True or False
© Jordan White Enterprises
October 4, 1999
Take this test to see how much you know about Biblical prophesies concerning Israel and the Middle East. Answer each question as honestly as you can. There are no trick questions and each answer receives an equal score. Circle T for true and F for false.
It is known, or there is considerable knowledge to the effect that:
1. T F The present-day Palestinians are the descendants of Esau (Edom).
2. T F The present-day Palestinians are the descendants of Ishmael (Abraham’s first-born son with Hagar the Egyptian).
3. T F The present-day Israelis are the descendants of Abraham through his son Isaac.
4. T F The present-day Israelis are God’s chosen people and therefore the land of Israel is theirs and theirs alone to reside upon for as long as they wish, since God made a covenant with Abraham to that effect as written in the book of Genesis.
5. T F There is considerable archeological proof that the Moslem shrine called the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque sit upon land originally occupied by Solomon’s Temple.
6. T F According to the Book of Revelation, there will be a huge battle (“Armageddon”) in the last days, between the Arabs and those Jews who have confessed Jesus Christ. It is prophesied that these Christianized Jews will defeat the Arabs and thus usher in the Kingdom of Heaven, but only after much bloodshed and ruin.
7. T F Circumcision was a sign given to Abraham as a sign of the Covenant (see question 4), and was conferred first upon his son Isaac to prove that the Covenant applied only to Abraham’s descendants through Isaac.
8. T F Actions pursued by the government of the State of Israel against the Palestinians or any other Arab group are sanctioned by God since He gave the land to the Jewish people and therefore, Arab people do not belong there. If the Arabs cared about God’s will, they would go and live in other parts of the Arab world where God wants them to stay.
9. T F In light of Biblical prophecy, the best thing that truly born-again Christians can do about the instability in the Middle East is to whole-heartedly support Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East and sharers, with them, of the worship of the true and only God, Jehovah.
Okay, you’re done. Let’s see how you did.
I promised you no tricks so I’ll spell it out for you plainly: All the above statements are false, and if you answered even one of them true, you completely fail the test. That’s right, you get a “0”. Why? Because if you are going to practice (or even dabble in) Bible prophecy, you have to be 100% right, all of the time! The book of Deuteronomy warns that a prophet who speaks presumptuously in God’s name shall die. (Deut. 18: 20).
So let’s admit that neither you nor I make good prophets! The reason is that we just don’t know what the future will bring. We can, however, become more aware of what the Scriptures are saying about things we can understand. So let’s stop calling on "prophecy" to understand events in the Middle East. Notice that no one seems to cite Biblical prophecy when talking about current events in, say, Canada.
Let’s talk facts.
1. Questions 1 and 2. No, the present day Palestinians do not represent the descendants of Esau or of Ishmael. I know that’s going to louse up a lot of analogies, metaphors and stuff for a lot of people, but folks, facts are facts. The Palestinians are a unique Mediterranean people, who have their roots in the civilizations of Phoenicia, Canaan, Philistia, Gaza, and Rome, among others. They have the blood of the Crusaders, Arabic traders, Ottoman Turks, and British overseers of the Mandate period. Existing as it does on one of the major crossroads of the world, where the continents of Africa, Europe and Asia collide, Palestine has seen centuries of ethnic infusion, producing a people with a rich and highly developed culture that can trace its origins through all of these groups. Add to that all of the people who came as immigrants from other lands to work or simply to be near to the shrines they hold most dearly. They also have intermixed with the native populations, bringing their own backgrounds and ethnicities.
2. Question 3. This one is going to be tough for a lot of people, but folks, just because a group of people found a nation and call it “Israel” does not mean that they are the representatives of any particular mandate, Biblical or otherwise. It’s like changing your name to Gates and waltzing into Microsoft to claim your share of the loot. Except that you’d never get away with it. Somehow these people managed to pull it off! The present-day Zionists are no more the descendants of Abraham than you are of Bill Gates. They don’t trace their ancestry through Isaac or any other son of Abraham. Well, there I go again, ruining all those neat little sermon illustrations. Sorry, but it’s true. The European Jews, the "Zionists" who founded the nation that calls itself Israel are the descendants of a group of Central Europeans called the Khazars, who converted to Judaism en masse somewhere around the 12th century because they were afraid of the Ottomans who were into conquering people at that time, and the Ottomans had a way of sparing Jewish people from their plunders, because they felt that their religion had its roots in Judaism and they somehow owed them one. It was an amazingly smart thing for the Khazars to do, and certainly there was nothing wrong with them wanting to convert to Judaism. After all, the Old Testament goes to great lengths to allow for converts and even encourages it. What’s wrong is when these people lay exclusive claim to the land of Palestine on the grounds that they are the receivers of it through Abraham and Isaac. As much as converts to Judaism become true Jews, it does not make them descendants of Abraham or Isaac. (Official population statistics from the government of Israel itself admit that 82% of its population is of European rather than Middle Eastern heritage.)
3. Question 4. No, no, no! God never, I repeat never gave the land of Israel to any group of people, including the real descendants of Abraham and Isaac, without clear strings attached. In fact, God warned disobedient Israel over and over again that if they did not start to obey His law, they would be defeated in battle and sent into exile. These warnings were not heeded, and, indeed, the Israelites were dispersed all over the world. Has “Israel” mended its ways and started obeying the Scriptures and worshipping God as He has commanded (not their interpretation thereof) ? I’ll leave that one for the experts to answer.
4. Question 5. In spite of exhaustive searches by Israeli archeological teams, there has never been a shred of physical evidence that Solomon’s Temple ever existed on that site, or in fact, ever existed at all, anywhere in Jerusalem or elsewhere.
5. Question 6. The Bible says that “the kings of the whole world” (Rev. 16:14) will gather together for war. Although the outcome of this battle is clear (the Lamb is victorious [Rev. 17:14] ), it is amazing to me that anyone can get so much out of this tiny passage of Scripture to decide that it demonstrates that Israel defeats all of the Arab nations in battle. It takes more imagination than I have. Folks, admit it! You don’t understand the book of Revelation, and neither do I. Much of the book is allegorical, anyway, unless you believe that the Last Days will be literally populated by an assortment of beasts, dragons, and women giving birth in various inconvenient places.
6. Question 7. Circumcision was given to Abraham as a sign of God’s covenant before Isaac was even born. The son who was circumcised when God discussed the covenant with Abraham was Ishmael, not Isaac.
7. Question 8. Arabs do care about God’s will, and that is precisely why they insist on their right to live on the land they have called home for so many generations. Arabs know the story of Ahab grabbing Naboth’s vineyard (I Ki. 21), and understand the application of that story to the destruction of their own lands and homes by their occupiers. And they also understand that God is first and foremost a God of mercy and beneficence.
8. Question 9. If born-again Christians really wanted to see the Middle East become more stable, rather than using it as a place to practice their ill-conceived Biblical prophecy games, they would ask Israel to account for its inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people and ask that their governments withhold economic aid until these are rectified. Israel is not acting like a democracy when it allows the torture, imprisonment and dispossession of people within its borders. It is being barbaric. Jesus did not ask for His followers to bring about His kingdom through the abuse of people He loved and died for. His kingdom is a spiritual one, achieved by love and obedience to a king who offered a place in His kingdom to all who would believe, including tax collectors, thieves dying on Roman crosses, and yes, friends, you and me.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall
prosper that love thee.” Ps. 122:6
1. Questions 1 and 2. Acts 17:26-27. “ [and] He made mankind from one, every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times, and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us...” (Italics mine.)
2. Question 3. Hebrews 11:10, 14- 16. Even Abraham understood that the inheritance of Isaac was a spiritual one and did not involve the literal land of “Israel”, but was a “better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.” The passage goes on to describe the heroic actions of Old Testament men and women who put aside earthly glory, and, through faith, achieved something far more important; that is, the eternal.
3. Question 4. Read the last words of Joshua, Israelite military hero: (Joshua 23:16). “When you transgress the covenant of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, and go and serve other gods, and bow down to them, then the anger of the LORD will burn against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good land which He has given you.” That which Joshua predicted came true in subsequent times.
4. Question 5. It is true that no archaeological evidence for Solomon’s Temple has been found, but the important fact is that Scripture itself discounts the importance of that structure. Acts 7: 47-50 states: “[But it was] Solomon [who] built a house for Him. However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says: ‘Heaven is my Throne, And earth is the footstool of my feet; What kind of house will you build for me?’ says the Lord; 'Or what place is there for my repose? Was it not my hand which made all these things?’” Similarly, Acts 17: 24, 25 states: “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands...” and goes on to state, “...He Himself gives to all life and breath and all things...” It makes a mere building seem rather insignificant, doesn’t it?
5. Question 6. Any hard and fast interpretation of Rev. 16-17, taken alone or combined with any other prophetic portions of Scripture, is mere conjecture. Any time that a prophetic portion of Scripture is interpreted in a way that leads to hatred, suspicion and resentment of the Arab people or any other of the peoples of the world for whom Jesus Christ gave His life, we must rethink that interpretation. Prophesies are given in order to provide mankind with a chance to repent and turn from sin, not to give any particular group of people an opportunity to abuse another. As is illustrated by the Parable of the Prodigal Son, judgment may be deferred by genuine repentance, and the individual or nation warmly welcomed into true fellowship with a loving Heavenly Father.
6. Question 7. See Genesis 17:25.
7. Question 8. We have already looked at Acts 17:26 (See Question 1). Here, the Scripture says that God has determined the places where mankind should dwell, which means we should not be telling others where to live or usurping their homes and lands. This passage goes on to say this is so mankind will seek God. Only He is capable of creating in mankind a new heart and spirit from which true peace may spring. Another passage of Scripture to note in this regard is I Kings 21, where the evil King Ahab, with the help of his wife Jezebel, grabbed the vineyard of an innocent man named Naboth, and had him murdered in the process. Although Ahab eventually repented of this deed and was forgiven, the prophet Elijah made sure that the king understood that his actions made him worthy of death. (I Kings 21:19).
8. Question 9. Galatians 3:26-29 states: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” Born-again Christians let the Jewish people of the world down when they do not preach to them the true gospel of Jesus Christ and instead support a system that is obsolete and powerless. According to this passage, the Palestinian people have every bit as large a place in inheriting the promise as any person calling himself a “Jew.” We are contributing to the judgment against 14 million Jews the world over when we continue to support this state, with its dismal human rights record and disregard of international law. Christians, it is time to set the record straight.
All Biblical quotes taken from New American Standard.