Why I believe in peace between Israelis and Palestinians

Marko Joensuu         1 comment
Many Christians hesitate to pray for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and especially for the Palestinians, as they believe, mistakenly, that according to the Bible, peace between these two nations isn’t in God’s plans.

Yet, over 2,500 years ago, the prophet Ezekiel painted a prophetic picture of the End Time Israel living peacefully with their neighbours on the “mountains of Israel”. And I find it astounding that none of the ‘specialists’ in the End Time prophecy ever mention it.

This might come as a shock to you but, according to the Bible, the End Time mortal danger of annihilation against Israel won’t ever be rising from Israel’s Arabic neighbourhood. And that gives us the full right and spiritual authority to pray for Israel and Palestine to coexist peacefully together—in line with the Bible prophecy!

Ezekiel’s unwalled and peaceful Israel

Ezekiel 38:8-12 tells how in the End Times Israel will be attacked by Gog and its allies. We don’t know what Gog is but it comes from the north, and it most definitely isn’t any of Israel’s current neighbours.

Prophet Ezekiel writes,

“After many days you will be visited. In the latter years you will come into the land of those brought back from the sword and gathered from many people on the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate; they were brought out of the nations, and now all of them dwell safely. You will ascend, coming like a storm, covering the land like a cloud, you and all your troops and many peoples with you.

Thus says the Lord God: 'On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan: You will say, "I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates"— to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land.'” (Ezekiel 38:8-12)

I want you to read what you have just read and slowly. In fact, read it again, slowly. Here is a clear promise of God that Israel will have peace with her neighbours in the End Times. Not with the rest of the world until eternity, but peace with her neighbours.

But let’s break this prophecy down.

According to the Bible, the End Time Israel that has returned will be living in “unwalled villages” in peace with her neighbours. According to Ezekiel, even the current wall dividing the Palestinians and Israel will come down, as it won’t be needed.

“The mountains of Israel” is clearly geographically a lot smaller area than the whole Promised Land. So, according to the Bible, Israel won’t be taking possession of the whole Promised Land anytime soon. I don’t think that the borders of this area are defined completely by the geography of the mountains but for example the Gaza Strip—and Tel Aviv—are outside the geographical mountains of Israel, so I would think these are only rough coordinates.

Let’s compare the mountains of Israel to the Promised Land in Genesis 15:18-21,

“On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: ‘To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates—the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.’”

So, according to Ezekiel, the End Time Israel won’t ever be stretching to the whole Promised Land. 

I know some of you don’t believe your eyes right now so, I want you to read the whole chapter of Ezekiel 38 again. In fact, please read the whole book! And the whole Bible. I have read every book in the Bible, but nowhere have I come across any prophecy that would somehow curse the relationships between the End Time Israel and her neighbours so that they could never live in peace.

Why isn’t anyone teaching this?

The natural question is that if this clear prophecy is in the Bible, why isn’t anyone teaching it? What have most of the End Time ‘prophecy’ specialists been teaching for the last fifty years?

A false doctrine.

And this false doctrine about the never-ending Israeli-Arab war has been formulated by an anti-Christian spirit that is seeking to stop the Middle East and Israel from being evangelised and won for Jesus.

We can see it working today all across the Middle East—including Israel.

I have heard some Christians say that any peace in the Middle East will be a false peace. They are wrong. It won’t. How could it be a false peace if God has decreed it? These Christians are arrogant enough to disagree with God!

Now, I am not teaching some new doctrine but a 2,500-year-old prophecy by the Prophet Ezekiel. This is not a word from John Hagee—gone tomorrow— but an infallible Word of God.

But why is the false teaching of the never-ending war between the Arabs and Israelis so prevalent, especially in the charismatic church?

1. Guilt for the Holocaust

We feel guilty for the Holocaust, and rightfully so. The Holocaust took place in the Christian Europe. In fact, over the centuries, the Jews have been persecuted more by Christians than by any other group. For example, the Crusaders massacred most Jews they could find in the Holy Land. And, Martin Luther wrote antisemitic pamphlets that over centuries affected the German psyche to the point that the Holocaust became theologically justified in many German minds. In fact, through the centuries the Jews escaped Christians to Muslim countries where the Jewish communities thrived.

Yes, we should feel guilty for the Holocaust, but we shouldn’t make the Arabs pay for that guilt.

2. False prophets and false teaching

Most Christians assume that the Bible ‘teachers’ and ‘prophets’ who teach about Israel and the End Times have in fact studied the Bible! Unfortunately, that’s not true. Take a few popular Christian End Times books: Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change by John Hagee, The Islamic Antichrist: The Shocking Truth about the Real Nature of the Beast by Joel Richardson, and The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery That Holds the Secret of America's Future by Jonathan Cahn—not one of them have much to do with sound interpretation of Bible prophecy. 

What the false prophets often do is to read the news and project them into the future, rather than actually study the Bible to discover what it really says. But I guess that would take far too much time and effort. And they are making a lot of money out of people’s fears.

3. Not understanding the difference between the three returns

The Jews have returned to Israel three times if you include the exodus, and each time it has meant different things. For example, when the Jews returned from Babylon and began to build the new temple, the Bible says,

 “But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers' houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy.” (Ezra 3:12)

These priests had seen the glory of Solomon’s temple, and the new temple was a disappointment to them.

And, after the return from Babylon the Jews never regained the territory they had governed under King David and King Solomon.

And it is questionable whether the Bible actually prophesies the building of the Third Temple or not. Linked to this, many confuse messianic prophecies with prophecies regarding historical Israel.

4. Compressed nature of the Bible prophecy

Not all Bible prophecy is easy to interpret. For example in Mark 13 Jesus moves freely between prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans and the End Times which has confused many Bible scholars greatly. And many End Time ‘teachers’ base their interpretation on ambiguous verses rather than the clear prophecy of Ezekiel 38.

5. Not knowing history

Every student and teacher of End Time prophecy should also be a student of history, but that’s rarely the case. But how do you know whether a prophecy of the Bible has come to pass, unless you know history? How many Old Testament prophecies did come to pass through the Hasmonean Kingdom (140BC-37BC), the Jewish Kingdom that ruled over nearly as large area than King David and King Solomon?

But hardly any End Time prophecy teacher seems to even be aware of this Second Jewish Kingdom, perhaps as they have never read 1 and 2 Maccabees.

6. Fear of Islam

Today, fear of Islam plays heavily in the mind of many Westerners, and we easily lump all Muslims together, not understanding decisive differences between them. Hence, it is enough for many to know that Hamas are Muslims, and many Christians believe that it automatically means they would want the death of every Jew and Christian. Yes, Hamas is no collection of saints, but most Christians know nothing about them, hence it’s easy to see them as demonic monsters.

7. Knowing nothing about West Bank and Gaza

Many Christians travel to the Holy Land but spend no time with the Palestinians. Hence they have zero understanding about the real oppression they are under. I have been to West Bank and witnessed firsthand the suffering of the Palestinians. I don’t think most Westerners who criticise the Palestinians for aggression could survive a month in West Bank or Gaza without getting really angry at the Israelis.

The sad truth is that even during peace most Palestinians are under more danger than most Israelis during war. For most people living in Gaza, they are always in war, even when other people call that war peace.  

8. Racism

Many Israelis are Europeans and Americans, and we feel cultural affinity with them. Most Arabs are—well, Arabs.

9. Selective following of news

I have heard thousand times how ‘biased’ secular news media is against Israel. Unfortunately, that is not true. It is fairer to say that most Western media is actually biased against the Palestinians. For example, we all heard about the three Israeli teenagers whose murders triggered the current war. That was tragic. But did you ever hear about the two unarmed Palestinian teenagers who were summarily executed by an Israeli sniper few weeks before? Here is the link to the verified CCTV footage. I believe this event triggered the revenge murder of the Israeli teenagers—an act that can’t be justified but makes more sense when you know that two Palestinian teenagers had just been executed by an Israeli sniper.

Many Christians switch to ‘unbiased’ Christians news sources that when it comes to bias, are often nothing but propaganda from the IDF that is trying to win a war rather than give unbiased information. As a Christian journalist, it hurts to say it but most Christians who write about the Middle East are unashamedly biased, as they don’t care about the truth, as they are simply trying to win an argument.

And hardly anyone bothers to follow the Israeli news that will give a lot more balanced picture than most charismatic Christians news sources. Twenty years ago, I spent two years researching the Israeli media for my degree in journalism, so this isn't a light statement. I will shortly post a blog post on my research results, as in twenty years, nothing much as changed!

But no one ever believes anything a Palestinian or an Arab says!

I believe that as Christians it is our responsibility to be truthful rather than trying to simply win an argument.

Today it is so easy to find the news you want, the way you want them, and not worry about whether they are true.

If you want to know what is really going on please visit West Bank or Gaza, and not only Israel. You will come back disillusioned about Israel's policy in the Occupied Territories. But most Christians want to keep their glittering image about the Holy Land intact, and they never want to talk to Palestinians.

10. Forgetting that God blessed Esau and Ishmael also

In Genesis 17:20 God speaks to Abraham: “And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.”

In Genesis 27:39-40 God blesses Esau, “Behold, your dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above. By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; and it shall come to pass, when you become restless, that you shall break his yoke from your neck.”

We can’t know exactly who the sons of daughters of Ishmael and Esau are, but I’m sure they live somewhere in the Middle East. And God has blessed them all!

11. Fear of sounding antisemitic

In their hearts, many Christians criticise the actions of the Israeli military and settlers but they say nothing for fear of sounding antisemitic.

12. Fear of losing the blessing

We have heard many times that whoever blesses Israel will prosper. In fact, that is one of the main tenets of the prosperity gospel. And yet most of the Old Testament prophecy is criticism of Israel!

If my friends are doing wrong, would it bless them if I ignored it? Or would it bless them if I asked them to do the right thing?

Leviticus 19:34 says, “The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

That must include the Palestinians.  Here God is commanding the Israelis to love the Palestinians! As a nation they have yet to begin to do so. No wonder many Orthodox Jews perceive the Israeli state to be an ungodly institution. After all, they are the ones who still read the Torah. 

Do we love Israel if we tolerate them when they hate Palestinians? Or do we bless them when we help them to love the stranger among them?

What is the Promised Land?

How do you reconcile Ezekiel’s prophecy with the rest of the Bible prophecy? According to Ezekiel, in the End Times the Jews would return, but it is clear that they wouldn’t take hold of the whole Promised Land. That’s the adjustment we all need to do in our mind. I challenge you to read the Bible to find out yourself what God really says about Israel in the End Times. Don’t believe every false prophet or teacher.

After the resurrection of Jesus, the disciples asked Him about the restoration of Israel.

“Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’” (Acts 1:6-8)

Jesus immediately corrected the disciples and said that they were asking the wrong question. Many charismatic Christians need that same correction from Jesus into their lives.

It is noteworthy that, historically, Israel has never taken possession of the whole Promised Land, although depending on how you measure the land it was close during the David’s and Solomon’s Kingdom.

2 Samuel 8:1-6 tells of King David’s conquests:

“After this it came to pass that David attacked the Philistines and subdued them. And David took Metheg Ammah from the hand of the Philistines. Then he defeated Moab. Forcing them down to the ground, he measured them off with a line. With two lines he measured off those to be put to death, and with one full line those to be kept alive. So the Moabites became David’s servants, and brought tribute. David also defeated Hadadezer the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to recover his territory at the River Euphrates. David took from him one thousand chariots, seven hundred horsemen, and twenty thousand foot soldiers. Also David hamstrung all the chariot horses, except that he spared enough of them for one hundred chariots. When the Syrians of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah, David killed twenty-two thousand of the Syrians. Then David put garrisons in Syria of Damascus; and the Syrians became David’s servants, and brought tribute.” (2 Samuel 8:1-6)

This united Israel existed for less than hundred years; the kingdom was split after King Solomon.

Isn’t it shocking that the Jews have never had the whole Promised Land in their possession? 

Could there be any alternative interpretations about to whom the Promised Land belongs to?

Many Christians believe that the Promised Land belongs to all Abraham’s children, and if you include Ishmael and Esau as Abraham’s descendants, they might well have inhabited even the largest version of the Promised Land.

Personally, I believe that the apostle Paul gives the best interpretation of to whom the Promised Land belongs to.

“If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:29)

I believe that hidden in the promise is a prophecy about the nations of the Promised Land one day belonging to Jesus, and truly becoming Abraham’s seed! I believe than in the next decades we will begin to see whole areas of the Middle East turning to Jesus, according to God’s promise to give the whole land to the children of Abraham. So, God won’t give all of the Promised Land to Israel but He will make the people of the Promised Land His people! This doesn’t take anything away from Israel, as God has placed Israel where she belongs to, right at the centre of the world, and no one will ever be able to uproot her.

So, I pray for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians simply because God has promised it.
It might not look like it but one day they will live in peace!
Published by Marko Joensuu

Marko Joensuu has worked for over sixteen years in the publishing and media ministries of Kensington Temple. He is an author, publisher and screenwriter.
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1 comment:

  1. Wow! I am so Grateful for this article. Have lots of homework to do, now! Please re-post this article, if you are able, in other news outlets. It’s important to do so, now. Bless You!!




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