The Restoration of Palestine
M.R. DeHaan

"For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land" (Joel 3:1,2).

The land of Palestine, about which there is so much difference of opinion today, was given by an everlasting covenant to the twelve tribes of Israel.  Because of their disobedience they have been out of the land and scattered among the nations for many centuries; but they are soon again to be restored, according to the promise of God.  These lands have lain practically in waste for two millenniums, but recent years have seen a tremendous revival of interest in the return of Israel to Palestine.  Millions and millions of dollars have been invested in the development of the incalculable, fantastic natural resources of the land.  Thousands of the seed of Jacob have immigrated to Palestine, having been driven by persecution from other countries, until now the very flower of Jewish culture is there.

Agriculturally the land of Palestine has seen the greatest boom of all time.  Thousands of acres of land have been brought under cultivation.  Irrigation projects running into millions of dollars have been started, and scientific agricultural methods are causing the land to produce some of the finest and choicest fruits in all the world.  Surely the "dry bones" are coming together again.

In the last few years Palestine has also become the home of culture, education, and intellect.  The Hebrew University on Mt. Scopus, near Jerusalem, has on its faculty men with some of the brightest, keenest minds in all the world.  The famous professors who are teaching in this university are largely refugees from other European lands.  This university today has more than one thousand students.  Among them are one hundred American Jews who are studying there at the expense of the G.I. Bill of Rights.

In recent years the Zionist movement, organized as a world-wide attempt of Jewry, led by some of its ablest minds, has fostered the setting aside of Palestine as a home for the nation of Israel.  As a result of this there is in the land of Palestine today a vigorous, growing nation of several million Jews.  Diplomatic recognition has been won, the land is being reclaimed, industry is being established, and international trade is being carried on.  Israel has been reborn.  As a result of this the Israelite nation has been revived.

Toward the close of World War I certain events took place which made many earnest Christian students believe that the time of Israel's restoration, the setting up of the Kingdom, and the return of the Messiah was very near.  The Allies took Palestine, and General Allenby marched into the city and delivered it from the domination of those who had held it for many centuries.  It was then that a modest little Jewish chemist made a wonderful offer to the leaders of Great Britain.  At an hour of apparent defeat for the Allies this Jewish scientist, Dr. Chaim Weizmann, who is now president of Palestine, introduced a formula for the most powerful explosive ever discovered up to that time--TNT.  He donated the discovery to his beloved country, Britain.  That was the one event which did more to turn the tide of victory for the Allies than anything else.  This is a matter of history, and it may be corroborated by reference to an encyclopedia.

Then Lord Balfour announced that in the event of victory over the enemy the land of Palestine would be given to the nation of Israel as their national home--the dream of Zionism.  The war did end as a result of the contribution of this Jewish chemist, Dr. Weizmann, and the Balfour Declaration gave Britain the mandate over the land of Palestine.  Here, we believe, was Britain's golden opportunity.  She had it in her power to clear land of its unlawful possessers and make it exclusively the home of God's scattered people.  All Christendom believed that the time for the restoration had come.

However, for reasons of expedience or otherwise, this dream and this promise were never fully realized.  Instead of Palestine's being given to Israel and set aside as a home for the nation, the Arabs, the direct descendants of Ishmael, were permitted to remain in the land together with the seed of Isaac.  Thus we have the history of the tent of Abraham repeated.

If only the nations had kept their promise to set aside the Holy Land as a national refuge and return it to its rightful possessors, God might have raised many more of the seed of Jacob like Dr. Weizmann to bring additonal blessing and help to the nations of the world.  I am positive in my own mind that had the nations kept their promise, World War II would never have broken out.

All of this, of course, is repetition of the history of the tent of Abraham.  Abraham had, among other children, Ishmael, the first-born, and Isaac, who was the son of promise.  As long as Ishmael was alone in the tent of Abraham there was no difficulty.  But as soon as Isaac, the son of promise, was born to Abraham, God's Word was, "Cast out this bondwoman and her son...for in Isaac shall thy seed by called."  At first Abraham refused, but God made it very clear to him that Isaac and Ishmael could not live together in the same tent.

Isaac was the father of Israel, and Ishmael was the father of the Ishmaelites.  The present-day Arabs are the direct descendants of Ishmael, the first-born of Abraham.  They were in the land first because Ishmael was born before Isaac; but God had promised the land to Isaac, the son of the covenant.  Historically that experience is being repeated.  The land had been promised as a homeland for the descendants of Isaac through Jacob, but there has been trouble ever since, because Ishmael has occupied the land, not only before Isaac's coming but also after Isaac's re-establishment in the land.  The Palestinian problem will continue until, in obedience to God, the sons of the bondwoman are put out to make way for the sons of promise.

