God's Beloved Mountains
Shalom Partner and Friend of Israel,
For everyone who loves the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the events that are unfolding in the Middle East are of utmost importance. It is difficult, however, to form a clear picture of what is actually happening. The daily news in the West about the Arab / Israeli conflict is incomplete and often inaccurate and misunderstood.
It is interpreted for us by people who do not necessary believe in the Bible (the Word of God) or have a clear overall picture of the 4000 year old conflict of hatred and rejection. Without an overall clear picture of the Israeli / Arab conflict, the events mentioned in the news each day are meaningless and for the average person understanding this conflict is so difficult that many don’t even try to. To find the missing pieces it is necessary to sift through tons of historical data which is not always easily on hand. To match the historical data one must also be a serious student of the Bible and just as our Lord said; "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." Matthew 4:4
God’s Covenant promise…
"In the same day Jehovah made a covenant with Abram, saying, I have given this land to your seed, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the giants, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites." Genesis 15:18 - 21
Indeed we can see that the promise was confirmed again in other Scriptures too. We can read more in Numbers 34 and Ezekiel chapters 35 and 36. The land was given by God as an inheritance; no tribe was to claim its own land. The boundaries declared by God are larger than the area that was actually occupied by the Hebrews. The boundaries correspond more to the land conquered by David and to the ideal territory portrayed by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 47 – 48). The size of the land portrays God’s generosity. He always gives us more than we could ask for.
This was the unconditional promise made to Abraham and we can see that the land of Israel today is very tiny in comparison to what God had in mind for Israel.
Israel has occupied nobody’s land… they have only regained some of their own!
Israel has a prominent mountain range running through its mid-section like a spine. This range reaches from the Jezreel valley in the north and extends past Hebron in the south. When a person arrives in Israel and leaves the coast going eastward and inland, this long mountain range immediately can be seen. First, there is the hill country, or the Shephela, as it is called, then a steep, laborious climb toward Jerusalem. Finally, at Jerusalem, the peak of this mountain range is reached at an elevation of approximately 2700 ft. (800 meters) above sea level. Many of the ancient cities of Israel, such as Bethlehem, Hebron, and Shechem sit atop this range. It is important to understand that this mountain country was primarily the home of the Israelites of old, and that one of the main North-South routes ran along this ridge.
Much has happened concerning the changing of borders and the settlement of this land in past history, but one thing is certain - no one has moved the mountains.
They remain today as a mute testimony concerning this land and its rightful occupants, and concerning the Word and the will of God. They stand in defiance of much of the world's popular and "politically correct" opinion today, and they even defy much popular opinion among Christians. We are reminded in Genesis Chapters 15 and 17 that God’s Abrahamic Covenant with the Jewish people was and still is unconditional and eternal and it still stands.
Long ago, the prophet Ezekiel foresaw that these mountains would one day become a "bone of contention" for the world; that they would suffer the scorn of the nations. (Ezekiel 36:3) In fact, the God of Israel commanded Ezekiel on several occasions to prophesy specifically to these mountains. The prophet obeyed, and his interesting prophecy is recorded for us in Ezekiel 36:1 - 37 and if we read this very carefully we can also see that there are no conditions that Israel must meet.
The Lord said; "I will turn to you… I will multiply you… I will make you inhabited… I will cause men to walk on you… I had concern for my Holy Name. I will sanctify you… I will take you… I will sprinkle you… I will cleanse… I will give… I will put… I will deliver you… I will call for the grain and multiply it… I will multiply the fruit… I do this… I will increase their men like a flock…I the Lord has spoken it… I will do it."
Can the Lord speak more clearly? The Lord Himself is bringing the Jewish people home and settling them in the Mountains of Israel. Just as in His original promise to Abraham, there are no conditions; it is a promise between the Lord and Himself. This promise cannot be broken because the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Israel shall possess the Mountains of Israel because it is the will of the Lord.
Why did the Lord … Choose a people? Let them fall into slavery in Egypt? Bring them out of Egypt? Resettle them in their land? Exile them from their land? Scatter them over the face of the earth? Promise to bring them back into their land? Promise to make their desert blossom?
Why is the Lord… Bringing Jewish people home to Israel today? Making the desert bloom? Settling Jewish people in the land including the WESTBANK (Judea and Samaria)?
Why did God repeat His purpose 59 times in Ezekiel? The answers to the above are simply; He said … then you will know that I AM the LORD!
Judea and Samaria...
The Mountains of Israel are the heart of the Promised Land, the Ancient Heights promised by God to the children of Israel. They are Judea and Samaria, the inheritance of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Joseph.
Bethel, Ai, Shilo, and Schechem… made famous by Abraham, Jacob and Joshua are located in the mountains of Israel. Joshua and the bones of Joseph (Joshua 24: 30, 32) were buried in this area.
Bethany... is the place where Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived and is also located in the mountains of Israel.
Jerusalem; where the temple stood, where David and Solomon ruled. Where Yeshua was condemned, crucified, died and rose again are all located in the Mountains of Israel – the so-called West Bank that includes all the places mentioned above.
What is the so-called West Bank? Believers (those who believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), who are familiar with Israel, object to the use of the term WEST BANK. They point out that the correct name is Judea and Samaria and this is true! Because of the millions of uninformed people and the Media it is communicated as the West bank.
Before we continue to explore into the prophecy of Ezekiel Chapters 35 and 36, let us stop a moment to catch ourselves up on the history of this mountain area of Israel during the past 2,000 years. We know that Israel was dispersed from this area and from Jerusalem after the unsuccessful rebellions against Rome in AD 70 and in 135. The whole land of Israel came under direct Roman rule, and later fell into the hands of many other peoples - the Byzantine Christians, Arab Moslems, Crusaders, Turks, and finally in our century - the English.
As the Holy Land was again returned to "Christian" rule at the end of World War I, Great Britain was given a mandate by the League of Nations to create in the area of Palestine a home for the Jewish people. The British, however, soon began to bow to Arab pressure and made a series of compromises that continue to cause great unrest in the Middle East.
As Arab pressure mounted in the 1930’s England bowed to the Arabs again and began restricting Jewish settlement in the land. The flow of settlement was finally brought to a near standstill. This was at the precise time when millions of European Jews were fleeing for their lives from the coming Holocaust. Many of these Jews who were fleeing Hitler were turned around by the British and sent back to the inferno of Europe. As a result, six million Jews, having no place to go, were murdered by the Nazi war machine in the Holocaust.
By 1947, the area of Palestine had become too big a problem for England to handle. The matter was again turned over to the United Nations, and a further division of the land was proposed. This plan directly affected the area of our concern - the mountains of Israel. The area west of the Jordan river was now included in this new plan. Most of the mountain area was to be given to the Arabs, and the Jewish settlements were to be restricted to the coasts and lowlands. The Jews reluctantly accepted the partition, but the Arabs went to war against the newly declared state of Israel. It is interesting that the Arabs at this time refused to accept the very area for which they are now clamouring.
The War of Independence resulted, with tiny Israel fighting five Arab armies, and actually gaining victory over them. In the midst of this war, Jordan invaded and annexed the area which we know as the West Bank. That area remained in Jordanian hands until the Six Day War of 1967, when Israel reclaimed this whole mountain area and the city of Jerusalem.
Since 1967, Israel has administered the area which the world refers to as the West Bank, but which Israel rightly refers to by their Biblical names of Judea and Samaria. In the intervening years since 1948, we have seen the prophecy of Ezekiel 36:1-15 come true.
While the Lord has promised the Land to the children of Israel as an inheritance, they are not free to give it or sell it to others permanently, because the land belongs to the Lord. (Leviticus 25:23)
"Son of man set your face against Mount Seir and prophecy against it, and say to it… "thus says the Lord God, behold O Mount Seir, I am against you and I will stretch out My Hand against you." Ezekiel 35: 2– 3
Mount Seir was the homeland of Esau (also called Edom) father of the Edomites. We know this because the Bible says, "So Esau dwelt in Mount Seir. Esau is Edom." Genesis 36: 8 The location of the ancient land of Edom is shown in the former British held area, which was known as Palestine and today, is Jordan an Arab Palestinian State.
