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ISRAEL AND PALESTINE

Another war between Israel and the Jews on one side, and various Palestinian and Muslim groups on the other. Is there any way to peace? As far as I can see the only way to peace is for both sides to turn to Jesus.

The problem is that the Jews are still living in the world of the Old Testament. Of course, they are, this is their Bible. They have rejected Jesus, and so long as they go on rejecting Jesus there will be no peace. What we now call Palestine is for Israel the Promised Land. Coming out of Egypt 3500 years ago Moses told the people of Israel, “In the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them – Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites – as the Lord your God commanded you.” (Deuteronomy 20.16-17), which is the pattern of what Joshua did, in Jericho: “They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it – men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.” (Joshua 6.21).

With the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, this would obviously still be the aim of every pious Jew: to rid the land of its former inhabitants, the Palestinians. If the state of Israel wishes to retain the support of any of the Westernised, Christianised countries of the world in the 20th and 21st centuries, then they have to go about it with less violence than Joshua did. But presumably this is still the aim and ambition of devout Israeli Jews, whatever their leaders may say. And it explains the ruthlessness of the Israeli response to the latest incursions of Hamas.

On the other side, the Palestinians are committed to fighting back, as the nations surrounding Israel of old constantly did, the Philistines, the Canaanites, the Midianites and all the others. In addition, another complication has arisen since then, in the form of Islam. Not only are the present conflicts in the Middle East wars over territory, but also over religion. Islam has always been a militant faith. At first the inhabitants of Mecca had rejected Mohammed and he established his base in Medina. From there, by a number of military expeditions, against both Arab tribes and Jews, Mohammed succeeded in subduing the Meccans, taking possession of the city as the capital of Islam. In the ensuing centuries Islam expanded under a succession of Caliphs, conquering the whole of the Middle East, North Africa and Spain and even threatening France in the 8th century.

So today, we have two peoples and two religions fighting a never-ending battle for possession of the Jewish Promised Land and the supremacy of Islam. The conflicts in Israel/Palestine are not just conflicts over land, but conflicts of religion, the only solution for which is the conversion of the people of both faiths, from Judaism and Islam to faith in the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.

Some hopes, I hear you say, and I tend to agree. So, we can expect a resurgence of these troubles again and again until the Lord Jesus comes in glory.

_____

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