In 70 AD Israel was flattened to the ground by the iron fist of Rome. As a geographical nation she was no more. She became a people of wandering feet and like seeds in the wayward wind they were dispersed in all directions to almost every nation under the sun. A few people remained in the land, but she had no temple, no flag, no army, no monetary system, and no parliament. For the next 200 years the Romans occupied the land and in defiance built a pagan temple on the foundation of her temple. Roman soldiers took the Jewish temple apart stone by stone because they were told there was gold between its massive stones. All she had was her religion her language and her marching feet. In 611 Jerusalem was again destroyed by the invading Persians.
The Landless Centuries
To understand Israel today you must understand a little about Islam. The founder of Islam was an Arab; a son of Ishmael named Mohammed.
Remember the Arabs have Abraham as their father but a different mother. The Arabs come from Abraham and his maid Hagar, who had a son named Ishmael, who became the father of 12 princesses. The Jews have Abraham as their father also but a different mother named Sarah. The Jews come from Abraham and his wife Sarah, who had a son named Isaac. The promise of God to Abraham to give him the land of Israel were to Abraham and Sarah and their son Isaac and his son Jacob who had 12 sons who became the 12 tribes or nation of Israel. This is why the Arabs and Jews are fighting cousins to this day. The Arabs say the Land of Israel belongs to them through Ishmael, the Jews say the Land of Israel belongs to the Jews through Isaac. The Bible Agrees with the Jews, the Koran written 1500 years later agrees with the Muslims. . The evidence is certainly in the corner of the Jews who were notoriously famous for keeping accurate translations of their scriptures. There is not evidence that they corrupted them over the centuries.
Islam makes the claim that Mohammed rose from the Temple mount in Jerusalem to heaven and thus makes Jerusalem a holy site for Muslims. Significantly the Jews believe that this same spot was where Abraham went to Offer up Isaac centuries before.
After Mohammed’s death in 632 an army of Arabs, descendents of Ishmael conquered Israel and built a Mosque on the very foundation where Solomon’s temple once stood. The followers of Mohammed ruled the land of Israel for 400 years until it was taken from them by the Christian Crusaders in 1099 eventually the Muslims won it back in 1187.
For the next 700 years it bounced back and forth between the Mamluks of Egypt and the Ottomans of Turkey ruled over it.
A Land for a People without a Land
It wasn’t until the 1800s that a swelling tide began to arise within Jewry to return to what they always considered their Land. Persecution of Jews in Russian and anti-Semitism in Europe gave it the momentum that it needed. Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany wrote, “Jews and mosquitoes are a nuisance that humanity must get rid of in some way or another I believe the best would be gas.”
An Austrian Jew by the name of Theodor Herzl in 1896 founded the Zionist movement with the hope that a Jewish state would end the anti-Semitism that was spreading like a cholera epidemic through a village. When Herzl died the Zionist movement was continued on by Dr. Chaim Weizmann. The Zionists began by buying miles of acreage in Israel. Persecuted Jews from around the world began to immigrate to their homeland. By 1914 when the IWW started they numbered 100,000. It was a slow birth but it was non-other than the providence of God fulfilling His prophetic promise to bring the Jews back to their land.
Near the end of the IWW the British captured Palestine (or what we now call Israel) from the (Ottomans) the Muslim Turks. Because the Turks were in an alliance with Germany this gave the British the right to go in and capture the lands from them which they did under General Allenby. This in itself is an amazing story as Allenby took Jerusalem without firing a shot. In November of 1917 the British government issued the Balfour Declaration which stated the Great Britain favored the establishsment of a ‘national homeland” for the Jewish people. Because the Allies won the war Palestine now came under the jurisdiction of the British who favored Jewish immigration. Vast areas of Palestine that had been uninhabited and uncultivated for centuries began to blossom like a rose. The oil rich Arabs who had controlled the land for a thousand years and did nothing with it began to protest the immigration and the British succumbed and cut of all further immigration. Blood began to flow as one side fought the other.
