Understanding Bible History Pt 9: The Proximity of Israel’s Final Restoration
Updated 1 July 2020
"Thus says your Lord,
The Lord and your God,
Who pleads the cause of His people:
“See, I have taken out of your hand
The cup of trembling,
The dregs of the cup of My fury;
You shall no longer drink it.
23 But I will put it into the hand of those who afflict you,
Who have said to you,
‘Lie down, that we may walk over you." (Isaiah 52)
2 “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem.3 And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it" (Zechariah 12)
The Bible is the main source of the historical information as well as archaeology that we have today of Israel, the land and the people. The proximity of Israel’s Final Restoration began when Israel became a nation in 1948 and since then it has become God's Prophetic Time Clock for the end times.
Israel scattered among the nations - people without a homeland
The Jews were warned repeatedly that they would be dispersed worldwide if they were not faithful to their covenant with God. Consider the words of Moses: “The Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other…” (Deuteronomy 28:64; see also Leviticus 26:33). The Lord also warned the Jews that they would be persecuted wherever they went. Again, the words of Moses are graphic in this regard: “And among those nations you shall find no rest, and there shall be no resting place for the sole of your foot; but there the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing of eyes, and despair of soul” (Deuteronomy 28:65). God promised that after their dispersion, their land would become “desolate” and their cities would become “waste” (Leviticus 26:33). Moses put it more graphically when he said, “the foreigner who comes from a distant land…will say, ‘All its land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass grows in it'” (Deuteronomy 29:22-23). As prophesied, everywhere they went they were persecuted, with their persecution leading to the Nazi Holocaust of World War II, where 6 million Jews died.
From the first the Council of Nicea, convened in the Bithynian city of Nicaea by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325, that rejected the Jewish roots of Christian faith, Christian theologians began to teach that the Jews held sole responsibility for the death of Christ, justifying their anti-Semitism and forcing Jews to convert or suffer the consequences. The Jews were declared “guilty” of the crime of “the murder of God”. Christians came to believe that a way of showing their loyalty to Jesus was to express their hatred toward the Lord’s “murderers”, ignoring the debt we owe to Jewish the people. Church history is littered with the views of “church fathers”.
Augustine declared: “How hateful to me are the enemies of your Scripture! How I wish that you would slay them (the Jews) with your two-edged sword, so that there should be none to oppose your word! Gladly would I have them die to themselves and live to you!”. John Chrysostrom: “The synagogue is worse than a brothel…it is the den of scoundrels and the repair of wild beasts…the temple of demons devoted to idolatrous cults…the refuge of brigands and dabauchees, and the cavern of devils. It is a criminal assembly of Jews…a place of meeting for the assassins of Christ… a house worse than a drinking shop…a den of thieves, a house of ill fame, a dwelling of iniquity, the refuge of devils, a gulf and a abyss of perdition."…"I would say the same things about their souls… As for me, I hate the synagogue…I hate the Jews for the same reason.”
Martin Luther, in his pamphlet On the Jews and Their Lies, published in Wittenberg, 1543, he wrote: ““First their synagogues should be set on fire and whatever is left be buried in the dirt so that no one may be able to see a stone or cinder from it … Jewish prayer books should be destroyed … then the Jewish people should be dealt with, their homes smashed and destroyed. Jews should be banned from the roads and markets, should be drafted into forced labor and made to earn their bread ‘by the sweat of their noses’...””
““They live by evil and plunder; they are wicked beasts that ought to be driven out like mad dogs.””
““In the last resort they should be kicked out ‘for all time’.”
When the Jews began to return from the nations of the world at the end of the last century, the land was barren and sparsely inhabited. In the 1860s, the author, Mark Twain, traveled in what was then a backward region of the Ottoman Turkish Empire, called Palestine and described the land, thusly: "Nowhere in all the waste around was there a foot of shade." He called the land a "blistering, naked, treeless land." Of the Galilee, he said, "There is no dew, nor flowers, nor birds, nor trees. There is a plain and an unshaded lake, and beyond them some barren mountains." His summary of Palestine: "Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, I think Palestine must be the prince. The hills are barren, they are dull of color, they are unpicturesque in shape. It is a hopeless, dreary, heartbroken land."
But a change was coming, God was preparing His land and people. “8 But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are about to come. 9 For indeed I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. 10 I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt.” (Ezekiel 36: 8- 10).
The correlation of Theodore Herzl's vision of a state of Israel, the timeline of this vision becoming a reality, and the awakening of Christian leaders by forming ministries like Prophecy Investigation Society, is truly awesome.
Herzl writes in Der Judenstaat writes:
"The Jewish question persists wherever Jews live in appreciable numbers. Wherever it does not exist, it is brought in together with Jewish immigrants. We are naturally drawn into those places where we are not persecuted, and our appearance there gives rise to persecution. This is the case, and will inevitably be so, everywhere, even in highly civilised countries—see, for instance, France—so long as the Jewish question is not solved on the political level."[Herzl,Der Judenstaat, cited by C.D. Smith,Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 2001, 4th ed., p. 53]
The book concludes:
Therefore I believe that a wondrous generation of Jews will spring into existence. The Maccabeans will rise again. Let me repeat once more my opening words: The Jews who wish for a State will have it. We shall live at last as free men on our own soil, and die peacefully in our own homes. The world will be freed by our liberty, enriched by our wealth, magnified by our greatness. And whatever we attempt there to accomplish for our own welfare, will react powerfully and beneficially for the good of humanity. The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Jewish State, by Theodor Herzl.gutenberg.org. 2 May 2008.
Prior to the 1922 British Mandate, a number of key events took place to bring the Jews back to their land. Theodore Herzl, of whom Israel's Declaration of Independence officially refers to as the spiritual father of the Jewish State, convened in 1897 the first Zionist Congress as a symbolic parliament for a tiny minority of Jews who believed the solution to European anti-Semitism was to establish a publicly and legally assured home in Palestine. The year 1897 is considered the beginning of the Zionist movement which ultimately established the State of Israel.
The notion that the Jews will one day return to their land was foretold by the biblical prophets. The preparation for this started with the Jewish and Christian Zionist Movement. Every now and again, you come across an article that sheds light on significant time in history. The Christian Minister who legitimized Zionism to the World tells the divine intervention that took place between Theodore Herzl (2 May 1860 – 3 July 1904) and the unknown Anglian Vicar, William Hechler (10 January 1845 – 31 January 1931), friend, mentor and legitimizer of Herzl's vision and calling. He is considered the father of Christian Zionism. For years, his greatest pleasure was to study and search—and preach—what the Scriptures say about the promised return. He was convinced this would usher in the Messianic Age and the return of the Messiah. He declared, "It is the duty of every Christian to love the Jews”. He believed the day would come when the Jewish people would accept God's Messiah, but he was convinced that they first had to return home.
He also studied every inch of the physical land of Israel. He collected military maps of Palestine, created charts of ancient locations, and pored over prophetic portions of Scripture as to when the Jews would return to their homeland. His understanding of the "times of the Gentiles fulfilled" meant when Jerusalem would no longer be trampled by the Gentiles, but returned to the Jews. Hechler was ready to give his life to this cause, but there was one major missing component. Where was the leader? Theodore Herzl was that leader and as the leader of the Zionist movement, Theodore Herzl, spoke prophetically in August 1897 that a new State of Israel would rise again after 1900 years of desolation. In 1947, the United Nations, in one of its very few pro-Israel resolutions, voted the State of Israel into existence. Exactly 50 years later.
Many Christians leaders also recognised the momentous events happening across the world and highlighted the prophetic significance of the times. The Prophecy Investigation Society (P.I.S.) was founded on May 24th, 1842, to study biblical prophecy. After several meetings, PIS released their Manifesto to the Press, that reads:
“That the present Crisis points towards the close of the Times of the Gentiles.
That the Revelation of our Lord may be expected at any moment when He will be manifested as evidently as to His disciples on the evening of His resurrection.
That the completed Church will be translated to be ‘for ever with the Lord.’
That Israel will be restored to its own land in unbelief, and be afterwards converted by the Appearance of Christ on its behalf.
That all human schemes of reconstruction must be subsidiary to the Second Coming of the Lord, because all nations will then be subject to His rule.
That, under the reign of Christ, there will be a further great effusion of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh.
That the truths embodied in this statement are of the utmost practical value in determining Christian character and action with reference to the pressing problems of the hour.”, ‘The Significance of the Hour,’ in Advent Testimony Addresses, preface.
The Balfour Declaration, San Remo Agreement and the Holocaust
On November 2, 1917, British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur James Balfour wrote a letter to Lord Walter Rothschild. There are many conflicting reasons as to why the British issued a declaration. The contents of this letter became known as the Balfour Declaration:
“His Majesty’s Government views with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country”.
The San Remo conference was an international meeting of the post-World War I Allied Supreme Council as an outgrowth of the Paris Peace Conference, held at Villa Devachan in Sanremo, Italy, from 19 to 26 April 1920. It involved the allocation of Class "A" League of Nations mandates for administration of the former Ottoman-ruled lands of the Middle East by the victorious powers. This agreement between post-World War I allied powers, Britain, France, Italy, and Japan with the United States as a neutral observer, was adopted on April 25, 1920. During the San Remo Conference, Prime Minister David Lloyd George (Britain), was charged with establishing a "national home for the Jewish people" in Israel or “Palestine”. In 1921, Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill severed nearly four-fifths of Palestine (Jewish land), some 35,000 square miles to create a brand-new Arab entity, Transjordan, this was accomplished by the creation of the Emirate of Trans-Jordan in 1946 (now Jordan).
“Did the Arabs oppose the creation of a Jewish State at San Remo? The answer is a resounding NO!... Let this sink in for a moment: Before the San Remo conference there did not exist a single Arab independent nation state. Not one. All 22 Arab states that exist today (as part of the Arab League) became nation states either as a direct result of the San Remo conference, or much later. Therefore, the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state is exactly equal or greater to the legitimacy of any of the Arab nation states“. Why you should know San Remo? Israel Forever.
These views and judgements on the Jews, going back to centuries, has been the catalyst for the Replacement Theology, and the suffering and persecution of Jews. Instead of persecuting them, we now declare that the Church has replaced them! When the Nazis came to power in Germany, they used the writings of Luther and other theologians to justify their anti-Semitism, starting with the boycott of Jewish businesses. This is why we must stand against the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The infamous Nazi death camp, Dachau, greeted Jews arriving there with a sign that read, ““You are here because you killed our God””. Many are familiar with horrific stories of the Holocaust relating to the massacre of 6 million Jews by the Nazis; poison-gas chambers could accommodate 2,000 at one time, and 12,000 could be gassed and incinerated each day. Dead bodies were picked up and thrown into ditches or collected on trucks to be taken to be burn in incinerators/ovens. Many Jews could have been saved if the UK, during the 30s and 40’s, the US and others countries took decisive actions, when they had the opportunity to do so, but they failed them. After defeating the Germans, on arrival, the Allies came across concentration camps filled with sick and starving prisoners, decomposed skeletons scattered across fields, left naked to die.
