MIDEAST STRIFE—Will It Lead To ARMAGEDDON?
WHY Such Hatred In The Mideast? What Are The Real ROOTS Of The Conflict, And What Does Bible PROPHECY Say About the Final Outcome?
by Garner Ted Armstrong
Why do the Arabs hate the Jews? Why do so many Jews hate the Arabs? Why the continual strife; bombings, knifings, shootings, rocket attacks; terrorism against helpless civilians in Jerusalem? To understand the real roots of protracted conflict between Arabs and Jews, you need to know the history of Jerusalem and Palestine; understand the ethnic and religious roots of the peoples who live there. Even more importantly, you need to understand the PROPHECIES of your Bible; how events yet to occur in Palestine and Jerusalem will affect YOUR life where YOU live!
Always, the media seems fixated on TERRITORY as the problem! Continually, they speak of "land for peace." Millions of Americans are disgusted with the Jews; seeing them as obstructionists to the "peace process." Many in the media debate back and forth about where "a mere 13 per cent of Israel's territory" would bring peace in the region! How utterly ignorant they are about the REAL CAUSE; the real ROOTS of the conflict! Many of those young reporters who bring you your news on television were not born when Israel fought the combined armies of six Arab nations; many were not born when the famous "six-day war" was fought, which brought about the occupation of the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip, and the "West Bank," including the old city of Jerusalem! The U.S. media has virtually parroted the Palestinian Arabs, as they continually speak of the "occupied territories." Millions seem unconcerned that the Jews speak of "security," meaning buffer areas between themselves and hostile Arab neighbors. Ignorance of history, gullibility, propaganda—all play a part in shaping public opinion in the U.S. Much, if not most, of that public opinion is very badly skewed.
It's time you understood the real truth!
Both races lay claim to the land of Palestine based upon ancient history, and, in the case of the Jewish state of Israel, upon the Bible itself.
Jews trace their roots to Jerusalem from the beginning of recorded time. Not only has it been speculated that Jerusalem is the site of the original Garden of Eden, it is also said to be the site of the near sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham, which Jewish tradition says took place on the very mount where the famed "Dome of the Rock" Arab mosque is located today. Jews base their claims on Jerusalem to the time of David and Solomon, while many Arabs believe it was their ancestors who were dispossessed of their lands when Israel "invaded" Palestine following the Exodus.
Muslims believe the site of the Dome of the Rock is where their prophet Mohammed "ascended to heaven." Christians revere Bethlehem, Jerusalem and its "holy places" because of the ministry, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.
The city of Jerusalem is a monumentally important holy site to the three great monotheistic religions of mankind—a city which is named after "peace", allegedly deriving from "Jebus," (after the Jebusites, who inhabited the city prior to David's time) and "Salem," meaning "peace." It is believed that Melchisedec, the "King of Salem" who met Abraham, and to whom he paid tithes, was either a human priest and king; a type of Christ, or the very Personage of the Godhead who became Christ in the flesh (Hebrews 7:1-3), and that Jerusalem was the site of this occurrence.
Down through history, Jerusalem has more often been the city of bloodshed, conflict and war than the city of peace. Jesus Christ prophesied there will yet come another massive destruction of Jerusalem during the "Great Tribulation" of which He warned.
Why are so many of the Arabs so violently angry with the Jews? The major news media seem to reinforce the assumption that what is really happening in Israel is simply another struggle for independence. Did not the United States of America fight a war of independence? Have not countries all over the world wanted to be free of domination by other powers; free to pursue their own religious, philosophical, political, social and economic goals?
To the average man on the street, the indiscriminate killing of civilians in Israel may seem like the natural effect of an obvious cause: Israel continues to "occupy" the West Bank; continues to build housing projects on land claimed by the Palestinian Arabs (even though it is privately-owned Jewish land); continues to occupy the Golan Heights; continues its refusal to negotiate over Jerusalem. Thirty years have passed since Israel was attacked by five Arab armies and won an astounding victory which resulted in their occupation of the disputed lands. Notwithstanding, the Palestinian Arabs and Syrians demand that Israel relinquish all lands won by force of arms, including East Jerusalem! Yet, from the Israeli point of view, those very lands; the Golan in the north, overlooking the Sea of Galilee; the Gaza Strip to the south, pointing like a dagger into the heart of Israel; Jerusalem and the West Bank to the west, provided dangerous jumping off points for armored columns of Arab armies. Prior to that war, as any map of that time shows, Israel had such a narrow waist it could have been cut in two by a thrust from Latrun to the Mediterranean!