In the decades before the IIWW immigration to Palestine began to pick up again. But when the war actually began, politics began to rear its ugly head again and Jewish immigration was virtually stopped. How Sad, for this left thousands of Jews trapped in Europe unable to immigrate to Palestine and having to Hitler’s ethnic cleansing crusade. Like the rivers of blood that flowed down the altars of the Aztecs, 6 million Jews died in concentration camps. Here is one of the darkest reddest stains on all of human history, a stain that leaves Germany ashamed to this day.
But God can cause even the wrath of man to praise Him. What men mean for evil God can bring good out of it. The Jewish world community now had the ear and the sympathy of the world on its side. President of the USA Harry Truman immediately after the war convinced the British to allow one hundred thousand Jews living in European refugee camps to immigrate to Palestine. On November 29, 1947 shortly after the Holocaust the United Nations with a vote of 33 to 13 declared Israel a Nation. It was such a colossal victory; why even the Russians voted in its favor. It was ancient prophecy fulfilled in modern times.
The Prophecy of Isaiah 66:8 come to mind:
“Who has heard such a thing?
Who has seen such things?
Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day?
Or shall a nation be born at once?
For as soon as Zion was in labor,
She gave birth to her children.”
“He will set up a banner for the nations,
And will assemble the outcasts of Israel,
And gather together the dispersed of Judah
From the four corners of the earth.”
After the United Nations authoritatively recognized Israel as a new nation of the world; Israel some six months later on May 14, 1948 officially declared itself a constitutional democratic nation on the world stage. The very next day, May 15, 1948, Israel was attacked on all sides by armies representing Arab League countries. Their objective was to kill Israel in its cradle like Herod tried to kill Jesus in the cradle. Miraculously Israel soundly defeated them against innumerable odds. It was as awesome as David defeating Goliath. But winning round one does not win you the fight.
In 1956 eight years later Israel was fighting for its very survival again. Again, it was a smack down for Israel. In 1967 what has become known as “The Six day War,” broke out. In one of the greatest victories in all of military history Israel soundly defeated the allies of Syria, Egypt and Jordan. Again, it was like a light weight defeating a heavy weight. In 1973 what is now referred to as the “Yom Kippur War,” Egypt and Syria made a surprise joint attack on Israel. This one was close. Israel was found sleeping at the switch: America had to come to Prime Minister Golda Meir’ rescue. But thankfully Israel prevailed. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs have become displaced and now live in refugee camps throughout the Middle East. From this infested squalor suicide bombers and terrorists are born.
Who Does The Land Belong To?
Well ultimately God owns it. He has the right to bestow “land rights.” He has the right to set all boundaries.
“The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me.” (Leviticus 25:23)
There is no doubt about it God gave the land of Israel to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Sarah, Abraham’s wife made a mess of it all because she became impatient and thought she could help God out. After all, in the natural scheme of things she was past her time of childbearing and God did say that she was going to have descendents. So rising to the rescue she suggested that Abraham have a son through her maid Hagar. Problem was that although Hagar gave birth to a son from Abraham named Ishmael God rejected him as heir to the land of Israel. Fourteen years later in her old age she miraculously gave birth to a son from her own womb named Isaac whom God said would be the descendent to whom he would give the land. That’s the impasse that we are facing in the Middle East today.
The only person who can stop the bleeding here is Jesus Christ. It will happen when he returns and to Jerusalem and his feet touch down at the Mount of Olives. I know this is not world history from a secular point of view. But historians often do not understand the times in which they live. They missed the first coming and most have no idea about His coming again.
One day Jesus will return and set up his kingdom on earth. That is where history is headed.
Psalm 122:6, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May they prosper who love you.”
The name Jerusalem means Peace. And one day when the Prince of Peace returns to Jerusalem, he will bring peace to the rest of the world.
“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD’s house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:2-4)
(Thanks for hanging in there! Hope you found this helpful.)