11 Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is lost. We are completely cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I will open your graves and make you come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you [back home] to the land of Israel. 13 Then you will know [with confidence] that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves and made you come up out of your graves, My people. 14 I will put My Spirit in you and you will come to life, and I will place you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and fulfilled it,” says the Lord.’” (Ezekiel 37)
During and after World War II, many leaders of the Nazis escaped justice, recruited by the allies, like the Operation Paper Clip, save haven was provided by South American countries through the Catholic church. New evidence of Pope Pius XII’s Knowledge of the Holocaust was revealed in May 2020.
2 “Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. 3 On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it. 4 On that day, declares the Lord, I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. But for the sake of the house of Judah I will keep my eyes open, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. Zechariah 12:2–4 (ESV)
Jerusalem is mentioned more than 800 times in the Old Testament and 142 times in the New Testament including additional references like Zion, and so on. The first mention of Jerusalem in the Bible is found in Genesis 14:18 where we are told that Abraham paid tithes to the King of Salem, Melchizedek, about 2,000 years before the time of Jesus. Historically, the city can be found in Egyptian texts, Amarna letters of Abdi-Heba, dating back to the 19th century BC long before King David conquered the city from the Jebusites and established it as the capital of United Israel.
The Internationalisation of Jerusalem
The US government were not involved in the terms of the British Balfour Declaration of 1917, but stated in 1919 the official policy was to 'acquiesce' in the Balfour Declaration, but not officially support Zionism. On September 21, 1922, the US Congress passed a joint resolution stating its support for a homeland in “Palestine” for the Jewish people but not at the expense of other cultures present at the time. This became the official policy of the US government until 1995.
On November 29, 1947, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 181, which called for the partition of Palestine (Israel) into Jewish and Arab states to be joined by an economic union; it created an internationalized corpus separatum (Latin for 'separated body') or the Jerusalem area, which was to be administered by the UN.
The resolution—which was considered by the Jewish community in Palestine (Israel) to be a legal basis for the establishment of Israel, and which was rejected by the Arab community—was succeeded almost immediately by violence. The terms of the recommendation would have gone into effect if both parties, the Jews and the Arabs, had accepted it. But the Arabs immediately rejected it.
General Assembly resolutions are generally non-binding towards member states, internal resolutions may be binding on the operation of the General Assembly itself, for example with regard to budgetary and procedural matters. Therefore resolution 181 was only a recommendation and not binding in international law. Any claims by Arabs or others today that Israel is bound by Resolution 181 is false.
When independence was declared in 1948, armies from five neighbouring Arab states invaded Israel. However, at no point did the UN, which claimed jurisdiction over Jerusalem, act to counter this illegal invasion as it impacted the city. During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, Israel took control of West Jerusalem while Jordan took control of East Jerusalem (including the walled Old City in which most holy places are located).
Near the end of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, War of Independence, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 194 on December 11, 1948. This Resolution did not grant any legal or other right of return for displaced Arab refugees. It stated, in its eleventh paragraph: “Refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.” Since this did not specify Arab refugees only, it is considered to be equally applicable to Jewish refugees also. Moreover, Resolution 194 of 1948 conditioned any consideration of the return of Arab refugees on their willingness to “live at peace with their neighbors.”
David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, declared in the Knesset on December 5, 1949: “We are no longer morally bound by the U.N. resolution of November 29, since the U.N. was unable to implement it. In our opinion the decision of 29 November regarding Jerusalem is null and void.” Therefore, the division of Jerusalem is not legal and at the end of the War of Independence in 1949, Israel held western Jerusalem.
Following the war of Israel’s Independence in 1949, arrangements were started for the Knesset (Israel Parliament) to meet in Jerusalem. By the end of 1949, the transition was made from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. On December 13, 1949, Ben Gurion told the Knesset that:
“…for the State of Israel there has always been and always will be one capital only – Jerusalem the Eternal. Thus it was 3,000 years ago – and thus it will be, we believe, until the end of time.” On January 23, 1950, the Knesset passed a resolution proclaiming Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
On June 6, 1967, the Six-Day War began. On June 7, the Jordanian-controlled part of Jerusalem was taken by Israeli forces. The war ended with a cease-fire on June 11, 1967. The Status of Jerusalem in International Law according to the UN Resolution 181 is therefore null and void, and especially since Israel gained control of both parts of the city after Jordan and other Arab states declared war upon it in May 1948 and in June 1967 respectively.
Israeli–Palestinian Peace Process
The Israeli–Palestinian peace process refers to the intermittent discussions held by various parties and proposals put forward in an attempt to resolve the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Since the 1970s, there has been a parallel effort made to find terms upon which peace can be agreed to in both the Arab–Israeli conflict and in the Palestinian–Israeli conflict. Some countries have signed peace treaties, such as the Egypt–Israel (1979) and Jordan–Israel (1994) treaties, whereas some have not yet found a mutual basis to do so.
One such treaty was the Israel–Jordan peace treaty also known as Peres–Hussein London Agreement. In the late 1980s, as Israeli Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, entered into a secret agreement with Jordan’s King Hussein. The Agreement was signed on April 11, 1987 in the presence of Jordanian Prime Minister Zaid al-Rifai and Yossi Beilin. The Agreement set forth a framework for a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict based on United Nations Security Council Resolutions 224 and 338. The details were to be worked out at a U.N. hosted conference, with the understanding that no solution would be imposed on Israel and the Palestinians by outside parties. It also called for the renunciation of terrorism and violence. But then-Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir cast a critical eye over the terms and refused to approve the agreement.
