Sunday, May 8, 2011

Palestine, Schmalestine

Israel, Palestine... do you ever wonder what all the fuss is about?  The tiny nation no bigger than New Jersey is the most contested piece of real estate on the planet.  The media often portrays Israel as this big, mean entity that just doesn't want to share its land with  the Arab "Palestinians."  What is really going on?  Where does the name "Palestine" come from, anyway?  The answer might surprise you.  It sure surprised me!

Jerusalem fell in 70 AD, and most, but not all, Jewish people were driven from the land.  In the second century, Simon bar Kochba led a revolt against Rome that caused Rome to sweep in and drive out every last Jewish person from the land, and they were forbidden to return.  The emperor Hadrian renamed the country "Palestine" after Israel's ancient enemies, the Philistines, who no longer existed as a nation.  He re-named Jerusalem Aelia Capitolina (after his family name) and made it a pagan Roman city.

If your bible has a reference section, it probably features a map that says "Palestine in the time of Christ."  Guess what?  There was no such thing!  Palestine was a name given by a ROMAN Emperor over 100 years later!

God promised the land of the Canaanites to Israel in an everlasting covenant with them.  Genesis 13:15 is the first place we find this promise, and it is reiterated many times throughout scripture.  See Ex 32:13. Joshua 14:9, 1 Chronicles 28:8, 2 Chronicles 20:7, Ezra 9:12, a bunch of places in the Psalms, in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel - seventeen in all. 

In Revelation 21, we see the beautiful culmination of this promise, as all things are made new, and the New Jerusalem comes down from heaven and is joined with the new earth. 

Satan knows the story and is doing all he can to foil God's plans.  He causes whole nations to despise God's chosen people, and incites them to try and wipe Israel off the map.  It is the only logical explanation as to why so many would hate this tiny nation.   Too bad they won't succeed; God's word says so.

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