Israeli military commanders and Israeli governments from that time to this have not relished the prospect of returning to those disastrous borders, any more than the U.S. has contemplated giving back California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, or part of Florida to Mexico. Now, let us go back into the past, and come to understand BOTH sides of this volatile issue—a conflict that could lead to another destructive WAR in the Mideast—a conflict that could drag the major power into war; a conflict that will eventually lead to ARMAGEDDON!
Palestine In History
The term "Palestine" comes from "Philistine," the name of a tribe that was in virtually a continual state of war with ancient Israel. Goliath, the giant whom David slew with a slingshot, was a Philistine. Misraim, the second son of Ham, begat Casluhim, "out of whom came Philistim" (Genesis 10:14). It would be an error to assert that the present-day Palestinian Arabs are "Philistines." The Philistines were not of Arab stock. Any history of the region is a chronicle of many different peoples representing all three of the sons of Noah; of dozens of wars; of invasions from the major powers on all sides; Assyria, Babylonia, Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome, Turkey, Europe—all in their turn swept into Palestine. In more modern times, it was ruled by Seljuk and Ottoman Turks, and by Britain following the two world wars.
The Philistines are said to be descendants of "the Purasati," a confederation of peoples from northern Syria, Asia Minor and the Levant (the Lebanon), which threatened Egypt's power in the twentieth Egyptian dynasty.
Egyptian monuments display the Purasati with distinctive headdresses of feathers, resembling that of the Lycians and Mycenaeans. There is some confusion about the earliest origins of the Philistines. The Bible says they were immigrants from "Caphtor" (Amos 9:7). They appear in the land prior to the time of Moses, and prior to the trial of Abraham concerning Isaac, therefore rendering it impossible that they could have been "Arabs." Notice, "Thus they made a covenant at Beersheba: then Abimelech rose up, and Phichol the chief captain of his host, and they returned into the land of the Philistines.
"And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.
"And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days" (Genesis 21:32-34). Though they gave their name to the land, they were not children of Ishmael. The Philistines are mentioned time and time again in the Bible. Hasting's Bible Dictionary says, "Politically, they had five principal centers, the cities of Ashdod, Gaza, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron [1 Sam. 6:17; Joshua 13:3; Zephaniah 2:4-7, etc.]...their political organization was unique...They were distinguished especially for their military prowess. Pretty full details of their system might be gathered from various parts of the Bible, including mention of their archers, their equipment for heavy armed infantry, their organization into hundreds and thousands, etc. [1 S 31:3, 1 Ch 10:3, 1 S 29:2]. The accounts make the impression that they usually fought as infantry, though chariots and cavalry are mentioned...We have descriptions of their savage treatment of the bodies of their fallen enemies [I S 31; 1 Ch 10], and of the honors with which their women welcomed their warriors returning from victory. But more significant than all matters of detail is the fact that this little nation, with its few hundred square miles of territory, was able again and again to conquer Israel, and to hold Israel in subjection for generations" (ibid. Vol. 3, p. 844-5).
In the account of David's victory over Goliath, it is noted that they had perfected the art of metallurgy. Goliath wore a coat of mail, like that of Europeans, a helmet of brass, and carried a huge spear with a massive iron head (1 Samuel 17:4-7). Though the "tables of nations" in the tenth chapter of Genesis indicates that the original Philistines were probably Hamitic in origin, and therefore quite dark and swarthy, possibly even black, many authorities believe the name itself is of Semitic origin. Interestingly, Hastings says, "It was the Philistine policy to prevent the existence of a united Israel. As long as David is king of Judah, and has a rival king farther north, they seem to be content. When Israel is divided, the Philistine supremacy is not imperiled. But when it is proposed that David reign over all the twelve tribes, the Philistine armies march at once [2 S 5:17]. A similar situation had arisen previously, when Samuel became judge [1 S 7:7]" (ibid. P. 845).
The present-day "Gaza strip" is named after one of the five principal cities of the Philistines. Notice that the Philistines were an entirely different people than the Arabs from the east. "Gaza, the most southerly and famous of the Philistine towns, was the terminus of the great caravan-route from Edom [Turkey] and south Arabia, with whose Bedouin it was generally on good terms. It was the `outpost of Africa, the door of Asia,' [G. A. Smith], the stepping-off point for the invasion of Egypt, and the fortress which, next in importance to Lachish, barred the maritime road to Phoenicia and Syria. It is necessary to realize Gaza's position and its links with trading centers, since conditions in the comparatively small and half-desert land of Judah depended essentially upon its relations with the Edomites and Arabian tribes on the southeast and with the Philistines on the west" (The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Vol. 21, p. 402).
Notice that the Bible itself makes this same distinction between Philistines and Arabians: "Also some of the Philistines brought Jehoshaphat presents, and tribute silver; and the Arabians brought him flocks, seven thousand and seven hundred rams, and seven thousand and seven hundred he goats.
"And Jehoshaphat waxed great exceedingly; and he built in Judah castles, and cities of stone.
"And he had much business in the cities of Judah: and the men of war, mighty men of valour, were in Jerusalem" (2 Chronicles 17:11).
The Biblical story of the earliest inhabitants of Palestine begins with Abraham, who is the progenitor of both the Jews and the Arabs. Abraham was a descendant of "Eber," and thus a Hebrew. God told Abraham, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee:
"And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing" (Genesis 12:1,2). In a sense, the entire Bible could be called "One Man's family," for it develops a continuous thread commencing with the call of Abraham, and ending with the prophecies of Christ as portrayed in the Olivet prophecy and the book of Revelation. His statement to the Pharisees, "You will see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of God, and you yourselves cast out" plainly stated that Abraham will be in the Kingdom of God with Christ. Abraham is called "the father of the faithful," and is greatly revered by Jews and Arabs alike.
Abraham's faith was to be tested almost to the breaking point when he was told to sacrifice his only son for whom he had waited so long. Earlier, God had told him, "As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
"Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
"And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
"And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee" (Genesis 17:4-8). Following Abraham's great test of faith, God made the promises to Abraham unconditional! He said, "By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:
"That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
"And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.
"So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba" (Genesis 22:16-18).
The story of Abraham's possession of the land of Palestine and the perpetual promises made to him by God is one of the most fascinating in all history. It is only by understanding the call of Abraham that one can truly gain a proper perspective on the whole history of the Mideast. In his recent joint news conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel following the bomb blast in Tel Aviv, King Hussein of Jordan spoke of both Jews and Arabs as "the children of Abraham."
Who Are The Arabs?
Abraham's children were prophesied to spread abroad to all points of the compass. His grandson Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, was to eventually number in the hundreds of millions (as the "sand of the sea shore"), and spread abroad over all the earth. His son Ishmael became the progenitor of many of the Arabs. His grandson Esau, Jacob's brother, is the progenitor of the Edomites, commonly believed to be the Turkish people. For a most fascinating insight into the identity of the United States and Britain, as well as the most ancient Europeans and the Germans, call (903) 561-7070 or write for your copy of the book, "Europe and America in Prophecy."
Abraham's frustration over his wife Sarah's barrenness brought about his decision to engender children by his handmaiden, an Egyptian named Hagar. This was with Sarah's consent if not with her active insistence: "Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.
"And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.
"And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife." Polygamy was perfectly legal. It was the common practice of nobles and the wealthier among the various tribes. Sarai, or Sarah, as her name later became, reasoned that it would be her child; Hagar would merely be a surrogate mother.
"And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes." Now, human nature asserted itself. Hagar felt like the true wife. Proud that she was bearing Abraham's child, she was no doubt keenly aware of the important place she and her child would occupy in the future. Sarah was out. She was in. Frustrated and barren, Sarah was now as an outcast in her own home.
"And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee" (Genesis 16:1-6).
Abraham loved Sarah deeply. He told Sarah to do as she pleased with Hagar for, after all, she was Sarah's handmaiden. Sarah began treating her so harshly that Hagar fled. An angel spoke to her, and told her to return. Notice the account, for in God's promises to Hagar concerning her son we find the origins of many of the Arab nations: "And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
"And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael [meaning "God hears"]; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.
"And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren...And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.
"And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram" (Genesis 16:9-16). This was eleven years before Abraham's arrival in Canaan. Ishmael was prophesied to become the progenitor of twelve princes, each of whom would become a chieftain of a tribe in his own right. When God renewed His promise to Abraham of a son through Sarah, it is obvious Abraham had become very attached to Ishmael, for he asked, "O that Ishmael might live before Thee" (Genesis 17:18).
But God told Abraham, "And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
"But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year" (Genesis 17:20,21). No doubt the many servants of Abraham looked upon Ishmael as the logical heir. Ishmael was fourteen when Isaac was born, and a great feast was held to celebrate the occasion of his weaning, probably about a year later: "And the child [Isaac] grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.
"And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.
"Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.
"And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son.
"And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.
