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The Bible in the News
The Jewish Population of Judea and Samaria Shows Significant Growth.
The unseen hand behind the Jewish Settlements in the West Bank.
Friday, October 03, 2008  Audio & Print versions

This week Israel National News reported that the population of Judea and Samaria has increased by 20% during Olmert's term in office. Welcome to the Bible in the News, this is David Billington.
The number of Jews in Judea and Samaria when Olmert came to power was 250,000 and according to the Israeli Interior Ministry's official census in 2008, the number has now swelled to 300,000. It's amazing that during the tenure of a prime minister who's major goal has been dismantling the settlements that the opposite has happened and they have experienced exponential growth. The fact is that the growth of the settlements is exponential. The larger the population becomes the faster the growth will become. One reason for this, beside in-migration from outside the west bank settlements, is the Jewish settlers in Judea and Samaria have huge families. These families are raised ideologically, with one of the main ideals being to build up the land of Israel and in particular the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria. Imagine a family with ten children who will all mostly marry young and in turn have families of the same size. This is common in the settlements. You think the population is large now? Just wait ten years!

Now this isn't just a point of interest to Bible students who love the law and the prophets and the hope of the restoration again of the kingdom of Israel. These days are clearly prophesied in Joel chapter three. "For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem..." Note the words carefully. The prophet has excluded much of the land of Israel from his prophecy. Only Judah and Jerusalem is mentioned. The tribe of Judah's allotment was principally the southern west bank with Jerusalem on the northern border. Why has the prophet focused in on this area of the land? Today it is the world who is focused on this part of the land of Israel and the area of Samaria in the mountains just to the north--the area commonly now called the West Bank. It is the area taken by Israel in 1967 and it is the key part of the land upon which the world is striving to establish a Palestinian state. "When I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem..." There is no doubt that this refers to the time in which we live. It cannot refer to any other time before 1967.

Isaiah 40 also focuses in on this part of the land. Isaiah 40 is the chapter that opens crying for the comforting of God's people. It words were taken and held up and displayed by John Baptist. It had an application to the work of Christ.  Yet take note of verses nine and ten. "O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah: 'Behold your God!' Behold, the Lord GOD will come as a Mighty One, and His arm will rule for Him; behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him." The prophet Isaiah is referring to the the time when "His arm will rule for Him". This is the time after the overturning of the throne of Israel that Yahweh speaks of through Ezekiel the prophet, when he shall "...come whose right it is; and I will give it him." The focus in Isaiah 40 is on the cities of Judah. In order for this prophecy to be fulfilled there must be Jews living in the cities of Judah.

In Amos 9:14 the prophet writes: "And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them ; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them." The prophet speaks of rebuilding, raising the ruins of former Jewish cities that have been desolate for many generations. Nowhere in Israel is this process more alive than in the Biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria. Just consider the names of some of the towns: Shilo, Bethel, Elon Moreh, Hebron, Ephrat or Ephratah, Migron and Michmash.

It is clear then from the prophets that it is the Almighty's hand that has brought back the Jews to Judah and Jerusalem. This is undeniable for anyone who believes scripture. As we have noted the Lord says through the prophet Joel: "When I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem..." It is God's unseen hand moving events. It is God that is establishing the settlements. For this reason the world is fighting a lost cause, in fact it is much worse they are fighting against God.

However, let us not imagine that the growth in the west bank settlements has been easy during the reign of Ehud Olmert. It has been anything but easy. There are many Jews waiting for homes in West Bank settlements which cannot get them--the towns are not allowed to grow fast enough. Arabs sometimes throw stones at cars of Jewish residents  and of course there are the tragic incidents of terrorism. Left wing anarchist groups move activists into the west bank and particularly Hebron, where they work to make life miserable to the Jewish residents. These activists try to provoke the Jewish residents into doing something the world will look down on, such as yelling at a Arab. They will then try and film the outburst, which is then screened on televisions around the world by a very anti-settler media. Every new Jewish neighborhood necessitates a fight with the government who is dead set against expansion. Yet the settlers are undeterred. Motivated by the Hebrew Bible they keep building.

One example of this determination and faith is the outpost settlement of Shvut Ami. Just this week the settlement was violently emptied of Jews by the police and IDF. The settlers have tried again and again, over and over to build this new settlement. Shvut Ami was first built just over a year ago on the Jewish holiday of Succoth. The holiday atmosphere did not last however as the government came and threw them out and stationed soldiers at the site to stop them from returning. This did not stop these ideological youth. They said: "Well the Jews in the army can live at that new settlement and we will start a new one somewhere else, then we will have two new Jewish settlements." The very same evening after the soldiers leave the Jewish youth will be back to rebuild. Here they are on one such occasion singing the words of the prophet Jeremiah, from chapter 31 verse 17: "...thy children shall come again to their own border."

{Audio clip from Shvut Ami.)

Well thanks for joining us at and come back again next week God Willing, as we continue to discover God's unseen hand guiding the events of our world.

Printed:  Friday, October 03, 2008


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