Israel—Arab Palestinian

Arno Froese

And thou shalt speak and say before the Lord thy God, A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous” (Deuteronomy 26:5).

While Israel has over 3,500 years of recorded history in the land of Canaan, they are being admonished in Scripture to remember that they were foreigners—immigrants. The Jews have the most accurately preserved documentation, backed up by history and archaeology; still, it does not change the fact that they too are strangers in the land.

When we read the chapter of faith, Hebrew 11, we notice that those who believed and had faith in God, “… confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country” (verses 13b-14).

This entails a tremendous and strong message for Christians, wherever they reside on planet earth. The Bible allows no room for nationalism or patriotic pride. We who believe constitute a unique nation about 2,000 years old. We reside in all the countries of the world, speak hundreds of different languages, practice various cultures, but we are one nation in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Israel received clear instruction of their constitutional right to the land. “The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine, for ye are strangers and sojourners with me” (Leviticus 25:23). It’s important to point out the last two words, “with me.” These are the direct words of God the Father; He identifies Himself with the Israelites as “strangers and sojourners.” Yet long before that, God made this irrevocable covenant with Abraham: “In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates” (Genesis 15:18).

When we look at Israel, at the present and in history, we see a clear picture God paints for us: who we are, how we are to behave, and what our responsibility is toward God’s eternal covenant.

Israel—Arab Palestinian
Wikipedia has this to say about the origin of the name Palestine:

The term “Peleset” (transliterated from hieroglyphs as P-r-s-t) is found in five inscriptions referring to a neighboring people or land starting from circa 1150 BC during the Twentieth Dynasty of Egypt. The first known mention is at the temple at Medinet Habu which refers to the Peleset among those who fought with Egypt in Ramesses III’s reign, and the last known is 300 years later on Padiiset’s Statue. The Assyrians called the same region “Palashtu/Palastu” or “Pilistu,” beginning with Adad-nirari III in the Nimrud Slab in c. 800 BC through to an Esarhaddon treaty more than a century later. Neither the Egyptian nor the Assyrian sources provided clear regional boundaries for the term.

Quite apparently, they too are immigrants to the land of Canaan, although at a much later date than the Hebrews. Thus, with assurance we can say that the Arab Palestinians are not the original inhabitants of the land of Israel. We also note that, when God made the unconditional covenant with Abraham to give his descendants the land, He enumerates ten groups of people who dwelled in that land, from the River of Egypt to the great Euphrates: “The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites” (Genesis 15:19-21). There is no mention of any Palestinians; thus, they obviously came at a later date.

A recent article by the Associated Press reveals the following:

Goliath the Greek? Human remains from an ancient cemetery in southern Israel have yielded precious bits of DNA that a new study says help prove the European origin of the Philistines—the enigmatic nemeses of the biblical Israelites.

The Philistines mostly resided in five cities along the southern coast of what is today Israel and the Gaza Strip during the early Iron Age, around 3,000 years ago. In the Bible, David fought the Philistine giant Goliath in a duel, and Samson slew a thousand of their warriors with the jawbone of an ass.

Now, a study of genetic material extracted from skeletons unearthed in the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon in 2013 has found a DNA link. It connects the Philistines to populations in southern Europe during the Bronze Age.

The study, spearheaded by researchers from Germany’s Max Planck Institute and Wheaton College in Illinois, was published in the research journal Science Advances.

The biblical account relates that the Philistines originally hailed from a distant isle. An Egyptian temple built by Rameses III bears reliefs of battles with “Sea Peoples” who appeared on the shores of the eastern Mediterranean. One group listed in the Egyptian text is strikingly similar to the Hebrew name for Philistines. Excavations of Philistine sites have found ceramics and architecture that differed from those of their neighbors in ancient Canaan.

The study found that the remains dating to the early Iron Age—the period associated with many of the stories involving Philistines in the Bible—were genetically distinct from their Levantine neighbors, and had close similarities with populations in southern Europe.

“We see in their DNA a European component from the West that appears in a substantial enough way that we can demonstrate it statistically, we can show that it’s different,” said Daniel Master, an archaeologist with Wheaton College who headed the expedition in Ashkelon. “It basically says the people came from outside, not just the style of pottery.”

“There was this pulse of people coming in, and then they kind of mixed in into the local population, so a few hundred years later they are almost indistinguishable” from the surrounding Levantine gene pool, said Michal Feldman, an archeogeneticist at the Planck Institute and one of the paper’s lead authors.

The results point to a possible southern European origin for the Philistines—anywhere from Cyprus to Sardinia—but further study of ancient remains is needed to narrow down the search.

-www.apnews.com, 3 July 2019

This points to the origin of the Philistines, namely as southern Europeans. As a matter of fact, using Carbon-14 dating technology, the arrival of the Philistines is presumed to be around 1200 BC. What happened to these ancient Philistines? The prophet Amos answers: “And I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, and him that holdeth the sceptre from Ashkelon, and I will turn mine hand against Ekron: and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord God” (Amos 1:8).

This is another lesson for Christians: God the Creator controls humanity, although he is subject to the god of this world. God’s prophetic plan, as proclaimed thought the prophets and apostles, will be implemented to its finest detail. He is not limited by government decisions, political dictates, international borders, languages or agreements. He resolutely implements what He has caused to be written in His Word. About Israel, it says: “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes” (Romans 11:28). That is even fitting in our days, for Israel indeed is an enemy of the gospel, but “they are beloved for the fathers’ sake.”

Midnight Call - 09/2019

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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