Ancient Israel

A society lost & found



Israel is a miracle. Its origin and history are supernatural. Just its very existence is evidence of the Exodus. Where did this people come from? And why are they so different from other nations? There’s a gap of almost 1,900 years missing from their history. Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. Israel was wiped off the map. These people were dispersed throughout Europe and parts of the Middle East for nearly two millennia. We call it “The Diaspora.” But they did not lose their identity as a distinct race of people, and they did not vanish from the Earth. For centuries Jewish communities lived as foreigners in other people’s countries. They were always the outsider. They were wanderers. Jews were never fully accepted anywhere, and they did not have a national identity or land of their own. They were a despised people. And when they prospered, they became hated.


Back in the 40’s Nazi Germany under Hitler tried to completely exterminate the Jewish people. Despite all efforts of the holocaust, the systematic mass murder of an estimated six million Jews during World War II, this attempted genocide failed.* A remnant of the Jewish people survived and later returned to their homeland.


Now they faced a new challenge. Instead of being welcomed back by their Arab neighbors they were attacked from all sides and forced to fight to the death. Just like old times. And fight they did. The Jews won their independence in the Arab-Israeli War, also known as the Israeli War of Independence. After being scattered to the four winds for nearly two thousand years, Israel once again became a sovereign nation in 1948.


They soon found that there was a reason why this small sliver of a country was virtually uninhabited when they returned. As modern-day researchers have pointed out: “Israel was not a natural nor sensible place for agriculture.” * It was a barren landscape. The soil quality was poor. There were too many hills and stones lying about on the ground. Then there was the dry semi-arid climate. The land itself did not appear to be special in anyway. In fact, it seemed to be cursed. But it was home.


From a modern analysis: “Israel has emerged as a regional economic and military powerhouse, leveraging its booming high-tech sector, massive defense industry, and concerns about Iran to foster partnerships around the world, even with some of its former foes. The State of Israel was declared in 1948, after Britain withdrew from its mandate of Palestine. The UN proposed partitioning the area into Arab and Jewish states, and Arab armies that rejected the UN plan were defeated.” From this same source, the CIA’s World Factbook, if you search “Palestine” a special note appears: There is no data for that foreign government or it does not exist. *


What is Palestine?

Two thousand years ago Israel found itself in Roman occupied territory. It was the Romans who called this place “Palestine,” a name meaning “Land of the Philistines.” The Philistines died out centuries earlier. Today no such people exist. The Palestinians living in parts of Israel today are in fact Arabs. Many of them are good people who just want to live and work in Israel’s thriving economy.


Muslim politicians within the international community like to use this people as propaganda to foster support for the abolition of the State of Israel’s sovereignty. These political actors tell the world that the Palestinian people are an oppressed minority.


The truth is that while Jewish people in Israel number a little more than 6 million, Arabs around the world are in the hundreds of millions. Worldwide, all the lands possessed by Muslim nations compared to the one small piece of land possessed by the Jewish State is approximately 1,319 to 1, and now radical Islam wants to take the 1.


A scholar by the name of Dr. Grant R. Jeffrey explained it this way: The nation of Israel is slightly larger than New Jersey. It is so small you could fit it inside the state of Texas 32 times over! *


In the Six Day War of ’67, Syria, Jordan and Egypt tried uniting together against Israel. On the battlefield these Arab countries with their troops, jets and tanks outnumbered Israel about 3 to 1. To their horror the Israelis won the war and won back control of the city of Jerusalem.


Before the war, Arabs living in the region referred to themselves as Arabs of Greater Syria.* After they lost, they began to call themselves “Palestinians.” It was a clever political maneuver for leaders like Yassir Arafat to begin referring to Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza as “Palestinians,” even though they were Arabs. The act was meant to gain sympathy and support from the international community. All the while Arafat who started the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was himself an Egyptian!* As one modern-day journalist has said, “Politics is theater.”


Why so serious?

Jerusalem’s Temple Mount is that huge, elevated foundation that the Jews built 3,000 years ago in the time of King Solomon. It was on this site that ancient Israel built the Temple of The Lord, which was later destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. Seventy years later the temple was rebuilt, but then later it was destroyed in 70 A.D., this time by the Roman army led by Titus. Centuries later, in 691, Muslims built the Dome of the Rock (a big gold dome) right on top of this sacred Jewish site. Then later in 705 they built the Al Aqsa Mosque. However, neither of these Islamic structures have anything to do with the God of the Bible.


Today the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the most contested piece of property on the planet. Both Jews and Muslims claim it as a sacred site. Scholar and writer Keith Intrater asks the question: How many times do we find Jerusalem in the Koran? The answer: Zero. It is a simple fact that the city of Jerusalem is not mentioned by name anywhere in the Koran even a single time! *


Even Muslims in Jerusalem pray (or chant) facing Mecca. Whenever any Muslim from anywhere in the world goes on their once in a lifetime pilgrimage, they don’t go to Jerusalem. Instead, they travel to the Grand Mosque in Mecca of Saudi Arabia where they march around and bow down to a big stone cube.


Terrorist Religion

Prophet, teacher and writer Greg Mullins, author of Tribulation Saints, shares some surprising facts from history from a former Sterling Professor of History at Yale University, David Brion Davis, author of Slavery and Human Progress. *


Mullins writes: “During the 80’s and 90’s Muslims in North Sudan were selling Black Christians into slavery. In 1990 it was believed that Mauritania had as many as 400,000 slaves. In every area of the world where they are a significant part of the population — they are at war. Islam is a religion of War, literally. The word Islam means submission. A muslim is one who submits.” *


During his lifetime Davis taught extensively on world history, the human cost of modernization and conquest, and the origins and histories of slavery in different civilizations to include the Muslim’s development of a long-distance slave trade from sub-Saharan Africa, exploits of the Ottoman Empire (a ruling Islamic political/religious state), the Armenian Genocide and both the West’s adoption and abolition of slavery.


Some atrocities are remembered much more than others. Some have nearly been forgotten.


The U.S. Holocaust Museum records: “Sometimes called the first genocide of the twentieth century, the Armenian Genocide refers to the physical annihilation of Armenian Christian people living in the Ottoman Empire from spring 1915 through autumn 1916. There were approximately 1.5 million Armenians living in the multi-ethnic Ottoman Empire in 1915. At least 664,000 and possibly as many as 1.2 million died during the genocide, either in massacres and individual killings, or from systematic ill treatment, exposure, and starvation.” *


Christians, Jews and other religious minorities have suffered egregious war crimes at the hand and by the sword of radical Islam. The enslavement and brutal treatment of generations of non-Muslim subjects; their taxation, forced conversion or murder, are not signs of Islam’s greatness.


Terrorism: Nature of the Beast

Remember the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, the 1983 U.S. Embassy and Marine Barracks bombings in Beirut, the first World Trade Center attack in 1993 using a truck bomb, the USS Cole bombing in Yemen in 2000, remember 9/11, also remember the 2002 Moscow theatre siege and hostage crisis, the 2004 Madrid train bombings, the 2005 London Subway bombings, the 2009 Fort Hood mass shooting, the 2012 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the 2015 coordinated terror attacks on Paris, the 2016 mass shooting at a gay night club in Orlando, Florida, and let us not forget the woman in Oklahoma who had her head chopped off by her Muslim co-worker in 2014 right here on American soil.


Jesus prophesied about future acts of terror against Jews and Christians…


“All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them…” (John 16:1-4 NIV)


This isn’t about putting labels on people. Just look at their fruit (words and actions). We are allowed to make right judgments about these things. Jesus said that you can tell what kind of tree it is by judging the fruit that it produces.


Design is in the seed. And every seed produces after its own kind. Grains of wheat produce a harvest of wheat. Weeds just multiply and turn into more weeds. Then they choke out the other seeds. Over the centuries Islam has produced countless robbers, killers, kidnappers, slave traders, rapists, pirates, hijackers, and suicide bombers. Radical Islamists worship death. They take great pride in the power to kill… even themselves.


Terrorism is using acts of violence and the media to achieve a political or religious goal. It is a different world from the wars that ancient Israelites fought in to defend their homeland and their very lives.


As Christians we don’t go around stabbing innocent people or running crowds over with a truck if too many of them are having a nice day. We condemn terrorism. It’s true that we are in a holy war. But the weapons of our warfare are words. We are called to speak the truth in love. If someone does not believe like we do then we can disagree without being disagreeable. You don’t have to respect other people’s beliefs; you just have to respect their right to have them.


As a Christian my message to Jews and Arabs is the same as to any other people…


If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9 NIV)



The borders of Israel are clearly defined in Ezekiel chapter 47. The name of their capital city of Jerusalem appears more than 800 times in the Bible. The Jews have every right to exist as a sovereign nation and free people. But where did this people come from, anyway? How far back does their history go? The Bible tells us…


Their story begins with just one man, a man named Abraham. In his father’s house his name was Abram. This ancient Chaldean lived in Ur of the Chaldees, a fertile land between two rivers near the mouth of the Tigris and Euphrates. This region of ancient Mesopotamia is now modern-day Iraq. Both Jews and Arabs trace their ancestries back to this one man, though Abraham was neither a Jew nor an Arab. Abraham’s people were Chaldean, a pagan tribe that did not have any understanding of who God is. None of the ancients did at that time. But once more God was about to reveal Himself to the ancient world. His plan began with this one man who when he had heard from God chose to have faith in God.


About 4,000 years ago…


The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3 NIV)


By faith Abram left his own people and country and set out on a great journey. He became a stranger in foreign lands where he lived in a tent. When he finally reached the land of Canaan the Lord said to him, “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.” Years later when Abram still had no son the Lord reassured him of the promise and told him, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars… if indeed you can. That’s how many descendants you shall have.” And when Abram was 99 years old God changed his name to Abraham. Abram means Exalted Father, but Abraham means Father of Many Nations.


God said that He would make this name great, and it still is thousands of years later. Today Jews remember this man as one of Israel’s patriarchs and the father of Isaac. Arabs remember him as the father of Ishmael. But it is Christians who remember him as the father of faith. Abraham had faith in the promises of God.


It’s called the Promised Land because God promised the land to Abraham and his descendants, the Jews. The promise included the land and a son. Isaac is called the son of promise because it was a miracle that Abraham and his wife Sarah were able to have him in their old age. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, which means “he wrestles with God.” And this man named Israel had twelve sons whose descendants became the twelve tribes of Israel.


The Other Son

Now there was another son that had been born years earlier, this one by Abraham and his Egyptian maidservant Hagar, and the boy’s name was Ishmael. He grew up in the desert and became an archer. Ishmael is the father of the Arab tribes. Twelve great princes came from him. Each became a tribal ruler.


The things God had said about Abraham came true; he later became “a father of many nations.” And everything God had said about Ishmael and Isaac came true too.


Concerning Ishmael the Lord said, “He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.” But the Lord also said of Ishmael, “I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. But my covenant I will establish with Isaac…” (see Genesis 16 and 17)


Today an estimated 436 million people populate the Arab World. The Arabic language and culture extend beyond these states. Concerning Islam there are rumored to be an estimated 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide.* Predominantly Arab speaking Muslim countries dominate the Middle East and Northern Africa. These peoples possess lands, control resources, and execute political power over entire populations of other races. In many places Islam has been forced on the people.


Everything God foretold through the prophet Moses in the book of Genesis has come to pass. These tribes have lived in hostility toward all their brothers, their people have greatly increased in numbers, but they don’t have the covenant.


A Simple Plan

In Genesis 22 we see Abraham being tested by the Lord. God asked him to give Him Isaac. In Old Testament times and even earlier cattle was like currency, so animal sacrifices were sometimes made as offerings to the Lord. However, the ancients did not know what (or who) these offerings symbolized. And what God was asking for this time was a once in all of history event, never to happen again. The reason God asked for Abraham’s son Isaac as an offering was so that they could make a covenant. It gave God the right to offer His Son. Jesus is the New Covenant. The entire purpose of the nation and people of Israel was the coming of the Messiah, the Christ. *


We know from the scriptures that Isaac was spared and that a ram was offered in his place. Nevertheless, God had said that He would provide a lamb for the sacrifice. And He did 2,000 years ago. This is how God made the New Covenant available to all nations and all races. It is not based on ancestry. It’s based on faith and trust.


The story of how Israel came to be (their land and people, the wars they fought in, the nations that tried to destroy them, many of their tests, trials and sufferings) is told in the oldest and most authoritative book ever written — the Bible. Every nation has a history. Other peoples have suffered too. But it was the Jews whom God used to bring forth the Messiah, the Christ. They were the race from whom the Son of God came into this world. That doesn’t mean the Jews were His favorite. This people didn’t have a special deal with God. They had a special call from God. And whenever they broke covenant, they got into big trouble. As a people they couldn’t get away with anything because God was their Father.



In the book of Exodus, we read about Israel’s time as slaves in Egypt, their great escape, and the long journey home. Exodus means “exit” or “departure.” The Exodus was a real event that took place in the time of Moses, roughly 3,400 years ago. At a time when Egypt was empire, pharaoh was touted to be a living god, and the Egyptians had been masters over the Hebrews for 400 years.


But God raised up a prophet from among this people. With ten devastating plagues God disrupted the Egyptian government, halted its economy and destroyed the agriculture of the Egyptians. They could no longer function as a society. Their country was in ruins. Pharaoh’s firstborn was dead. With a demonstration of signs, wonders and miracles God revealed His awesome power and great love for His people. Exodus is a story of salvation and deliverance. It begins with suffering but ends in glory.


The 1956 film The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner, was a masterful retelling of the story and very much worth watching no matter how much time goes by.


As Christians, a people who are in covenant with God, we are on a similar journey. Egypt represents slavery. God is delivering us out of this sin-filled cursed world. The Bible calls sin a form of slavery. In the New Testament Peter said, “You are a slave to whatever has mastered you.” The wilderness is a place of testing. Through different kinds of trials, we are learning how to trust in God to be our provider and deliverer and guide. But where is He taking us? The land He is bringing us into is our wealthy place, the place of Blessing. Not only are we going home. We are returning to God.








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