"And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed" (Gen. 21:8-13). The name Isaac means "laughter," harking back to the time when Sarah laughed upon hearing she would bear a son in her old age (Genesis 18:12).
Sarah expelled Hagar and her teen-age son. Exhausted in the desert, and believing death was near, she walked a distance from Ishmael and wept, not being able to watch her son die (Genesis 21:14-16). God again intervened: "And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.
"Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.
"And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.
"And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.
"And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt" (Genesis 21:17-21). Hagar no doubt wanted her son to marry from among her own people.
Kitto's Bible Cyclopedia says, "The wilderness of Paran, lying along the western side of the Arabah [desert], between Canaan and the mountains of Sinai, now became the home of Ishmael...some of the border tribes with which the shepherds of Abraham were wont to meet and strive at the wells of Gerar, Beersheba, and En-Mishpat, probably received and welcomed the outcast into their tents...His relation ship to Abraham would also add to his personal claims...at this period the Arabian desert appears to have been thinly peopled by descendants of Joktan, the son of Eber [from whose name the word "Hebrew" derives], `whose dwelling was from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar, a mount of the east' [Genesis x. 25-30]. The Joktanites, or Bene Kahtan, are regarded by Arab historians as the first and most honorable progenitors of the Arab tribes [ARABIA; D'Herbelot, Bibliotheque Orientale, s.v. Arabes]...the Joktanites have left traces of their names and settlements chiefly in the southern and southeastern parts of the peninsula, while the Ishmaelites kept closer to the borders of Canaan" (ibid. Vol. 2. P. 430).
Remember, God specifically prophesied that Ishmael's descendants would dwell to the east of his brethren (from Isaac and Jacob—the Israelites). That Ishmael remained near the same regions where Abraham and his family dwelt is obvious from the fact that the two brothers met at Abraham's burial: "Then Abraham gave up the ghost ["expired," or exhaled his last], and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.
"And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre;
"The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife" (Genesis 25:8-10). As the centuries passed, tens of thousands of people inhabited the middle east who were related to Abraham. In his great old age, Abraham sired six more sons by Keturah. "Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.
"And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.
"And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim.
"And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abidah, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah" (Genesis 25:1-4). As you will recall, Moses, many centuries later, was to marry the daughter of a Midianitish Priest, a descendant of one of the sons of Midian, who was himself a son of Abraham.
Ishmael sired twelve sons, and an unknown number of daughters. The Bible says, "Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bare unto Abraham:
"And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam,
"And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa,
"Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah:
"These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations (Genesis 25:12-16). Like Jacob, who was to sire twelve princes, each of whom would become the father of a nation, Ishmael was also to be the progenitor of twelve tribes, or nations. The word "nation" should not be understood here in a political sense, but in an ethnic sense only. The prophecy did not mean each son of Ishmael would become a king over a specific country, or political nation, but the progenitor of a tribe.
Ishmael himself was prophesied to become a "wild ass of a man," with "his hand against every man, and every man's hand against him." The term should not be understood as an insult, the way it would be used today. Rather, it implied a fierce, hardy, untamed man of the desert; a warrior who would always dwell "near his brethren." Writing of the history of the Bedoin tribes of the Arab nations of the last century, Kitto says, "Nearly 4,000 years have passed since the Ishmaelites became a nation [a people, not a single political entity], and yet in disposition, in manners, in habits, in government, in occupation, and even in dress, they are the same as they were at the first" (Kitto's Bible Cyclopedia, vol II, p.431).
As the centuries passed, and as the children of Abraham through Keturah mingled with the children of Abraham through Hagar and Ishmael, many different Middle Eastern tribes developed. Eventually, they occupied vast areas from near India in the east to the Mediterranean, and gradually spread across Northern Africa.
"And it has not been in the confines of their own desert home only that `the hand of the Ishmaelite has been against every man.' Inspired by the fierce fanaticism, and led by the daring chiefs of Mohammed, they carried their victorious arms to the banks of the Oxus and the Indus on the east, and over Syria, Egypt, Northern Africa, and Spain, to the shore of the Atlantic on the west" (ibid. P. 431). Notice that the Bible said the sons of Ishmael were listed by "their cities and their camps," and by their "princes according to their nations." Kitto says, "In this respect the statements in the Bible exactly accord with the ancient traditions and histories of the Arabs themselves. Native historians divide the Arabs into two races: 1. Pure Arabs; descendants of Joktan; and 2. Mixed Arabs, descendants of Ishmael" (ibid. p. 430).