Following the U.S. victory in the Gulf War, February 28, 1991, President George H. W. Bush told Congress on March 6, 1991, “The time has come to put an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict”. Bush’s declaration was followed by months of international conferences with all parties related to the Israeli-Arab conflict which paved the way for the Madrid Conference. This was the starting point for bilateral and international talks between Israel, under Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, (who insisted on participating even though the conference was mainly attended by foreign ministers), Palestinians as well as Arab countries, including Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. It was hosted by Spain and co-sponsored by the United States and the Soviet Union, the USSR collapsed later that year in December 1991.
The Oslo Accord
The Oslo Accords are a set of agreements between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO): the Oslo I Accord, signed in Washington, D.C., in 1993; and the Oslo II Accord, signed in Taba, Egypt, in 1995.. The Oslo Accords marked the start of the Oslo process, a peace process aimed at achieving a peace treaty based on United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, and at fulfilling the "right of the Palestinian people to self-determination."
The Oslo I Accord negotiations were conducted secretly in Oslo, Norway, the delegations had reached an agreement, which was signed in secrecy by Shimon Peres, completed on 20 August 1993. PLO negotiator Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres signed the document on 13 September 1993 – for their respective sides at a ceremony on the White House lawn, witnessed by President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. The Agreement meant withdrawal of Israeli forces from parts of the Gaza Strip and West Bank, Palestinian Authority to govern and be responsible for the administration of the territories and its population for a 5 year term, after which more land will transfer. To learn more about the pre and post agreement fallout, especially the role Shimon Peres played see here, here, here, here and here.
Oslo II Accord of September 1995 advanced agreements on security issues, Palestinian elections, transfer of land, transfer of civil power from Israel to the PA, trade conditions and release of Palestinian prisoners.
At the end of Joshua's life God showed that Gaza (Joshua 15:45-47) and the associated region was part of the land promised to Israel and it was divided by lot to Judah and the “West Bank” is Judea and Samaria, again belong to Israel as part of God’s covenant.
US Policy on Israel - The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995
Shimon Peres, leader of the Labor Party, became prime minister in 1995 after Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Jewish extremist. Rabin was disparaged personally by conservatives and Likud leaders who perceived the Oslo peace process as an attempt to forfeit the occupied territories and a capitulation to Israel's enemies.
Under the Accords, the status of Jerusalem is to be determined only within the framework of future negotiations on a permanent settlement; until then Jerusalem is to remain outside the realm of Palestinian government, and the Palestinian Authority is prohibited from maintaining its institutions there.
During Bill Clinton Administration’s, when the Republicans controlled Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate, from 1995 to 2001, passed a law, the Jerusalem Embassy Act on October 23, 1995. The Act recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, called for Jerusalem to remain undivided city and the relocation of the Embassy of the United States from its location in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, by May 31, 1999. However, President Bill Clinton would not implement it during his time in office and in light of the Clinton administration’s firm objection and threats to veto the law, a clause in the law was added that allowed United States Presidents to issue and then renew a 6-month waiver on undertaking the move.
Interestingly, 1995 was a very special Jewish new year designated by the government of Israel as the 3,000th anniversary of the conquest of the city of Jerusalem by King David.
Hamas and other Palestinian rejectionist groups did not accept Oslo and launched suicide bomb attacks on Israelis and there was opposition within Israel from settler-led groups. Oslo was only partially implemented.
20 January 1996 - Palestinian general elections comprised of Palestine Liberation Organization, which was headed by Yassir Arafat, Fatah and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), a Palestinian Marxist–Leninist–Maoist, secular political and militant organization. The Islamist Hamas, Fatah's main rival, refused to participate in the election. Following the elections, a government was formed, headed by the President of the Palestinian National Authority, Yasser Arafat.
May 5, 1996 – Negotiations open for the final stage of the Mideast Peace Talks
May 29, 1996 – 1999: Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu narrowly defeats Peres in election to become Prime Minister.
Camp David, 2000
Various attempts were made (including at Taba in 1995, Wye River in 1998 and Sharm el-Sheikh in 1999) to speed up the withdrawal and self-government provisions of Oslo. Arafat rejected Israel’s US-supported offer of peace. The failure at Camp David was followed by a renewal of the Palestinian uprising or intifada.
30 April 2003 - The Roadmap is composed of three phases: I. Satisfy the preconditions for a Palestinian state; II. Creating an independent Palestinian state with provisional borders; III. Negotiations on a permanent status agreement, recognition of a Palestinian state with permanent borders and end of conflict. The plan was finally published on 30 April 2003, the day after the invasion phase of the Iraq War ended.
In November 2003, the United Nations Security Council endorsed the Roadmap in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1515 which called for an end to all violence including "terrorism, provocation, incitement and destruction". By the end of 2003, the Palestinian Authority had not prevented Palestinian terrorism, and Israel had neither withdrawn from Palestinian areas occupied since 28 September 2000, nor frozen settlement expansion. Thus, the requirements of Phase I of the Roadmap were not fulfilled, and the Roadmap has not continued further. It eventually reached deadlock. In 2004, the "peace process" was still overshadowed by the Second Intifada which started in September 2000 which continued until the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit on 8 February 2005.
August 15, 2005 - The Israeli disengagement from Gaza was initiated adopted as a proposal by the Israel Labor Party, led by Amram Mitzna, during the 2003 election campaign, that meant if negotiations with the Palestinians fail, Israel will withdraw unilaterally from the Gaza strip and perhaps from parts of the West Bank, and try to live its life behind the security barrier. Ariel Sharon and the Likud damned this proposal as defeatism, but toward the end of 2003, Sharon himself announced that he was drawing up a unilateral withdrawal plan, to be carried out "in 6 months" (a date later postponed) to evict by force all Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip and some settlements in the West Bank.
After his election, US President Barack Obama, was quick to try to restart the peace process in Washington, 2010. US negotiators subsequently failed to persuade Mr Netanyahu's coalition government to renew the moratorium, or to convince Mr Abbas to resume negotiations without an end to all settlement activities. All peace talks came to an end until the election of President Donald Trump.
On December 23, 2016 - Obama administration was the first since 1967 to block UN Security Council resolutions against Israel, surprisingly abstaining. The UN Security Council adopted a resolution 2334 regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, condemning settlements and calling for all settlement construction to cease. It also called for further labelling of goods made in Israel and those made in settlements, which is the antisemitic policy promoted by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. Obviously, the news came as a shock to Jews, Christians and the Israelis government but it was welcomed by the world and anti-Zionists groups. This was Obama’s last term, an act he committed in December, before Christmas, few days before the Trump administration took office. To many, it was planned and spiteful.
There has been many peace plans and many negotiations between Israel, Palestinians and their neighbours, sponsored by the US, and the Middle East Quartet (United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia). Some of these have been successful, including those between Egypt and Israel, and Israel and Jordan, but no plan has so far succeeded in ending the Arab-Israeli or Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. In 2014, Tony Blair, official envoy of the Middle East Quartet, as well as “leading international figures” interfered in the 2015 Israeli with the hope of unseating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by creating a collation between the Zion Union, Israeli Labor Party and Hatnuah. Netanyahu, declared victory in the election, with Likud picking up the highest number of votes. President Reuven Rivlin granted Netanyahu an extension until 6 May 2015 to build a coalition when one had not been finalized in the first four weeks of negotiations. He formed a coalition government within two hours of the midnight 6 May deadline.
US Elections and Israel
It is important to establish that President Trump was not the only American President who promised to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital during an election. During the 1992 presidential election, Bill Clinton promised that his administration would "support Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel" and criticized President George H. W. Bush for having "repeatedly challenged Israel’s sovereignty over a united Jerusalem." However, after the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the Clinton administration did not proceed with their plans in order not to disturb the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Over the years, during US elections, many candidates from both parties declared their support for Israel. Interestingly, these presidents and others, like McCain, continued to make promises to win the Jewish votes by promising to move the embassy or stating that they recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, only to sign the waiver during their presidency. One such senator was Bob Dole who had lot to gain when he introduced to co-sponsored the Jerusalem Embassy Act. For in 1996, the Senator decided to run for presidency.
In 2000 George W. Bush is filmed saying: "As soon as I take office, I will move the United States ambassador to the city Israel has chosen as its capital." Barack Obama also stated, when he spoke at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington, during the 2008 election: "I continue to say that Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel.” Both Bush and Obama chose words that implied but not stated that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
President Trump signed the embassy waiver on June 1, 2017. The White House meanwhile stated that it did not represent a weakening of his support for Israel. It added that he stood by his promise of moving the embassy. On December 6, 2017, President Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and ordered the State Department to begin planning for the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem immediately.
Since, President Donald Trump was elected, with all the pomposity of his campaign and unlike previous Presidents, he has surpassed all expectations relating to Israel:
December 2017: Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
January 2018: Partial freezing of UNRWA funds
May 2018: Inauguration of US embassy in Jerusalem
August 2018: Cut all US funding to UNRWA
September 2018: Closure of PLO mission in DC
February 2019: End of USAID funding to the PA
March 2019: Recognition of annexed Golan Heights
June 2019: Release of the economic plan
November 2019: Recognition of settlements as no longer illegal
The Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People
The legislation essentially defines Israel first and foremost as a Jewish state.
The Nation-State bill was first submitted in 2009-2010 by various Knesset members including the Kadima party’s Avi Dichter, who had sourced the idea from the Institute for Zionist Strategies, an Israeli policy and research think tank with the goal of preserving Israel as “a viable, democratic Jewish state.” In the early hours of Thursday 19 July 2018, following months of controversy and nearly seven years of heated debate, the Israeli Knesset passed a sweeping law reserving the right to self-determination exclusively for the Jews. The “nation-state” bill, as it has become known, was passed by a relatively slim margin (62-55).
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who championed the measure from its early stages, spoke shortly after the vote: “This is our country, the Jewish state. In recent years there have been those who have tried to undermine that and question the principles of our existence. Today we made it into law: This is the country, the language, the anthem and flag."
The legislation quite literally enshrines Israel as the nation-state of only the Jews, Hebrew as its only official language, Hatikva as its only national anthem, and the Star of David flag and menorah as its national symbols. Israel's status as a Jewish state is politically controversial and has long been debated. Before now, it has not been enshrined in law.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called its passage a:
"historic moment in the history of Zionism and the history of the state of Israel."
"Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people, which honors the individual rights of all its citizens," he said. "I repeat this is our state. The Jewish state."
"Lately, there are people who are trying to destabilize this and therefore destabilize the foundations of our existence and our rights," he added. "So today we have made a law in stone. This is our country. This is our language. This is our anthem and this is our flag. Long live the state of Israel."
The reaction to the nation-state bill had angered and outraged the liberal Jews, Israeli-Arabs, International Communities and the Arab world. But that is not surprising since anything Israel does always creates an outrage. This bill has been discussed and debated for many years and the desire for the Israeli government to push through this bill against all opposition is very telling. There has been huge awakening in Israel to claim sovereignty over the land and the desire for a central place of worship. The latter is confirmed by the number of Jews visiting the Temple Mount even with restrictions imposed on them. This sense of pride is expressed by David M. Weinberg’s article:
“At some deep level, I sense that the drive to pass the law and the growing appeal of sophisticated Bible study stem from a similar profound place: a desire to entrench our roots in this land.
Of course, the Jewish people’s right to live in its homeland like other nations should be obvious and self-evident. But the State of Israel’s identification with Jewish nationhood is today under attack from large parts of the international community, and from Israeli Arabs, Palestinians, post-Zionist Jews, and anti-Jewish Jews.
Therefore, Jewish self-determination in the Land of Israel and the Jewish character of Israel needed to be enshrined in constitutional form – in a Basic Law. And our communal-societal identity needs to be reinforced by recourse to the wisdom of the Bible.
As David Ben-Gurion once said: “The (British) mandate is not our bible. The Bible is our mandate.” Or as Menachem Begin proclaimed: “The Jewish people have returned to the Land of Israel not by the right of force, but by force of right.”
The Bill was influenced by concerns over several developments inside and outside the country. These concerns were:
The increasing denial of Israel’s status as a Jewish state
“post-Zionists repudiated the idea of a ‘Jewish state’ and sought to transform the country into a ‘state of all its citizens’ by stripping it of any connection to Jewish history, peoplehood, or symbolism.
Palestinians and their supporters have refused to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Delegitimize Israel through the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign and specious comparisons to the racist regime in South Africa (which have also been inaccurately applied to the new law).
The law’s enactment also came a month after three Arab MKs proposed a law that would have turned Israel into a binational rather than a Jewish state. It would have resulted in the cancellation of the Law of Return and discarding the state’s Jewish symbols.
The Bill stipulates:
1 — Basic principles
a. The land of Israel is the historical homeland of the Jewish people, in which the State of Israel was established.
b. The State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which it fulfills its natural, cultural, religious and historical right to self-determination.
c. The right to exercise national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people.
2 — The symbols of the state
a. The name of the state is “Israel.”
b. The state flag is white with two blue stripes near the edges and a blue Star of David in the center.
c. The state emblem is a seven-branched menorah with olive leaves on both sides and the word “Israel” beneath it.
d. The state anthem is “Hatikvah.”
e. Details regarding state symbols will be determined by the law.
3 — The capital of the state
Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.
4 — Language
a. The state’s language is Hebrew.
b. The Arabic language has a special status in the state; Regulating the use of Arabic in state institutions or by them will be set in law.
c. This clause does not harm the status given to the Arabic language before this law came into effect.
5 — Ingathering of the exiles
The state will be open for Jewish immigration and the ingathering of exiles
6 — Connection to the Jewish people
a. The state will strive to ensure the safety of the members of the Jewish people in trouble or in captivity due to the fact of their Jewishness or their citizenship.
b. The state shall act within the Diaspora to strengthen the affinity between the state and members of the Jewish people.
c. The state shall act to preserve the cultural, historical and religious heritage of the Jewish people among Jews in the Diaspora.
7 — Jewish settlement
a. The state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation.
8 — Official calendar
The Hebrew calendar is the official calendar of the state and alongside it the Gregorian calendar will be used as an official calendar. Use of the Hebrew calendar and the Gregorian calendar will be determined by law.
9 — Independence Day and memorial days
a. Independence Day is the official national holiday of the state.
b. Memorial Day for the Fallen in Israel’s Wars and Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day are official memorial days of the State.
10 — Days of rest and sabbath
The Sabbath and the festivals of Israel are the established days of rest in the state; Non-Jews have a right to maintain days of rest on their Sabbaths and festivals; Details of this issue will be determined by law.
11 — Immutability
This Basic Law shall not be amended, unless by another Basic Law passed by a majority of Knesset members.
The Significance of Recent Events in Israel
“Who has heard of such a thing? Who has seen such things?
Can a land be born in one day?
Or can a nation be brought forth in a moment?
As soon as Zion was in labor, she also brought forth her sons. (Isaiah 66:8 Amplified Bible)
The official opening of the US embassy coincided with the 70th anniversary of the Israeli Declaration of Independence, when Israel was officially recognised as a nation on 14 May 1948. All eyes were once again focused on Jerusalem - the international community condemned the action, the UN debated for two weeks and adopted resolutions, demonstrations took place in Muslim countries and as expected the media was in uproar, but it was mild compared to the months of violence and demonstrations they predicted.
I was watching the announcement of Israel’s Nation-State Bill (19 July 2018). The main stream media created the usual mass hysteria and at the same time lit the flame by predicting violence over this decision and Trump’s recognition of Israel. It was during this time, I took the time to reflect on the news. It reminded me of the events in the post-exilic books of Esther, Ezra and Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. The similarities are:
The exiles return marked by opposition but favoured by a gentile king: Israel returns with the support of brave leaders, but are plagued by UN resolutions.
Return from exile after 70 years: - Israel celebrates 70 years of the rebirth of the nation after nearly 2,000 years of being scattered and exiled in the four corners of the earth. The state of the Jews, their temple and the ruins they were returning to in Ezra and Nehemiah is very much like when the Jews were in parts returning from exile from 1860s to 1948.
Exiles started rebuilding the altar and preparing the foundation of the temple: - turning point for Israel religious awakening was the 1967 war. Out of this victorious war emerged two leaders, who were energised to form two separate organisations, the Temple Institute and the The Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement. Through these organisations all that is necessary to build the Temple has been constructed including over ninety ritual items to be used in the Temple have been made, a school for group of students, certified as being from the priestly caste (kohanim), has been established to learn how to perform the Temple Service. The creation of the sacred uniform of the Kohen Gadol, the High Priest, and the ordinary priests, High Priest's Hoshen (breastplate) and Ephod, Tzitz, the golden crown of the High Priest and the garments for the lay priests has been completed. Unfortunately, it will become the seat of the antichrist for a time.
During this period hostile agents stopped the work: - Israel forced to give up land and remove settlements.
Exiles under gentile power: - Jerusalem is defined as an international city. United Nations General Assembly Resolution 58/292 of 6 May 2004 affirmed that the Palestinian people have the right to sovereignty over East Jerusalem. On October 13, 2004, the Sanhedrin Council of the Jewish nation was reconstituted for the first time in 1,600 years.
Ezra accomplished the spiritual establishment and identity: - Like the book of Esther, God is not mentioned in Israel’s Nation-state Bill, but implied. There has been a renewed push among Jewish religious and political leaders to have The Temple, contrary to political conditions. For the first time, there are leaders in the Knesset lobbying the government and the Trump’s Administration to make this happen or lease gain better access. But at least the status quo is changing.
Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan - Unveiled
The plan was unveiled on 28 January 2020. The Trump peace plan, also known as the Deal of the Century, is a proposal by the Trump Administration to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. The plan was authored by a team led by Senior Advisor to the President of the United States Jared Kushner (Trump’s son-in-law), ambassador David Friedman and others. The development of the Middle East Peace Plan started in November 2017. The plan is divided into two parts, an economic portion and a political portion, essentially the latter deals with the land. I posted articles that went into detail about the plan and how I felt that Christians and Conservatives were being conditioned to support the deal even though the land was being divided with the creation of a Palestinian State in Jerusalem.
Couple of relevant opinion pieces published by Israeli newspapers:
A militarized Palestinian state on Israel's doorstep would be a liability - It is absolutely beyond the pale for Israel to make any commitment, even conditional, to upgrade the Palestinian Authority into a state. A few Israeli writers have been advising the Israeli Right not to fear Trump’s peace plan. Don’t be “purists,” they urge. Don’t worry so much about the Palestinian state component. The Palestinians will say no for us, or will fail to comply with conditions. These writers are quite wrong about this, whereas Israelis courageously opposing the Trump-Netanyahu wink to future “state” status for the Palestinian Authority are quite right.
The existential threat of a Palestinian state - What happens when a president who is the greatest-ever friend to Israel proposes a Palestinian state? How is the US Jewish community in general, and the State of Israel in particular, to respond to an American head of state whose dedication to Israel’s security has no precedent, but whose plans involve fundamental risks to Israel’s future? That is the conundrum facing people like me for whom US President Donald Trump on Israel has exceeded all expectations but whose peace plan presents potential perils…… Let me be clear. This is by far the best peace plan devised thus far…. But the elephant in the room is still the Palestinian state…..But all of these benefits do not counter the one great flaw of the plan, which is to acknowledge that Judea and Samaria – the ancient biblical heartland of the Jewish people where 80% of biblical events took place – does not belong to the Jews. And once you deny Jewish ownership of Hebron, Shiloh or Eli, you open the Pandora’s box to the antisemitic argument that neither Jerusalem, Beersheba or Haifa belong to us either.
The Big Lie
In the five centuries following the Bar Kokhba revolt in the 2nd century, the city remained under Roman then the Byzantine Empire. During the 4th century, the Roman Emperor Constantine I constructed Christian sites in Jerusalem such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
For this section, please refer to my articles the Roman Empire and Europe, Jesus, Christians and the Roman World. The Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians were not the first to deny the existence of Jews in their land. This lie has continued since the creation of Islam by Mohammed and has been supported by world powers since, but especially since the the 6-day war, when Israel recaptured Jerusalem. Every time is now been made to erase historical ties of the Jewish people to the region.
With the decline of the Byzantine Empire, Jerusalem was conquered by the Arab armies of Umar ibn al-Khattab in 638 BC¹. Among the first Muslims, it was referred to as Madinat bayt al-Maqdis ("City of the Temple")² a name restricted to the Temple Mount. The rest of the city "... was called Iliya, reflecting the Roman name given the city following the destruction of 70 CE: Aelia Capitolina". ³Later the Temple Mount became known as al-Haram al-Sharif, "The Noble Sanctuary", while the city around it became known as Bayt al-Maqdis, ⁴and later still, al-Quds al-Sharif "The Holy, Noble".
As well as history and archaeology repudiating this big lie, we have a guide book issued in 1924 by Haj Amin al-Husseini, President of the Supreme Muslim Council (1922-1937) and Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (1921-1948), that states: "The site is one of the oldest in the world. Its sanctity dates from the earliest (perhaps from pre-historic) times. Its identity with the site of Solomon's Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on which 'David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.' A direct quote from 2 Samuel 24:25.
The same material was printed in every Temple Mount Guide from 1922 (first edition) until 1953. In 1954 everything was revised, with information about Herod’s Temple replacing information about Solomon’s Temple. In the following years, the lie has become more elaborate.
The Vatican Holy See, the home of the Catholic Church, is recognized as a country with its own laws, banks, etc and is legally recognized as an “permanent observer” at the UN. It has both voice and vote. On 11 February 1948, the Holy See created the office of Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine, with jurisdiction over Palestine, Transjordania (now Jordan), and Cyprus. (David M. Cheney. "Jerusalem and Palestine (Delegation) [Catholic-Hierarchy])
Many believe that the Catholic has no “political” interest in Israel, but the Church sees itself as the “Spiritual Israel” and are oppose to anything less than two-state solution. It took the Vatican over 40 years, in 1993, to recognize Israel as a “nation” ignoring the UN mandate in 1947 and it was only as part of the Oslo Framework of Peace, pushed by the US and Shimon Peres, and in turn Israel signed an agreement with the Vatican. Yet, after a UN resolution in 2012, the Vatican church recognized Palestine as the “as a state” although none of the Western powers did except Sweden and, of course, Muslim and African countries. They explained this decision was based on UN recognition of the PLO but the UN recognized the PLO as an Observer not a member state contrary to what the Vatican stated: "The Holy See has identified the State of Palestine as such since the vote" by the UN general assembly to recognize it in November 2012, said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi. In 2015, Pope Francis made this recognition legal by signing a Treaty with the Palestinians and refused to disclose details of the Treaty.
In May 2014 Pope Francis visited Jerusalem. One of the the shocking moment of the trip was the Sunday Mass: “During his trip, Pope Francis attended mass and prayed with Fouad Twal, a Palestinian archbishop, who leads the Catholic Church’s Latin patriarch of Jerusalem. “In his sermon, Twal accused Israelis of being the present-day version of Christ-killers by referring to the Palestinians as walking in the footsteps of the divine child, and likening the Israelis to King Herod. In his words, ‘We are not yet done with the present-day Herods who fear peace more than war, and who are prepared to continue killing’”
What did the pope do after hearing these violent and outrageous words? Not only did he not condemn them, he added to them! “Who are we as we stand before the child Jesus? Who are we standing as we are before today’s children?” the pope asked. “Are we like Mary and Joseph, who welcomed Jesus and cared for Him with the love of a father and a mother? Or are we like Herod, who wanted to eliminate Him?”
In 1965 Vatican Council II, which also produced the “reformist” Nostre Aetate, described, "the Church [as] the new people of God." This was reaffirmed in the October, 2010 closing statement of the Special Synod of Bishops for the Middle-East: “We Christians cannot speak of the ‘promised land’ as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people. This promise was nullified by Christ... In the kingdom of God… there is no longer a chosen people”
Jerusalem, Jordan and the Jews
King Abdullah II, descendent of the Hashemites, also House of Hashim, represents the royal family of Jordan, ruling since 1921. They claim to descent from the Islamic prophet, Mohammed. The Hashemite dynasty itself is named after Mohammed's great grandfather, Hashim. The Temple Mount, in the Old City, has been controlled by Israel since 1967. After the Six-Day War, Israel handed administration of the site back to the Waqf under Jordanian custodianship, while maintaining Israeli security control. King Jordan repeatedly, in public, ignores the Jewish connection to the land, instead he talks about the Christian and Muslim connections.
The Sceptre of Judah
“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be” (Genesis 49:10).
Israel, was established by God when He first promised the Messiah, after Adam and Eve sinned. The Lord specified that the Messiah would be that seed (Genesis 3) through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Matthew 1: 1-17).
This is a remarkable Messianic prophecy, given by Jacob 1700 years before the first coming of Christ fulfilled it. Later prophecies would focus on His descent from David and then His birthplace in Bethlehem, but first, one of the twelve sons of Jacob must be designated as His progenitor.
Remarkably, Jacob did not select either his first born son, Reuben, or his favorite son, Joseph. Nor did he choose Benjamin, the son of his favorite wife. He chose instead his fourth son, Judah, by divine direction.
Yet it was over 600 years before the tribe of Judah gained ascendancy over the others. The greatest leaders of Israel were from other tribes—Moses and Samuel from Levi, Joshua from Ephraim, Gideon from Manesseh, Samson from Dan, and Saul from Benjamin. Finally, David became king, and “the sceptre” was then held by Judah for a thousand years until Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea. Jesus’ parents were both of Judah, both of the line of David, with both the legal and spiritual right to David’s throne. But then, just 70 years after His birth, “the sceptre” (that is, leadership over the twelve tribes) departed from Judah with the worldwide dispersion of Israel, and no man since has ever held that right. It is still retained by Jesus and will be reclaimed and exercised when He returns. The Sceptre Of Judah, By Henry M. Morris, PH.D. Creation Research (ICR)
God Will Restore Israel
This is the last post of a series of articles covering the biblical history, archaeology, exiles, wanderings and persecution of Israel as a nation and as Jew in a hostile world. But Israel will be restored.
5 Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your descendants from the east, And gather you from the west; 6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ And to the south, ‘Do not keep them back!’ Bring My sons from afar, And My daughters from the ends of the earth (Isaiah 43: 5-6)
31 “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
35 Thus says the Lord,
Who gives the sun for a light by day,
The ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night,
Who disturbs the sea,
And its waves roar
(The Lord of hosts is His name):
36 “If those ordinances depart
From before Me, says the Lord,
Then the seed of Israel shall also cease
From being a nation before Me forever.”
37 Thus says the Lord:
“If heaven above can be measured,
And the foundations of the earth searched out beneath,
I will also cast off all the seed of Israel
For all that they have done, says the Lord" (Jeremiah 31: 31-37)
¹Dan Bahat (1996). The Illustrated Atlas of Jerusalem. p. 71.
²Ben-Dov, M. Historical Atlas of Jerusalem. Translated by David Louvish. New York: Continuum, 2002, p. 171
³Linquist, J.M., The Temple of Jerusalem, Praeger, London, 2008, p. 184
⁴ Grabar, Oleg. The Shape of the Holy: Early Islamic Jerusalem. With Contributions by Mohammad al-Asad, Abeer Audeh, Said Nuseibeh. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996, p. 112.