced it couldn't distribute food to the 30 percent of the Gaza Strip that relies on international aid.
"Abbas urged an end to the bloody confrontations. He spoke by phone with the Damascus-based Mashaal to try to stop the crisis, said Abbas aide, Nimr Hadad.
'"This is madness, the madness that is going on in Gaza now," Abbas told reporters."
Another article had the headline "Hamas victory in Gaza would be divisive." The article said (I Quote), "A Hamas military victory in Gaza would create a two-headed Palestine--with the Islamic extremists in control in the coastal strip and Western-backed Fatah ruling the West Bank."
The article went on:
"The most likely scenario is a divided Palestine, with Hamas running Gaza and Fatah the West Bank, where Hamas is relatively weak because of continued Israeli control."
The media of course, speak as though there was a state called Palestine already in existence. But there isn't. The only place called Palestine was that land administered by the British when they were supposed to be creating a Jewish National Home there under Mandate from the League of Nations before the Second World War. Today there is no such place as Palestine--there is a Gaza Strip, and there is the so-called West Bank--that is the mountains of Israel otherwise known in Bible times as Judea and Samaria. It is possible to say that Palestine, or Palestina, is the ancient territory of the Philistines and that that is the area of the Gaza Strip today--but there is no such connection to the West Bank which was administered by Jordan prior to 1967.
When the British created Jordan (known then as Trans-Jordan) during the 1920's however, it did not include any land west of the Jordan river.
The territory named Palestine by the British included that area between the Mediterranean and the Jordan river. It included today's West Bank and was earmarked in the Churchill White Paper of 1922 for a Jewish National Home. That plan was later abandoned, and the land that should have become a Jewish Home was divided by the Untied Nations 1947 Partition Plan, and then as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war which was initiated by Arabs attacking the land awarded to Jews by the United Nations. Another Arab invasion of Israel in 1967 resulted in the present situation which sees Israel in control of the West Bank and the city of Jerusalem.
That is where Bible prophecy has the Jewish people living in the latter days. They are on the mountains of Israel in Ezekiel chapter 38.
They are in Jerusalem prior to the gathering of all nations against it in Zechariah chapter 14:2. The Jews are living in Judea and Jerusalem (Joel 3:1) before the gathering of all nations for judgement because they have divided God's Land--Joel 3:2 And it is significant that when the whole world gathers "to the battle of that great day of God Almighty" in the prophecy of Revelation 16:14-16, they are "gathered together in to a place called in THE HEBREW" language Armageddon. So those who speak the Hebrew language are a focus here. The Jews are involved, just as they are in all the other prophecies.
All this tells us that the Jews are to remain. They will not be levered out--and one reason for this may well be that the Palestinian Arabs just cannot get their act together. Rather than establish a state of their own--even when it is handed to them--they just press the self-destruct button and end up in a chaotic mess.
Well, we must continue to watch events with our Bible open. The Lord is coming to establish HIS Kingdom in righteousness. He will teach peace to the nations. So let us learn from his word how to live in a right way and at peace so that we might be accepted by him in that day when he rewards every man according to his works.
Join us again next week when God willing, Jonathan Bowen will he here to speak to you about the Bible in the News. www.bibleinthenews.com or www.biblemagazine.com.