Bible Names: Edom, Esau, Amelek, Ishmael, Ammon, Lot, Moab. Today called: Arabic people or Nations, Jordanian, and / or Palestinian. Esau married the daughters of Ishmael. (Genesis 28: 9 and 36:3) Esau is one of the ancestors of the Arabic people.
Why is God against Edom?
In Chapter 35 of Ezekiel the Lord tells Edom that He is against them because…
To have more insight into an ancient hatred and shedding of Israel’s blood, we encourage you to read and study for yourself; Genesis 25: 29 – 34; 27:41; 27:42; 28:9; 32:28 and Deuteronomy 2:4 - 8; 19 also Numbers 20: 14; 18 – 21.
Hundred’s of years later Edom, Ammon and Moab (the three ancient ancestors of the Arabic people) still despise Israel. At this time Israel was split in two; the Kingdom of the North was called Israel and the Southern Kingdom was called Judah. (2 Chronicles 20: 10 -11 and 24)
The ancient hatred spoken of by God can be traced throughout Bible times. And it has continued in this Century and in our day.
In 1929 and 1936 Arabic Moslems massacred Jewish people living in the Holy Land. Jews were killed in Hebron (which was a Jewish city of refuge in Biblical times. Joshua 21: 13) In Hebron 66 Jews were slaughtered during the Mufti inspired riots of 1929 but a fresh outburst in 1936 drove the last Jews from the city.
1948 fanatic Moslem gangs prevented food from reaching the starving people in Jerusalem. Armed Moslems attacked convoys of trucks carrying food and slaughtered the drivers, burnt the trucks, and carried away the food. In April (before the war started in May) a weed called ‘Khubeize’ provided miraculous relief to the hungry Jewish population of Jerusalem. The spinach like herb sprung up wild… women searched the fields of the city looking for it. A few weeks later an unseasonable rain struck Jerusalem, bringing a new and unexpected crop of this herb. Like the manna in the desert God provided again.
Now let us look at the prophecy in Ezekiel 36 more detail: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "The enemy said of you, ‘Aha! The ancient heights have become our possession.’"(Ezekiel 36:2)
The area invaded by Jordan in 1948 and now designated as the West Bank truly contains the ancient heights of Israel - notably the ancient high places, as well as the central mountains. It includes East Jerusalem and the very Temple Mount, Bethlehem, Hebron, Gibeon, Shiloh, Bethel and Shechem. It is this very area in which the nations would desire to establish yet another Palestinian state, this one under the direction of the PLO. It is important for us to be clear on this matter. This so-called "West Bank" is biblical Israel.
"…They ravaged and hounded you from every side so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations…" (36:3).
The history of Israel has been a history of ravages and plunder. This has continued into modern times as Jordan occupied Judea and Samaria and the Old City of Jerusalem. Upon capturing the Old City in1948, the Jordanians promptly ended centuries of Jewish settlement there by exiling the remaining inhabitants. They then demolished the Jewish Quarter including all its ancient synagogues. In their rage they even went so far as to construct latrines from Jewish gravestones. From the beginning of this occupation in 1948 until 1967, no Jew was allowed to pray at the Western Wall.
"…You became…the object of people’s malicious talk and slander..." (36:3). "…I speak in my jealous wrath because you have suffered the scorn of the nations." (36:6). See also Ezekiel 35:12
We cannot think of a single area of the world that has received slander and scorn like Judea and Samaria. The intensity of this slander and scorn has greatly. And daily, on TV and radio stations around the world, and in newspapers, Israel is verbally attacked because of Judea and Samaria. Hardly a UN session goes by without some criticism of Israel, or some resolution condemning Israel because of the West Bank, which Israel acquired as the result of a war in 1967, a war started by the Arabs.
This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "In my burning zeal I have spoken against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, for with glee and with malice in their hearts they made my land their own possession so that they might plunder its pastureland.’" (36:5).
Here, the Word of God turns the light of truth on to the real motivations behind the uprisings. The whole Palestinian problem has been cleverly concocted and kept brewing for almost a century out of pure malice. A Palestinian state never existed in all the history of this land. One never even existed under Jordan, or the Turks, or the Moslem Arabs. The whole idea is a ploy now fostered by the ancient enemies of Israel to utterly divide and destroy Israel.
Now, what will become of Judea and Samaria?
The prophet Ezekiel deals with this, too. Will it become a Palestinian state? Hardly, according to the Word of God! We note that God calls it "my land" (Ezek 36:5), and in the Bible, he makes it very clear to whom he has given his land as an eternal possession. He has given it forever to Isaac and his seed (the Jews), not to Ishmael and his seed or the Arabs. (Gen. 7:19-21) We can be certain that God is very angry with the nations over their proposed division of this land today. (Joel 3:2)
The prophet Ezekiel saw that the mountains of Israel would one day produce fruit for the people of Israel, for they will come home to these very mountains (Ezek 36:8). Ezekiel saw that people will be multiplied upon these mountains, but not the Arab people - rather the house of Israel (36:10). The people of Israel will walk in them (36:12), and be prosperous upon them (36:11). They will possess and inherit them (36:12).
The Lord is gracious and He also promised Ishmael and his descendants (the Arab people) that they would be blessed and be fruitful. Today the Arab league includes 21 separate states spanning an area of more than 5,000,000 square miles. However God did not promise the Arab people the land of Israel and they will not possess it.
The mountains of Israel will never again deprive the people of their children as has happened so often. This whole grisly and blood-stained chapter will end according to God. The Lord also promises, "No longer will I make you hear the taunts of the nations, and no longer will you suffer the scorn of the peoples or cause your nation to fall, declares the Sovereign LORD." (Ezek 36:15) Instead, God says, "…the nations around you will also suffer scorn." (Ezek 36:7).
Compare Ezekiel 36 with… "they have taken crafty council against your sheltered ones. They have said, come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more. For they have consulted together with one consent; they form a confederacy against you." Psalm 83: 3 -5
The Lord protects Israel
When the Arabic Islamic Nations attempted to destroy Israel at its birth in 1948, they thought they were fighting only against the outnumbered and poorly armed Jewish people. They failed to recognize that Adonai Tsva’ot (Lord of Hosts) was there, Ezekiel 35:10 and to attack God’s people and His Land is to attack the Lord. God said, "I will make Myself known among them (Israel) when I judge you. Then you will know that I am the Lord (v 11).
Since the Word of the Lord is clear that Jewish people will possess and live in the so-called West Bank, he who attempts to carve a Palestinian State out of the Land set aside by God does not know the Bible or does not fear God. They are asking us as believers to deny our faith in the truth of the Bible.
He is Lord
Some people (Jewish and Gentile) think that the ingathering of Israel, which is happening today, in the new State of Israel is just a part of History. They do not believe that this is the ingathering promised by the Lord.
Some Rabbi’s teach that the Messiah Himself will come to set up the Jewish State. For this reason they do not believe that today’s Israel is a fulfilment of God’s promises in Ezekiel 36.
Some Ministers preach replacement theology and they believe that because Israel has sinned, the church has replaced Israel and will receive the promises of God. This leaves the Body of Christ who are not yet perfect in understanding God’s plan for Israel in a predicament. If God’s gifts and calling are irrevocable, what would prevent God from abandoning the Church?
Because the Jewish people were exiled from their Land, the people of the Nations presumed that the Lord had rejected them forever, or that Israel’s God was not strong enough to protect them. The people of the Nations ignored God’s promises and His power. To ignore His promises or to believe that the Lord cannot or will not keep His promises is to profane God’s Name.
The Lord has concern for His Holy Name. He is not bringing back Israel because they deserve it, but for His Holy Name. The Lord wants everyone to know that He is Lord.
As believers in God's word, we must try to see as God sees. We cannot be certain about timing, but we can be certain about the final outcome. In God's good time the Jews will possess the mountains of Judea and Samaria, and they will live there forever. Any "just and lasting peace" without these truths in mind will be neither just nor lasting. Any peace plan proposed, or peace process initiated without these biblical truths as its background is doomed to ultimate failure.
Thank you for supporting Pray4Zion financially and in prayer, you are valuable to the work that the Lord is doing through this ministry and together we can BE the difference.
May God bless you with His perfect SHALOM!
Alf & Julie Saunders
15th November, 2009
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