The Division of the Land

After the default of the Balfour Declaration and the failure to set aside all of Palestine as the exclusive national home for Israel, probably the greatest mistake of all history was made.  In taking up this tragic error may I state that we are not trying to be critical in any way or find fault; we are merely seeking to set forth the teaching of the Word in the hope that it may come to the attention of some who are in a position to do something about it, in order that God's plan, which can never be ignored, might be carried out.

Because of the continual fighting of the Jews and the Arabs, the land of Palestine has been divided in an effort to quiet the unrest.  The Word of God is definitely clear in stating that to divide the land of Palestine is to commit a crime which God will not permit to go unjudged.  Let us examine the Word of the Lord concerning this division.

At the beginning of this chapter we referred to Joel, chapter 3, and we repeat the passage:

"For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land" (Joel 3:1,2).

Note very carefully the two reasons why God himself says that He is going to judge the nations of the world.  First, He will judge them because they have scattered His people among the nations.  Second, He will judge them because they have parted, or divided, His land.  Remember that God says, "It is my land," and this refers to the land of Palestine.  The first sin, then, which many of the nations have committed, was that of persecuting and scattering God's people, and we have seen these nations go down one after another.  The second great error is the partitioning of the Promised Land.  Turn to Daniel 11, which describes the last act of the Antichrist, the man of sin, who will reign in the world after the Rapture of the Church.

"Thus shall he (the Antichrist) do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain" (Dan. 11:39).

Then follows immediately the record of God's judgment upon this man of sin and of his ultimate ruin, all because of the particular sin of dividing the land.  May I repeat, the judgment of God is pronounced upon the man of sin immediately following the statement that he "shall divide the land for gain."

According to the clear teaching of the Word of God, the next event in His program will be the catching away of the Church of the Lord Jesus.  Then the man of sin, the Antichrist, symbolized by Nimrod, Nebuchadnezzar, and the Caesars, will appear on the scene.  He will, first of all, promise to restore the nation of Israel to their land.  When he has by deception gained their confidence, he will turn upon them in the midst of that Tribulation Period and will, acccording to Scripture, repeat the sin of dividing the land of Palestine.

When the Antichrist stretches out his hand to touch that which is holy, that which God has called "My land," it will be the occasion for the coming of God's judgment upon the man of sin, upon his armies, and upon his entire program.  He will be miserably destroyed at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in power and great glory.  It is well to remember this, because it is taught in type as well as in direct statement throughout the Scriptures.  Remember that Belshazzar, who was a type of this coming man of sin, made the great mistake of stretching forth his hand to touch the thing which God had called holy.

Oh, that we might see the day when the nations would turn over to the true possessors of the land of Palestine their full rights and thereby receive the blessing of the Lord!  Let us pray that God may give wisdom to our leaders, that we may not invite the judgment of Almighty God, which He has pronounced upon all those who touch the things which God has called holy--His people and His land.

God's Chosen People

We have gone considerably into detail in order that we might set before you what we believe to be, according to the Word of God, the basic problem of the world today--the hoped-for, longed-for, and sought-for peace for which man is striving.  Israel is still God's chosen nation.  By this we do not mean that they, as individuals, can be saved without the Lord Jesus Christ.  They, too, must come as individual sinners and receive His finished work.  We mean that as a nation, in God's national dealings, they are still His chosen people. 

Palestine, the Holy Land, is also still God's chosen land; and there can be no peace in this world until the nation and the land, according to God's purpose, are again fully united.  Every effort for peace, the wisdom and sincerity of the diplomats, and the endless bloodshed will never bring about a government which will assure lasting tranquility and prosperity.  Only as the nation of the covenant is back in the covenant land and as the Messiah is their King will the time come when they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.

The key to lasting peace is the land of Israel and the Israel of the land.  The Lord has commanded us to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee."  When Jerusalem is at peace, the world will be at peace.  Let us pray, therefore, that the leaders of the nations and our own nation may see that God is on the side of those who recognize this program.  We believe that the wars that have been ravaging the world and causing the utter destruction of many of the nations which have vowed to exterminate Israel and are seeking to conquer Palestine will ultimately come to an end.  Soon the day will come when Christ will have dominion over land and sea.

We have tried to set before you God's program.  Not in vain has He said, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee."  The word
Jerusalem means "the city of peace."  Basically the meaning is "the foundation for peace."  Notice that the meaning of the word Jerusalem is "the foundation for peace."  As long as Jerusalem is not at peace, the world cannot be at peace.  Only as Jerusalem is at peace will peace prevail upon the earth.  Let us pray that the time may soon come.  Let us pray for our leaders.  Let us pray for our nation and for the nations of the world, that they may recognize God's program and that the day may soon be ushered in when every man will sit under his own vine and his own fig tree, and the nations will "learn war" no more.

Very soon, we believe, from all indications about us, He who said He would come will come.  Then we shll see the fulfillment and the vindication of the promises of God, which man has forgotten, but which will, nevertheless, be fulfilled in every detail.

(Reprinted from
The Jew and Palestine in Prophecy, by M.R. DeHaan, by permission from the Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan)