Does the Bible forbid a Palestinian state?

Issue paper

by Philip Rosenthal Does Bible prophecy forbid the formation of a Palestinian state?

18 December 2001

With respect to Bible prophecy and politics, the Bible does not explicitly forbid the formation of a Palestinian state, but one can say that a Palestinian state within the core area of the Land of Israel would in the long term be incompatible with God's promise to Abraham. Arafat has been killing members of his own people who sell land to Jews and there is evidence he has been preparing for war against the Jewish settlements in the areas he claims for his state. He has also been inciting terrorism against Jews living in the areas he wants. Thus such a state is an attempt to frustrate the fulfilment of Gods promise. It would therefore be unlikely to ever be realised and if it is, it will probably be very short lived. The Palestinian Arabs already have a state - which is called "Jordan" and includes the same race of Arabs as currently living in Israel. Those Arabs who want self-determination can sell their land (at very high first world prices) to Jews and move across the Jordan and buy land there (at very cheap third world prices). Those happy to live under Israeli rule can stay in Israel and enjoy a measure of self-determination in areas such as education of children. As they do now, they will be able to enjoy the prosperity of a country blessed by God, with higher educational, health and living standards much higher than Arabs in neighbouring countries. What they must not be allowed to do is to have a heavily armed rival military within shooting distance of Israeli cities; use their education and media institutions to incite hatred against Israel and to use their justice and policing system to protect those who plot the bombing of Israelis. This is what they are doing now, but a Palestinian state would make this legitimate. IS PROPHECY AN OBLIGATION TO ACT? Now some may ask whether the fact that the Bible prophecies something then automatically gives us an obligation to work for its fulfilment in a political sense? Firstly, God does not need our help. He is quite capable of fulfilling prophecy without our willing co-operation. Most Jews who returned to Israel, did so not out of belief in the Bible, but because the countries in which they previously lived became unsafe for Jews to live in - and Israel was the only country willing to accept them. When God makes promises in scripture, he does not always explain all the detail of how he will fulfil it and could do so in more than one way. Centuries back, British Christian Zionists had suggested that the Jews should be returned to Israel with the help of the British Navy. It didn't happen this way. In fact, the British as rulers of the Land of Israel in 1945 imposed a Naval blockade to try to prevent holocaust refugees from reaching Israel. Those they captured, they forced to turn back to Europe or impounded on Cyprus. Nevertheless, Britain has faced the consequences of its betrayal of Israel. At that time, Britain was a super-power. Now it has only minor influence.

Does the Bible forbid the formation of a Palestinian state?


When God promises to do something - he will do it - with or without our co-operation. Those who try get in his way are going to suffer. Very often, God will use ungodly people to help fulfil his purposes. For example, Daniel 11:14 "In those times many will rise against the king of the South. The violent men among your own people will rebel in fulfilment of the vision, but without success.". The Bible includes more prophecies of cursing against the Jewish people (e.g. Deut 28) than prophecies of blessing. Should Christians then help fulfil these prophecies of cursing - as have many anti-Semitic Christians? No! Definitely not! The Bible is full of prophecies about the suffering of Jesus. Does this mean that it was right o kill Jesus? No! The Bible also talks about false prophets and deceivers and moral decline in the last days (e.g. 2 Tim 3:1 and 2 Peter 3:3). Should we help fulfil these prophecies? No! So no, we do not have an obligation to help fulfil every prophecy in the Bible. Nevertheless, we must understand the way that the prophecies of scripture fit in with the total plan of God. God's plan is for every nation to hear the gospel - and after this for Israel to hear and accept it. Then, after God has accomplished his purpose for Israel and the world, Jesus will return - human history will close and everyone will be judged. BUT ISRAEL IS IN REBELLION AGAINST GOD Some argue that since Israel is in rebellion against God - having rejected their messiah Jesus and now the Jewish state is largely secular (with for example legal abortion) - then the Jewish people are under God's curse and have thus forfeited their right to the land. Now it is true that Israel is in rebellion against God - and this helps to explain why the country is suffering so much with wars and terrorism, but it does not: i. justify anyone from taking a hostile position against Israel; ii. forfeit the right of Israel to the land of Israel. The point is that God made his promise to Abraham and not just to modern Israelis. Abraham had faith. The fact that very few modern Israelis have faith does not negate God's promise to Abraham. RO 3:3 What if some did not have faith? Will their lack of faith nullify God's faithfulness? RO 11:28-29 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable. EZE 36:22 "Therefore say to the house of Israel, `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. In other words, despite their wickedness, God is still going to keep his promises to Israel - not because Israel is good, but because the honour of Gods name depends on him keeping his promises to Abraham. HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND? In the Bible, we see Daniel read the prophecies of scripture and saw they were not for his time nevertheless he began praying for their fulfilment. Daniel 9:2-3 " the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes."
Does the Bible forbid the formation of a Palestinian state.doc 27 August, 2002

Does the Bible forbid the formation of a Palestinian state?


Likewise, Nehemiah and Ezra acted on the prophecy to help fulfil it. Nehemiah's response was: NE 1:4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. NE 2:12 I set out during the night with a few men. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on. So the correct response is to pray for Israel and do whatever God puts into our hearts to do.

Please do copy and distribute this article. Comments and questions welcome.
by Philip Rosenthal Contact at (021) 6854500 or Postnet 114, P/Bag X18, Rondebosch, 7701, South Africa Please send us a copy of any article quoting from this and acknowledge <>. More articles and pamphlets on issues can be found at

Does the Bible forbid the formation of a Palestinian state.doc

27 August, 2002

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