jerusalem chronicles

The Glory of All Lands
By Dr. William L. Sonny Payne

israel map

Part I

What if you had the privilege of choosing one piece of land on earth to call your own that would be passed down to your children perpetually; what would you choose? Would it be the United States, England, Australia or maybe a beautiful Caribbean Island?   What about the country of Israel, would you choose it?

Probably not, but thousands of years ago someone chose the land of Israel, then called Canaan, as His own possession to be passed on to His children.

Due to the worldwide controversy regarding the land of Israel and the Jewish people, I want to devote this teaching to clearing up the issue of who owns the land of Israel (Palestine) today and why there is so much hatred and terrorism directed toward the Jewish people, as well as why the nations of the world are against her and want to divide her land, with the government of the United States being the biggest perpetrator regarding this issue.

In order to bring clarity to who owns the land of Israel today, we must go to the one reliable source of information that has stood the test of time for centuries, the Bible.  In doing so, I want to ask you several questions of utmost importance regarding our subject:

• What land is mentioned most in the Bible?  Israel.
• What city is mentioned most in the Bible?  Jerusalem.
• Where was the Temple where God's Presence dwelt?  Jerusalem.
• Where was Jesus Christ born, raised, worked miracles, was crucified, resurrected and ascended to heaven?  Israel.
• Where was the Holy Spirit poured out on the day of  Pentecost?  Jerusalem, Israel.
• Where did the gospel of the world go forth from?  Israel.
• Where will Antichrist stage his last military campaign from before Jesus' return?  Israel.
• What city will Jesus Christ return to at His Second Coming?  Jerusalem, Israel.
• What city and country will Jesus Christ set up His earthly rule over the nations from?  Jerusalem, Israel.

If these things be so, would it not stand to reason that Israel and Jerusalem are of utmost importance to us today as followers of Jesus Christ?  Therefore, we need to examine who owns the land of Israel, its description, and who has inheritance rights, the Jewish people or the Arabs.

Who owns The Land Of Israel (Canaan, Palestine)?

According to the Scriptures, God owns it.

"The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof: the world, and they that dwell therein."  Psalm 24:1.

God delivers Israel from Egyptian bondage, taking them to the land of Canaan (Israel, Palestine).

"The land shall not be sold forever:  for the land is mine;..." Leviticus 25:23.

In Psalm 85:1, Isaiah 14:25, Jeremiah 2:7, Ezekiel 36:20, Joel 2:18; 3:2, God says it is His land.  

The land of Israel is unique among the nations.  It lies at the crossroads of three continents -- Europe, Asia and Africa.  The main highways of the ancient world ran through it; therefore, whoever controlled the land of Israel, controlled the trade of the world.  It was truly a land flowing with milk and honey, a land which could sustain animals that produced milk, as well as flowering fruit trees and foliage that produced nectar for the bees to make honey.

One of the oldest Hebrew commentaries says that Rabbi Jonathan was sitting under a fig tree, surrounded by his students, when he noticed how the ripe fruit overhead was bursting for richness and dropping its luscious juice on the ground, while at a little distance the unattended udder of a she-goat was no longer able to hold milk.  "Behold," exclaimed the Rabbi, as the two streams mingled, "the literal fulfillment of the promise: 'a land flowing with milk and honey.' "

Israel, "the glory of all lands" reveals the fact that Israel would not only be the principal among all the nations, but would reflect the other nations by its flora, fauna and climate, as well as its mountains, deserts and valleys.  Only about the size of New Jersey, and approximately 150 X 50 miles long and wide, it sustains animals and vegetable life from four different ecological zones; Africa, Asia, Mediterranean and Euro-Siberian.  These zones cross-sect Israel at their extremes.

You can travel from Mount Herman in the north, rising 9,232 feet, to the Sea of Galilee in the northeast where the Jordan River is 656 feet below sea level, dropping to 1312 feet below sea level at the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, to the Negev Desert, the Red Sea and Eilat in the south.

Israel has two rainy seasons; in November through February, called the early and latter rains, where over 70% falls within forty to sixty days.  There are dry wadi beds in Israel that remain dry until the rains fall in the mountains, at which time these dry wadis (river beds) become flooded so quickly that I have seen cars and buses overturned and washed off the roads.

There are 3,000 species of plants, almost 500 species of birds, over 80 species of reptiles and one of the richest and most beautiful coral reefs in the world in Eilat.  It is as if God has taken a piece of every nation on earth to make "His land", the land of Israel.

Who did God give the Land of Israel (Canaan, Palestine) to?

We all realize that since God created the earth, He holds the title deed, but out of all the earth's land mass He chose the land of Israel as His special possession to give to His children, the Jewish people.

A. Again, according to the Scriptures, God gave the land of  Canaan (Israel, Palestine) to Abraham and his descendants, the Jewish people.  God did this because of His blood covenant promise to Abraham.

"And the LORD said unto Abram...Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place (Abraham was in Canaan) where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever."  Genesis 13:14-15.

"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.

B.  God tells Abraham He will establish the covenant with Abraham's son Isaac (not Ishmael) who  will carry on God's promises to Abraham.

"And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac:  and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him."  Genesis 17:19.

C. God then continues His covenant agreement with Abraham through Isaac's son Jacob.

"And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba,...and he lighted upon a certain place,...and he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven:...And behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac:  the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;..." Genesis  28:10-13.

D.  God then carries forward His covenant agreement with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (who's name was changed to Israel) to the twelve tribes of Jacob.

"O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye chidren of Jacob his chosen.  He is the LORD our God: his judgments are in all the earth.  He hath remembered his covenant forever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations.  Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant: Saying, unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance:..."  Psalm 105:6-11.

After God delivered the nation of Israel out of Egypt He took them to Mount Sinai and cut covenant with them as a corporate nation.  He then took them, as His blood covenant people, to the land of Canaan to give it to them as an everlasting possession.  God called the land "HIs holy borders."

"And He brought them to His holy borders.  The mountain which His right hand had acquired.  He also drove out the nations before them, allotted them an inheritance by survey,..."  Psalm 78:54,55.

God brought His blood covenant people out of Egypt under the Abrahamic Covenant, took them to Mount Sinai and cut covenant with them there as a nation under the Mosaic Covenant, giving them their civil, religious, military and political laws. He then took them into the land of Canaan, which later became known as the land of Israel.  A blood covenant people needed a covenant land, and God had chosen Canaan for them.  Since God created and owns the world, He chose to give the title deed to the land of Canaan to the Jewish people as an everlasting possession.

Part II: Should the Land Of Israel be divided?

The controversy is raging today regarding the land of Israel as to who owns it, the Jews or the Arabs (Palestinians) and should the land be divided up for a Palestinian State.  So many lies have continued to be propagated over the last several decades by the Arab nations that the land of Israel belongs to them that the nations of the world have bought into it.  But how did all of this come about, especially since the Jewish people possessed the land for about 3,500 years, where they built two Temples on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, Israel as their center of worship of the true God. until 132 A.D. when most of them were cast out of the land into the nations of the world in what is known as "The Diaspora."

"Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings:...And I scattered them among the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of his land."  Ezekiel 36:17, 19.

But God said He would bring them back into their land in the last days before Jesus Christ returns to set up His world rule out of Jerusalem.

"Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel...But ye, O mountains of Israel (Judea and Samaria - the West Bank), ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel for they are at hand to come.  For, Behold, I am for you, and I will  turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown:  And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded:..."  Ezekiel 36:6, 8-10.

"For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you...and I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk i my statutes...and ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God."  Ezekiel 36:24, 25, 27, 28.

For almost 2,000 years the Jewish people were outside the land of Israel, except for a very small remnant. Then, on November 27, 1947, the United Nations ratified the agreement for the Jewish people to have their own land back; the land of Israel.  On May 14, 1948, Israel declared themselves a nation again with their own land.  It was a modern day miracle. Since that day, Israel has had to fight several wars against the Arabs who have been intent on wiping her from the face of the earth, but each time Israel has come out victorious, for God is with her and has called her back to her land in these last days before the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah and Savior of the world.

Today we hear the word "Palestinian", or the phrase "Palestinian Territory", as well as "Israli-occupied Palestinian Territory" as if Israel has stolen the land and are there illegally. So let us go back in time and discover where the word Palestine originated from.

