The History of the Jews has been extensively recorded in the Bible, in other ancient literary documents and in archeological finds. The account goes back to some 4000 years.
As recorded in the Holy Bible, the timeline started with Abraham. He was given the promise of nations coming from him and had encounters with God through events such as sacrificing his son, Isaac. He fathered offsprings from two women, despite God's promise. Isaac fathered Jacob, whom God renamed Israel. The Israelites were subsequently enslaved in Egypt. This period of time started with the grandson of Isaac, Joseph, who brought the Israelites to Egypt to settle in the midst of a famine (Book of Genesis).
Moses, after many years, led the Israelites out of Egypt and arrived at the land of Canaan (Israel) that was promised to Abraham hundreds of years before (Book of Exodus). Moses pronounced the Blessings and Curses on the Israelites at the end of his life (Book of Deuteronomy). These Blessings & Curses have apparently followed the Jews ever since – as one can see from their history. When the Israelites failed to obey the commands there would be curses that would match and mirror the blessings.
“You will be uprooted from the land you are entering to possess. Then the LORD will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other..… Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the LORD will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart”. (Deuteronomy 28:63-65 NIV).
These Blessings and Curses were established by a covenant between God and the Israelites. The covenant would be binding on the children and future generations, both Israelites and the 'gentiles'. (Deuteronomy 29:12-15). The people, in all understanding, abandoned the covenant of the God, the covenant He made with them when He brought them out of Egypt. All the curses written in the book were there.… God uprooted them from their land. Salvation shall only come through the Prince, in the line of one King David. He will be the messiah and all Israel will be saved after the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled.
Four thousand years passed, and we saw prophecies being fulfilled. We now ask the question “Is the current state of Israel the continuing work of God as predicted in Bible prophecy?
Indeed, we think that modern Israel is the work of God in progress preparing the nation for the tribulation, which will lead to her national conversion, the second coming of Christ and His millennial reign.
It is the first time in 2,500 years that this kind of re-constitution of people in the land has taken place, and this has to be very significant. The Bible says many times that Israel is not 'done' in history, although some Christians would think otherwise. The apostle Paul says in the letter to the Romans, “I say then has God rejected His people? By no means!” (Rom. 11:1a NIV). There are dozens of biblical passages that predict an end-time re-gathering of Israel back to her land. We would have to be careful to distinguish which verses are being fulfilled in our day and which would await future fulfillment. There must come two end-time re-gatherings, one before the tribulation and one after the tribulation.
First, there was to be a large re-gathering of the 'unbelief' in preparation for judgment, namely, the judgment from the tribulation. This was to be followed by a second world-wide re-gathering in faith in preparation for the blessing, namely the blessings of the Millennium to be ruled by Jesus Christ. Once it is recognized that the Bible speaks of these two re-gatherings, it is easy to see how the present state of Israel fits into the prophecies.
The re-establishment of the Jewish state in 1948 not only became the most important stage-setting development but began an actual fulfillment of specific Bible prophecies about a massive re-gathering of the Jews in unbelief before the judgment of the tribulation. Such a prediction is found in: Ezek. 20:33-38; 22:17-22; 36:22-24; 37:1–14; Isa. 11:11-12. Zeph. 2:1-2 and Ezek. 38–39 presupposes such a setting.
In Zeph. 1:14-18 there is the description of “The Day of the LORD” . Zeph. 2:1-2 says that there will be a world-wide re-gathering of Israel before the day of the Lord. “Gather together, gather together, O shameful nation, before the appointed time arrives and the day sweeps on like chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD comes upon you, before the day of the LORD’s wrath comes upon you.” The current nation of Israel is in the process of fulfilling these passages.
In Ezek. 37:1–14, the prophet describes a future process through which the Nation of Israel will come to be reconstituted and eventually enters into a faithful spiritual relationship with the Lord. This multi-stage process must surely include the current Nation of Israel, in unbelief, that is being prepared to go through a time that will lead to her conversion to Jesus Christ as their Messiah. Now, there are more Jews coming to Christ in the last 20 years than in the whole of the last century together.
The following is a condensed history of the Jewish people, written in a point-format (for ease of reading) by a history Professor. In it we will try to recognize and grasp how the hands of God have worked through history to complete His plans for the redemption of the Jews and of mankind which He has created and had made covenant with.
I. The Old Testament Period: From the Origins of the Jewish People to the time of Jesus.
From a Family to a People
- Calling of Abraham and his family to the promised land, Canaan. Family expanded through Isaac. Jacob and the tribe moved to Egypt. (Based on the Old Testament)
- Moses and the Exodus: (c1452-1450 BC). The Jews returned to Canaan as a people consisting of 12 tribes. After Moses and Joshua, Israel was a theocracy (rule directly under God) with tribal chiefs and appointed Judges to deliver them when needed. (Based on the Old Testament)
- Neighboring nations invaded and oppressed the Israelites. Judges, or rulers, emerged to lead the people and ward off their enemies.
From a People to a Kingdom
- Saul was anointed by the prophet Samuel as the first King of Israel
- The Kingdom of Saul (c.1043-1010BC)
- The Kingdom of David (c.1010-970 BC)
- The Kingdom of Solomon (c.970-930 BC)
> Solomon built the ‘First Temple’ (c. 957 BC).
- After the death of Solomon, the Israeli Kingdom was divided into the Northern Kingdom (930-722 BC), 10 tribes, and the Kingdom of Judah (930-587 BC), 2 tribes.
- In 722 BC, the Northern Kingdom was conquered by the Assyrian King Tiglath-Pileser III, the 10 tribes were dispersed.
- In 612 BC, the Assyrian Empire was crushed by the Babylonian Empire. The 'Israelites' were seized in 70 years of Babylonian captivity.
- In 539 BC, the Persian Empire under King Cyrus conquered the Babylonian Empire. Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem under the Persian King Cyrus.
- The Construction of the ‘Second Temple’ in Jerusalem (538-516 BC).
- The walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt under Nehemiah (c. 445 BC)
- (Because of the paucity of historical evidence, many of the dates may not be completely accurate).
The 400 years of Silence (A Period of Jewish History not mentioned by the Bible)
- The Jews in the Holy Land after the fall of the Persian Empire were ruled by the Greeks under Alexander the Great and his successors. In 165 BC the Jews revolted against their rulers and established an independent state. In 63 BC, the Roman General Pompei conquered Jerusalem and the Holy land came under Roman rule.
- When Jesus was born (c. 6/5 BC), the Holy Land was under the control of the Romans. It was ruled by the Jewish king Herod the Great (reign 37- 4 BC), who was appointed by Roman rulers and under the direct supervision of the Senate in Rome. At around 33 AD, Jesus was sentenced to crucifixion by the Roman Governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate.
- The Second Temple, modeled on Solomon’s first temple and much smaller, was refurbished by King Herod the Great (37- 4 BC).
- In 70 AD, the temple was destroyed by the Roman General Titus during the suppression of a Jewish revolt led by the zealots. Most priests were killed, the Messianic Jews fled the city before the destruction. The Jewish people are permitted to remain in Judea outside of Jerusalem.
- 132-135 AD – Bar Kokhba is announced Messiah by Rabbi Akiva, and all Jews (except the Messianic Jews) revolted against Rome. 135AD saw the complete destruction of Jewish life in Judea and 2000 years of exile began.
II. From the Post-Apostolic Age to the 19th Century: Major Empires
Ruling the Holy Land
The year 90 AD probably marks the end of the Apostolic age. The twelve disciples who followed Jesus in their lifetime had passed away or martyred.
From about 90AD to the 19th century, the Holy Land was ruled by the following major empires:
(1) The Roman Empire,
(2) The Byzantium Empire, that is, the eastern part of the Roman Empire with the capital in Constantinople, previously known as Byzantium.
(3) Muhammad and the succeeding Arab Muslim Empire that emerged from the Eastern Roman Empire,
(4) The Crusaders,
(5) The Ottoman Empire.
- The Roman Empire was in decline in the 5th century and collapsed around 410 AD. In the following years the Roman Empire was under the threat of “barbarian” tribes such as the Vandals and the Goths. The last Emperor of the western part of the Empire, Romulus Augustus abdicated in 476 AD, bringing an end to the western part of the Roman Empire.
- The Eastern part, also known as the Byzantine Empire with Constantinople as its capital, collapsed in 1453 when the Ottoman Empire (Turks, Sunni Islam) conquered Constantinople.
- Meanwhile, under Muhammad (569-623 AD), the Islamic religion quickly grow and unroll in the Holy Land and surrounding areas (around 610-632 AD).
- Muhammad’s successors gradually established an Arab Muslim Empire, known as the Umayyad dynasty (661-750 AD) and the Abbasid dynasty (750-1258AD), which ruled from 7th to mid-13th century. They completely occupied the Holy Land.
- Between 691-692 AD, the Dome of the Rock, a mosque, was constructed by Abd al-Malik, the 4th Umayyad Caliph (685-705 AD) on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem near the site of the Jewish Second Temple.
- From 1095-1187 AD, Christian Europe launched the Crusade against Islam. Many Jews were also killed on the way. This created more animosity between Jews and Christians. The Crusaders ruled Jerusalem for about two centuries.
- Rise of the Ottoman Turks (Islamic) followed in the 15th century. The Ottoman Empire ruled the Middle East up to the early 1920s.
III. Anti-Semitism and the Establishment of the Israeli State
- Anti-Semitism prevailed in the history of Europe and the Middle East down to the 20th century.
- There were numerous incidences of forcible conversions of Jews to Christianity and persecutions of Jews in Europe. Some of these events are listed below:
> During the Roman Empire period, there were anti-Jewish riots and laws restricting Jewish worship. After the conversion to Christianity from 312 AD of the Roman Empire under Emperor Constantine, the Jews were discriminated as the people who rejected and crucified Christ.
> During the Nation-state period in Europe (from the 11th century onwards), there were numerous episodes of persecution of the Jews:
+ Persecutions during the Crusades (12 to 13th century).
+ Jews were held responsible for the Black Death (a plague which killed 50% of the population in Europe) and were persecuted.
+ In the 13th to 19th century, Jews were forced to live in ghettoes established by various states in Europe.
> During the19th century, anti-Jewish riots and persecutions against the Jews occurred in many parts of Europe, notably in Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Russian Empire (known as pogroms, especially during the period 1871-1906) and the Balkans.
> The 20th century Holocaust
Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party came into power in 1933 and subsequently anti-Jewish laws were enacted and systematic extermination of Jews were carried out during the Second World War. More than 6 million European Jews were murdered at the concentration camps by the Nazi genocide.
IV. The Rise of Zionism (The Movement to Establish the State of Israel)
In the 19th century, nationalism swept across Europe. The Jewish people were awakened to the prospects of re-establishing their own Nation in the Holy Land. Moses Hess, from an orthodox Jewish family of Bonn, advocated the founding of a state in Palestine. Without a homeland, he made it clear: “We shall always remain strangers among the nations.” Furthermore, the harsh measures against his Jewish subjects, known as pogroms, imposed by the Russian Emperor Alexander III, strengthened the will of the Jewish people to establish their own country. Zionism, the movement to establish a Jewish country in the land of Israel (Palestine), gained support among the Jewish inhabitants and the more influential communities in the West.
- The Ottoman Empire declined from the 17th century. In the 19th century they were regarded as “the Sick Man of Europe”. Its rule in the Middle East was crumbling.
- After the First World War (1914-1918), Britain and France were given the Mandate by the League of Nations to rule the Middle East.
Britain was responsible for the rule in Palestine (1922-1948), France for Syria (1920-1943) and Lebanon (1920-1944).
- Meanwhile, there was a movement to establish a Jewish state as the Jews were always threatened by persecutions and anti-Semitism sentiments in Europe.
- In August 1897, the first Zionist Congress was convened in Basle by Jewish leader Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), with the objective of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine.
- In 2 November 1917, the Balfour Declaration was announced. The Zionist movement gained sympathy from the British authority. Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Minister, declared that “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this objective.” Belfour was strongly influenced by his mother, an enthusiastic evangelical, teaching her children daily Bible lessons.
Announcement for the Balfour Declaration --
'Official Sympathy', paving the way for the State of Israel
- In 1922, Britain was given the Mandate to rule Palestine (including Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee) by the League of Nations. One of the Mandate terms was the ultimate establishment of the Jewish national home.
- Jewish immigrants to Palestine reached new heights and Britain decided to impose polices to limit the number of immigrants. Tensions between the Arabs and the Jews in Palestine ran high and conflicts between the two peoples turned violent.
- After Hitler came into power in 1933, there were more Jews fleeing from Germany to Palestine and America.
- After the end of the Second World War in 1945, the British Mandate in Palestine could not continue indefinitely and the future of the State of Palestine was high on the agenda among the Super Powers.
- Britain announced in 1947 that it would return the Mandate to the United Nations (UN, successor to the League of Nations). On 29 November, 1947, the UN Special Committee on Palestine recommended creation of an Arab state and a Jewish state in Palestine and this was accepted by a vote (33 countries voted in favour of the proposal, 13 against and 10 abstained) in the General Assembly that just manage to (miraculously) make the 2/3 majority required. The two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, based on different political considerations, supported the creation of a Jewish state.
- Britain ended the Mandate on 14 May 1948. The Jews under the leadership of Chaim Weizmann, a renowned scientist, and David Ben Gurion, declared the founding of the State of Israel.
- Immediately after the founding of Israel, the United States government, under President Truman, though initially had a lukewarm attitude towards the imminent establishment of a Israeli State, took steps to recognize Israel. The Soviet Union, at this time, intending to gain good will from the Jews, also declared its recognition of Israel. In 1949, France and Britain followed suit and endorsed the new State of Israel. The birth of the new State of Israel thus had the support from the major powers in the world.
- From May 1948 to January1949, armies from the Arab countries, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, attacked Israel but were defeated. Eventually Jerusalem was divided into the old walled city including the Holy sites under the rule of Jordan and the West Jerusalem under the Jews. The state of Israel was formed, which was geographically surrounded by the Arab countries in the north, east and south.
- For the first time since the time of Maccabeus (about 165 BC) the Jews established an independent state of their own.
- Massive Jewish immigrants to the Holy Land ensued. Many Palestinians, residents of the Holy Land from time immemorial, either fled or were evacuated to make room for the Jews. About 700,000 Palestinians were displaced from their home. Before the May 1948 war, Arab nations implored Israel’s Arab residents to flee temporarily, as they “wipe the Jews and drive them to the sea”, so they were not caught in harm’s way. Upon the promised victory, the Arabs were promised they would be able to return to their homes. The Arab armies were defeated, and those who fled were not allowed back by Israel, they are “the Palestinian refugees" until today.
- Many Palestinian Arabs went to Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan and other regions. They became refugees. They prayed for the establishment of a Palestinian State and the eviction of the Jews from Palestine.
V. The Arab-Israel Relations after the Establishment of the Israeli state up to 2000
- Tensions and Conflicts grew between the Jews and the Arabs never subsided. Major conflicts include:
> The July 1956 Suez Canal crisis: In July 1956, President Nasser of Egypt declared the nationalization of the Suez Canal. This provoked Britain and France to send troops to occupy the Canal to protect their strategic interest. Israel, irked by Egypt’s obtaining military aid from the Soviet Union, joined Britain and France in this military venture. Eventually under the pressure from the US Eisenhower administration, which have wanted to avoid conflict with the Soviet Union, Britain and France as well as Israel withdrew from the Canal. Superpower rivalries became an enduring feature behind the conflicts between the Arabs and the Jews.
> 1963, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was founded by Yasser Arafat with the aim to establish a Palestinian state and evicted the Jews from Palestine.
> In June 1967, the famous Six Day War broke out between Israel and the Arab countries: Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. (Israeli strength: 40,000 troops versus Egypt: 160,000 troops, Syrian 75,000 troops, Jordanian: 75,000 troops, Iraqi 100 tanks*). The modest Israeli forces ‘miraculously’ defeated the Arab allies. Israel exerted annexation of the Gaza strip, the Sinai Peninsula, East Jerusalem, the West Bank region and the Golan Heights. (* Wikipedia)
> In October1973, there was the Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) War. Egypt and Syria launched attack on Israel on the Day of Atonement. While the Israelis initially had a breached defense line, troops quickly retaliated to gain an upper hand. Under the UN mediation supported by the US and the Soviet Union, a ceasefire was signed.
> A change of policy towards Israel by President Sadat of Egypt subsequently materialized.
> In 1978, through US mediation, Israel and Egypt signed the Camp David Treaty, aiming at normalizing the relationship between the two countries and seeking peace in the Middle East.
> Tensions in the Middle East went unabated as one sees the Israeli invasions of Lebanon in 1978 and 1982. In 1980, Israel declared Jerusalem to be the eternal capital of the country. In 1981, annexing the Golan Heights, previously part of the Syrian territories but occupied by Israel after the Six-Day War in 1967, took place.
> In 1981, President Sadat was killed in an assassination attempt.
> The Gulf War in August 1990 lasted for a whole 6 months. Iraq, under Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. US military intervention reverted the Iraqi invasion.
> In December 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed. A new power relationship emerged in the Middle East. The Arabs could not secure ready support from the new Russian government.
> Under the mediation of the US Clinton Administration, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel signed the Oslo Peace Agreements in 1993. The PLO recognized Israel’s right to exist, Israel recognized PLO as a representative of Palestinians.
> In 1994 a Peace Treaty was signed between Israel and Jordan.
> Since then, no major breakthrough has been made to solve the Palestinian dispute. Much hostile tension remains between the Arabs and the Jews.
VI. The Arab-Israel Relations Since 2001
- On September 11, 2001, the extremist group, Al-Qaeda attacked on the US soil. The Arab-Jewish relationship is further complicated by the US intervention in the Afghanistan War (2001- ) and in Iraq (2003), resulting in the collapse of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq.
- In 2014, the rise of the ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) has made the Middle East politics more volatile. Though the ISIS has now been on the wane, the situation remains contentious as Iran (majority are Shia Muslims) and Turkey are now involved in civil wars in Syria and Lebanon, and Saudi Arabic and Iran are also meddling in the Yemen civil war.
- Between 2016-2020, the Trump administration, with strong support from Christian Zionist, has adopted a pro-Israel stand. The US has moved its Embassy to Jerusalem (a contested city between the Jews and the Arabs). This has further alienated the Palestinian Arabs. The US has also recognized Israeli claims to the Golan Heights, thus irritating the Syrian government The Trump administration has also successfully brought Israel to sign a peace deal with the Gulf Arab states, Bahram and the United Arab Emirates.
- Since the occupation by the State of Israel of the major portion of Jerusalem from 1967, there have been continuous passionate undertakings and projections for the building of the Third Temple on the Temple Mount. The contentious issue remains as to where the new Temple is to be built. The Dome of the Rock of the Muslims is at the site. The issue will undoubtedly inflame further antagonism between Arab Muslims and the Jews if any such plan is going to go ahead.
On 7 October 1957, Golda Meir, the Israeli Foreign Minister (Prime Minister from 1969 to 1974), delivered a speech to the General Assembly of the United Nations. In the speech she called for peace and cooperation between the Arabs and the Jews: “This is an historic necessity for both peoples. We are prepared; we are anxious to bring it about now....” More than sixty years have gone by, an enduring peace between the Jews and the Palestinian Arabs in particular, and between the Jews and the Arabs world seems to wax and wane while the world watches with fervent anticipation.
"When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the LORD your God disperses you among the nations, and when you and your children return to the LORD your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the LORD your God will gather you and bring you back. He will bring you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors" (Deuteronomy 30:1-5)
After the Second Century AD, Jews were scattered all over Europe and lost their identity. They kept it, as they are still keeping it today, only through three things: circumcision, the Sabbath and the Kosher diet. The country no more existed as an entity and was in the hands of so many rulers who would rather prefer the Jewish race extinguished. Now, they are re-gathered into one Nation, as was foretold.
The Bible depicts a course of blessings and hardships for the Jewish people and a future when the Nation of Israel will be re-gathered in faith and enter into the kingdom for a thousand years. The same Scripture tells us of a time when Israel will be re-gathered in unbelief before the tribulation in order that God may complete His plan for the nation and the salvation of mankind. Many signs are indeed unearthing.
The current Nation of Israel is the beginning of the fulfillment of end-time prophecies. The History of the Jews is undeniably a solid proof of God’s existence and a testimony to His direct intervention in mankind’s redemptive history.
Some key questions to ponder:
The answers to these questions will help in the study of prophecies that are related to the end time, especially for those prophetic passages which are related to the Nation of Israel that exist today. It will help us to understand many of the details that are immersed in these passages and are apparent only after careful study.
1. When Jesus was alive, there was a Nation of Israel. What happen to that nation?
The Jewish people is God’s chosen people. (Speaking from the secular point of view) When Jesus was born, Judea, Galilee, and the neighbouring regions were ruled by Herod the Great (37BC-4BC). Herod’s kingdom was under the direct rule of the Senate of the Roman Empire. After his death, the kingdom was divided into his three sons, Archelaus (Judea including Jerusalem), Antipas (Galilee and Beria) and Philip (east of Galilee). Archelaus was soon deposed by the Romans, Judea was directly put under the control of a Roman official appointed by the Roman Emperor. Hence, the trial of Jesus was within the jurisdiction of Roman appointed official Pontius Pilate. During Jesus times, the Jews can be said to be under the rule of the Roman Empire.
In the Jewish-Roman revolt at around 70AD, much of the city was destroyed. In fact, the City of Jerusalem was renamed 'Aelia Capitolina' in 135 AD and the land renamed Palestinia, under the Roman emperor Hadrian. After the Roman rule, the country was in the hands of different 'rulers', and the name of Israel no longer existed. For interested readers, the Wikipedia has a good precis on the History of Jerusalem.
2. Why is the Dome of the Rock controlled by Muslims?
The Dome of the Rock was constructed by the 4th Umayyad Caliph (685-705 AD) on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. In the Six Day War in 1967, Israel captured east Jerusalem (from the Arab country, Jordan) including the Dome of the Rock. Under the order of the then Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Dayan, the Dome of the Rock was to be given back to the Muslim guards (in fact, returning to the status quo, probably with the aim not to enrage the Muslims). Henceforward, the area is administered by a committee of Muslim leaders.
3. What exactly is the Zionism Movement that leads to the establishment of the nation of the Jews in Israel?
The Zionism movement was at first a political movement in the late 19th century with the aim to establish a secular state in the Holy Land, as the Jews were facing discriminations and persecutions in Europe. It gradually culminated into waves of Jewish immigration to the Holy Land. Britain, which was given the Mandate to rule Palestine by the League of Nations, at different times had to limit or stop the influx of the Jews into Palestine. Eventually, after the Holocaust (Nazis’ mass killings of the Jews) and the Second World War, to give the Jews a homeland in the Holy Land received support from major countries.
4. What was declared the Nation of Israel in 1948 and who runs Jerusalem at that time? What exactly is the “West Bank”?
Before the creation of the State of Israel, the newly formed United Nations had, in 1947, voted on a partition plan to divide what was then British-Mandate Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states. Whereas the original partition had allocated 55 percent of the territory to a Jewish state and 45 percent of it to a Palestinian Arab state, the war of 1948 put Israel in control of 78 percent of the territory.
At the time when Israel was founded on 14 May 1948, west Jerusalem was taken over by the Jews. The “West Bank”, a region west of the Jordan River, was annexed by the Arab country, Jordan (In fact, there was a secret deal clinched between the Jordan King Abdullah and the future Israeli Foreign Minister and Prime Minster, Golda Meir, in November 1947. The deal stipulated that Jordan would not oppose the establishment of the Israeli state, and Israel would not object to the annexation of West Bank by Jordan). The “West Bank” not only encompasses a region west of the Jordan River but also includes east Jerusalem (the Old City with the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock).
Israel has cited several reasons for retaining the West Bank within its territory, a claim based on the notion of historic rights to this as a homeland as affirmed in the Balfour Declaration; security grounds, internal and external; and the deep symbolic value for Jews of the area occupied.
The West Bank comprised of Judea and Samaria, and is the heart of Israel’s biblical homeland. Today, the Jewish people have returned to this land and built cities, towns, and communities. According to Israel’s Population Registry, as of January 2018 some 435,000 Jews live in Judea and Samaria. (In Judea and Samaria, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob walked the land and tended their flocks, as chronicled in the book of Genesis. Joshua fought the Canaanites and drove them out of the land. For centuries, this was also home to the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant after the Israelites settled in Canaan, and is where Ruth married Boaz. Judea and Samaria is also revered upon as the birthplace of King David and the burial place of Joseph.
5. What leads to the Jews taking Jerusalem in 1967 and is Jerusalem Israel’s capital today?
Israel and Palestine’s dueling claims to the city are steeped in decades of conflict, during which Jewish settlers pushed Muslim Arabs out and established the State if Israel on their land in the middle of the 20th century. The claims are also tied to the religions of Judaism and Islam, both of which recognize Jerusalem as a holy place. In around 1,000 BC, King David established Jewish control over Jerusalem. The city fell in and out of other hands during the next 3000 years, particularly during the crusades, when Christian crusaders fought competing Christian and Muslim factions for control of the city. Between 1517 and 1917, the Ottoman Empire — whose official religion was Islam — ruled the city. This was followed by the British Mandate. After the State of Israel was established in 1948, the Nation was under attack from the neighboring Islamic countries. Jerusalem was however miraculously recaptured in 1968 by the Israelis in the historical Six Day War (See above). In 1980 Israel finally declared that Jerusalem to be the eternal capital of Israel.
The Six Day War and its significance is described in another article on this website:
6. What is this push to rebuild the Third temple?
The Bible clearly teaches that a new temple, the Third Temple, will be built at some point in time so that a number of prophecies concerning the second coming of Christ would be fulfilled. The First Temple was the one that Solomon built and which was destroyed in 586 BC. The Second Temple (516 BC to 70 AD) was built after the Jews returned from Babylonian captivity. This temple site was expanded and renovated by King Herod around the first century BC and was subsequently destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. As sacrifices were not stopped during this renovation and expansion period, the new temple was still called 'The Second Temple'.
The Bible states that the Third Temple will be there during the period of the Great Tribulation. The Prophet Daniel refers to this temple when he says that “the prince who is to come” (the Antichrist) will enter it and stop the sacrifices in the middle of the Tribulation:
“And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.” (Daniel 9:27).
"Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple" (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
Read also an article on the 'Third Temple' on this website: https://www.onepagebiblesummary.com/pad/pad_12.php
Excerpted here is part of the discussion:
“... The next temple can only be built where the two previous temples stood because the Holy of Holies must be on the exact same spot. But there are now much controversies as to where exactly was the last temple located on the Temple Mount. Or not even on the temple mount but north (or south) of it. Most scholars still have firm conviction that the old temples stood where the Dome of the Rock currently stands. This “belief” may be wrong, but apparently there is no way to prove the exact location without conducting archaeological excavations on the Temple Mount, something which is currently prohibited by the Muslims as well as the National laws! If the Third Temple is to be built where the Dome of the Rock now stands, then that Muslim structure must first of all be removed either by Man or by God. It could, of course be burned to the ground by a missile, or by an earthquake.
The majority of the average Jewish people at Jerusalem and nearby, who actually are largely secular, have much reservation about building a third temple. They know that any attempt to build a third temple would result in war with the Muslims. A growing group of more Orthodox Jews, as well as Christians who abides firmly by what is written in the Bible, nonetheless have a great passion for The Third Temple. The Temple Institute for example have made a large amount, if not all the preparations. Something could happen to create a surge of nationalistic pride that will demand a new temple. This catalytic event could be the discovery of the Ark of the Covenant! Or perhaps at a nearby excavation site. Or a political event that ensues.
There is the possibility that the ancient temples were not located where the Dome of the Rock currently sits. There is strong evidence that their location was to the north of the Dome and that the sacrificial altar inside the Dome was the one that Solomon built in “the middle of the court” to handle the thousands of special sacrifices which he offered to the Lord on the day The First Temple was dedicated (2 Chronicles 7:7). If that is so, then The Third Temple could be built north of the Dome of the Rock, putting the Dome in the Court of the Gentiles. This may well be the solution the Antichrist will come up with when he negotiates a peace between the Jews and the Arabs (Daniel 9:27)!
The Third temple will be destroyed at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the Fourth temple from which Jesus will reign over all the earth will appear. It is described in detail in Ezekiel 40-46...”.
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