For many centuries, the "purest Arabs" were known as "Bedouins," which meant "dwellers in the open land," or nomads. The term is "...the name given to the most important, as it is the best known, division of the Arab race. The Bedouins are the descendants of the Arabs of North Arabia whose traditions claim Ishmael as their ancestor. The deserts of North Arabia seem to have been their earliest home, but even in ancient times they had migrated to the lowlands of Egypt and Syria. The Arab conquest of northern Africa in the 7th century A.D. caused a wide dispersion, so that today the Arab element is strongly represented in the Nile Valley [most modern citizens of Egypt are Arabs, not ethnic Egyptians], Saharan, and Nubian peoples" (The Encyclopedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, Vol. 3, p. 623).
The earliest known traditions among the Arabs of the Saudi Arabian peninsula [the name "Saudi" is strictly a family, or tribal name] are that their people are derived from two stocks, the "...pure Arabs, descended from Kahtan or Joktan, fourth in descent from Shem; and the Mustarab or naturalized Arabs, from Ishmael" (ibid. Vol. 2. p. 261). Therefore, according to their own traditions, the many Arab nations represent a mixture of Hamitic and Semitic stocks. The same authority says, "Arabia is a land of Semites, and is supposed by some scholars to have been the original home of the Semitic peoples. Although this cannot be said to be proved, the studies, linguistic and archaeological, of Semitic scholars have shown it to be probable. The dispersion from Arabia is easy to imagine. The migration into Babylonia was simple, as there are no natural boundaries to separate it from northeast Arabia...the connection with Palestine has always been close...Arabian literature has its own version of prehistoric times, but it is entirely legendary and apocryphal" (ibid. P. 263).
Who Were The Earliest Inhabitants Of Palestine?
History proves that many peoples bear the names given them by others—sometimes the names attached to them by their enemies. As an example, the word "Teuton," attached to the fierce, warlike tribes in central Europe north of the Roman limes, merely meant "spear thrower." The name "Deutschland" for Germany, and "Dutch," for the people of Holland has this ancient origin.
It is important to note that the names for nationalities rarely reveal their true ethnic origins. An "American" is a citizen of the "United States of America," which name came from the first name of the Italian explorer, "Americus Vespucci." Yet, an "American" can come from many dozens of different ethnic origins. Hundreds of modern nations bear names which do not remotely describe their earliest inhabitants, or even subsequent occupants. Christopher Columbus, completely confused, supposed he had landed in India, and so called the aboriginal inhabitants he encountered "Indians." The name remains today. There are dozens of other examples everywhere in the world.
As another important point, remember that the peoples living in Egypt today are not the same people as the Egyptians of the days of the Pharaohs and the Exodus. They are Arabs, not ethnic "Egyptians." Study the origins of the "Gypsies" in this regard, and ponder the origin of the pyramid builders of Mexico, Central and South America.
Many of the tribes in Palestine from very early times were given names by others, according to where they dwelt, or because they possessed certain characteristics. Though some of the names of tribes in Palestine at the time of the Exodus are questionable, the best scholarship lists them thus: "The Hittites, according to Genesis 23, extended to Hebron in an early age, but they were driven out of central Palestine before the Exodus by Thothmes III [Brugsch, Hist. Egyp. I. 325]. The Philistines [which means "Palestinian"], said to appear on monuments B.C. 1,200, and whose god Dagon was worshiped at Ashkelon in the 15th cent. B.C. are thought to have been of Cretan origin...but the remaining tribes bear Semitic names, such as Canaanites 'lowlanders'[?] of Sharon and the Jordan Valley, Perizzites or `villagers' [?], Kenites or `spear-men' [?], Kenizzites or `hunters' [?], Kadmonites or `easterns.' The same cannot be said, however, of the Amalekites, who seem to have lived even in central Palestine [Judges 12:15, though they are usually spoken of as a tribe in the desert south of Palestine], or of the Girgashites—perhaps near Gergesa...the population thus seems originally to have included three distinct stocks, though many of the above names may be descriptive. The Hittites and Amorites alone are monumentally known—the first a hairless race with slanting eyes and pigtails, apparently Mongols; and the latter a darker people, bearded and black-haired, with aquiline Semitic features. The Hebrew groups, including Ammonites, Moabites, and the half-breed Ishmaelites and Edomites, were distinguished by language from the aborigines" (A Dictionary Of The Bible, James Hastings, Vol. 3, p. 646).
Shortly after the confusion of languages at the tower of Babel, the various tribes of Shem, Ham, and Japheth began overspreading the land; Japheth to the east, Shem to the west, and Ham from the Middle East southward. However, from the very earliest times, as indicated above, there were representatives of all three of the basic racial stocks living in parts of Palestine. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah were most probably Hamitic. The Hittites were probably Japthetic, but the Ishmaelites and descendants of Joktan were Semitic. The earliest "Philistines" were not Arab stock, (even though their name is attached to the land), but were Hamitic! Notice, "Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah,
And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.
"And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim,
"And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim) and Caphtorim.
"And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth,
"And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite,
"And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite,"
"And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad.
"And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha.
"These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations." Ham was a black man, and is the progenitor of the black races, of which there are dozens of varieties. Thus, we see that the entire region of Palestine and the Mideast, including the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates (or "Mesopotamia," which means "Land between the rivers") commonly called the "cradle of civilization", was originally overspread by all three representatives of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japeth. Eventually, the lands of the Middle East were settled primarily by Semitic people, even though earlier families of Hamitic stock were also to be found along the maritime plain and Mediterranean seacoast.
It is important to realize that many of the peoples dispossessed by the Israelites after the exodus were not Arabs at all, but were Hamitic peoples.
When the newly-formed nation of Israel passed through the Sinai desert, then, forty years later, crossed over the Jordan river into the land of Palestine, they found the land inhabited by many different tribes, some of which were of great size. So much so, that the spies who had been sent to search out the land were in terror of the "giants" they had seen. Their report to Caleb caused a near revolt. The peoples of the maritime plain and the mountains of Palestine were called "the children of Anak," the Amalekites, who dwelt in the southern portion, the Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, and Canaanites. The Amorites were a mountain-dwelling people, while the Canaanites dwelt by the Mediterranean, and along the West Bank of the Jordan (Numbers 13).
Remember, Canaan was a son of Ham, not Shem. Though many have referred to "Palestine" as "The Land of Canaan," the term does not connote Arabian stock.
Because of the near revolt, and their faithlessness toward God, it was predicted that none of them from twenty years of age and above, would inherit the land (Numbers 14:29-32). Only the younger ones would cross the Jordan. Turned away after they first assayed to inherit the promised land, the Israelites asked the Edomites, who were descendants of Esau, Jacob's brother, for passage through their land. Here is the Biblical account: "And Moses sent messengers from Kadesh unto the king of Edom, Thus saith thy brother Israel, Thou knowest all the travail that hath befallen us:
"How our fathers went down into Egypt, and we have dwelt in Egypt a long time; and the Egyptians vexed us, and our fathers:
"And when we cried unto the LORD, he heard our voice, and sent an angel, and hath brought us forth out of Egypt: and, behold, we are in Kadesh, a city in the uttermost of thy border:
"Let us pass, I pray thee, through thy country: we will not pass through the fields, or through the vineyards, neither will we drink of the water of the wells: we will go by the king's high way, we will not turn to the right hand nor to the left, until we have passed thy borders.
"And Edom said unto him, Thou shalt not pass by me, lest I come out against thee with the sword.
"And the children of Israel said unto him, We will go by the high way: and if I and my cattle drink of thy water, then I will pay for it: I will only, without doing any thing else, go through on my feet.
"And he said, Thou shalt not go through. And Edom came out against him with much people, and with a strong hand.
"Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border: wherefore Israel turned away from him (Numbers 20:14-21).
After Aaron's death, a king named Arad, of the Canaanites, attacked the Israelites, taking prisoners. Here is what happened: "And when king Arad the Canaanite, which dwelt in the south, heard tell that Israel came by the way of the spies; then he fought against Israel, and took some of them prisoners.
"And Israel vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.
"And the LORD hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities: and he called the name of the place Hormah (Numbers 21:1-3). The term "Canaanites" was used for many different tribes who inhabited the land of Palestine from the Jordan valley to the Mediterranean. Zephaniah prophesied, "Woe to the inhabitants of the seacoast, the nation of the Cherethites! The word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant" (Zephaniah 2:5). The term "Canaanite" has been the subject of much dispute, because instead of attaching it to the earliest descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham, it has been attached to many other peoples who inhabited the land of Palestine over the centuries. The Encyclopedia Britannica (Eleventh Edition) says, "...Canaan [referring to the land, not Ham's son] in particular is shown to be an Arabian name. Now it is no mere hypothesis that beginning from about 4,000 B.C. a wave of Semitic migration poured out of Arabia, and flooded Babylonia certainly, and possibly, more or less, Syria and Palestine also. