Do you think that forcing Israel to comply with a newly formed Palestinian "state" would be the equivalent of the Bible's "nations turning their backs on Israel"?

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In my own mind (and heart), I am in conflict over whether giving the Palestinians their own state is the right or wrong thing to do. I am unsure if forcing Israel to comply with a newly formed Palestinian "state" would be the equivalent of the Bible's "nations turning their backs on Israel." What do you think?

Also, if the "forced" Palestinian state is considered to be "turning our back" on Israel, is there a point at which you personally would feel compelled to leave this country and live elsewhere? When the Bible talks of "fleeing her," is this what is meant?

Ted's Response:

The hearts of many have become involved with this highly emotional and volatile issue, causing them to take up the Palestinian cause, and hoping for a successful two-state solution to the problem in Israel. My heart certainly goes out to the Palestinians who live in poverty and who are being used as "pawns" by Arab nations, in an attempt to convince the world that Israel is the "bad guy" in this entire situation.

As to what I believe should happen, though, I am not swayed by emotion. My logic tells me not to look at this "tree" but, rather, to lookat the entire "forest" in which the tree is located. As such, I must consider what God told Abraham long ago:

The LORD appeared to Abram and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him. (Genesis 12:7)

The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from 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. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you." (Genesis 13:14-17)

On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates...." (Genesis 15:18)

I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God. (Genesis 17:7,8)

And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: 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, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year. (Genesis 17:21)
Arabs, most of whom are descendants of Ishmael, tend to look at the first four passages and ignore the fifth. (Canaan is an ancient term for a region encompassing modern-day Israel and Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, plus adjoining coastal lands and parts of Jordan, Syria and northeastern Egypt.) They believe that the entire land of Israel, as well as everything around it, should belong to them, because God (or, according to them, "Allah," the primary deity of Islam) promised it to them, through Ishmael. But that is not what happened.

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob promised Abraham that, at some unspecified time in the future, the land from Egypt to Iraq would be given to the descendants of Isaac and his son Jacob (also known as Israel—Genesis 32:28), and that this would be an everlasting possession (Genesis 17:7). Up to now, this never has happened, which means that it has yet to take place in the future. I am convinced that it will not happen until Jesus returns to earth and destroys all the armies of the nations attacking Jerusalem, at which time Israel will be given all of the land, in question, to possess throughout the Millennium.

If this is the case, and if it is something that God has decreed and promised to take place, then anything that people do which is contrary to that is heading in the wrong direction. God does not have a problem with "aliens" (non-descendants of Jacob/Israel) living in the land of Israel, as long as they adhere to the laws and commandments of the land, as set down by God.

For instance, any alien (non-Israeli) living with the Israelites was expected to observe special days, such as the weekly Sabbath and Yom Kippur (Exodus 23:12; Leviticus 16:29). Palestinians, who are Islamic, do not celebrate their Sabbath on the seventh day, nor would they ever consider celebrating Yom Kippur. This is just the tip of the iceberg of how Palestinians would not conform. They certainly would not worship the true God of Isaac and Jacob, as they have embraced Allah as god.

I am convinced that it is wrong for there to be a separate Palestinian state, on the land promised by God to the Israelites because, ultimately, that land belongs to descendants of Israel and to no one else (Deuteronomy 9:4-6; Joshua 1:1-11, 21:43-45). It has been made clear to the Palestinians, in the past, that if they would be willing to live in harmony with the Israelites, on Israeli land, then they are welcome to do so.

However, they have not, and they will not, because Islam has a much larger agenda: destroying the Israelis completely so that, by default, the land can belong to the descendants of Ishmael and Esau, not to the descendants of Isaac (see Israel hated). Therefore, I do believe that forcing Israel to comply with the formation of a new Palestinian "state" would be the equivalent of turning our backs not only on Israel but on the God who made an everlasting covenant with that nation. See also When will God's covenant with Abraham be fulfilled, and how do we know that it is Israel who will receive the promised land?

I do not see any case, in the Bible, where fleeing or leaving a country implies that we, as Americans, should flee our country. You would have to give me a specific verse where you think this could be the case.

Offhand, I can think of two passages:

I will punish Bel in Babylon and make him spew out what he has swallowed. The nations will no longer stream to him. And the wall of Babylon will fall. Come out of her, my people! Run for your lives! Run from the fierce anger of the LORD. (Jeremiah 51:45)

So when you see standing in the holy place "the abomination that causes desolation," spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. (Matthew 24:15,16)
I believe that the first case has a dual fulfillment (as do many things in the Bible), one in the past and one in the future. After the Israelites were taken captive into Babylon, it was prophesied that they would live there for seventy years, after which Babylon would be destroyed (Jeremiah 25:9-12). When any of God's people remaining in Babylon saw that the destruction of Babylon was imminent, they had been instructed to get out and run away before it happened.

In the future, the system of Babylon the Great (Revelation 17:5) will incur God's wrath upon itself and will be destroyed. At that time, God's people are to come out of Babylon so that they will not receive any of her plagues (18:4,8-10). There is an ongoing debate as to what or whom the future Babylon the Great will be. I believe that the harlot woman/prostitute is the Islamic system, as shown in my "the woman and the beast" section in Part 3 of my Chronology of Revelation commentary. Also, you can read my "take" on "Babylon the Great" in that same commentary.

The future plagues on Babylon the Great will begin well into the second half of the 70th Week and will be completed after Jesus returns to earth, to rule and reign. I believe that there will be primary and secondary rapture events during the final half of the 70th Week. It could mean that "coming out of her" is referring to the removal of God's people, by being caught up and away, supernaturally.

For those who ultimately will accept Jesus and be saved, but who have not made this decision prior to the pouring out of the plagues upon Babylon the Great, it may mean that they are to flee from whatever nations compose the Babylon system at that time. However, for believers like you and me, I believe we will not have to worry about that, because we will have been removed by a prior rapture event.

As far as Jesus' warning to flee Judea, I believe that this applies specifically to the inhabitants of literal Judea (the region in which Jerusalem is located) at that time. The time will be the middle of the 70th Week, and those who will flee will be the remnant of Israelis who are there then (Revelation 12:6). They very well may flee into the mountain-desert region of west Jordan, where Petra is located. There, they will be cared for by God for 1,260 days—the final half of the 70th Week.

In any case, we as believers will not be part of the woman (an Israeli remnant) who will flee at that time. They will be located specifically in Jerusalem and the surrounding area. The reason they will leave is because they will see the "abomination that causes desolation" being set up in a "holy place" at that time, alerting them to flee (Matthew 24:15,16).

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