The word "Palestine" is derived from "Peleshet", which in English is Palestine.  It was first used in the Thirteenth Century BCE, for the Philistines who were a Sea People that came from the Greek Islands and settled on the southern coast along the Mediterranean Sea.  They established five independent city-states which were Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, Ashdod and Gath.  There is a belief that they may have originally been Egyptians since Egypt is called Mitsrayim.  God says in Amos 9:7, "...Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?"  Below is some history of the Philistines and where they originated from.


The name is found written in hieroglyphics in the Temple of Korn Ombos in Upper Egypt.  But the exact situation of Caphtor is unknown, though it is supposed to be Crete, since the Philistines seem to be meant by the Cherethites in I Samuel 30:14 (see also 2 Samuel 8:18).  It may, "however, have been a part of Egypt, the Caphtur in the north" "Delta, since the Caphtorim were of the same race as the Mizaraite" people (Genesis 10:14; I Chronicles 1:12. Quote from official King James Bible online.

The Philistines were not Arabs or Semites, nor was their language or history Arabic.  Today, the Palestinians use the word Falastin for Palestine, which is an Arabic pronunciation for the Roman name Palastina, which comes from Peleshet.  They borrowed the name from the Romans when the Romans drove Israel out of their land in the Second Century and Emperor Hadrian changed the name of Israel to Palastina and Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina to try and destroy the identity of Israel, Judah and Judea.

A great portion of what is known today as Jordan which did not exist until Great Britain divided up the Middle East under the British Mandate, was initially given to Israel as part of their territory.  But due to Arab pressure Britain broke that promise and allotted Israel the land west of the Jordan River.  In 1948 Trans-Jordan gained control of what is know today as "the West Bank", plus East Jerusalem and the Old City.  This lasted until the Six Day War of 1967 when Israel regained the land along with East Jerusalem and the Old City, thus unifying their beloved capital city after almost 2,000 years.  It is interesting that the Arabs cared nothing about the land of Israel until the Jewish people began to return, turned the malaria infested swamps into fertile land, rebuilt their cities and began to prosper.  The land of Israel lay desolate for centuries while the Jewish people were exiled, and it was only after they began to return did it begin to blossom as a rose.  It was God's covenant land for His covenant people the Jews, therefore it would not prosper until its rightful owners returned.

The Palestine Liberation Movement was founded in 1964 with one purpose in mind, to destroy Israel.  The Six Day War of 1967 brought about a change of strategy for the Arabs.  Since they had lost every war, they decided to start a propaganda machine called "the liberation of Falastin" (Palestine) in which they were the victims of the land grabbing Jews.  The nations, as well as the media, began to buy into this bogus claim and today this big lie is propagated as truth throughout the world. But again, there has never been a Palestinian State with a Palestinian people.  They are Arabs.  They dress Arabic, speak Arabic and eat Arabic food.  The displaced Arabs in Gaza are only pawns in the hand of Arab leaders to stoke the furnace of fury against the Jewish people.  But God is going to have the last word in the situation.  And by the way, Allah is not the God of creation, of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the Jewish people, nor is he the God of the followers of Jesus Christ.  It is an invention of the so-called prophet Mohammad in the Seventh Century.

So, today Israel is in a constant battle for its very existence, therefore, we as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ must pray for and support Israel and the Jewish people.  The Bible tells us that those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse Israel will be cursed.

God brought (Israel) forth out of Egypt; (Israel) has strength like the wild ox; he shall eat up the nations, his enemies, crushing their bones and piercing them thorough with his arrows.  he couched, he lay down as a lion; and as a lioness, who shall  rouse him? Blessed (of God) is he who blesses you (who prays for and contributes to your welfare) and cursed (of God) is he who curses you (who in word, thought, or deed would bring harm upon you).  Numbers 24:8, 9, Amplified Bible.

What is your position today regarding Israel and the Jewish people.  Have you bought into the lie that they are usurpers of Arab land or do you accept the truth of God's Word that He gave the land to the Jewish people as an everlasting possession?  Do you want to be blessed or cursed by Almighty God?  The choice is yours.

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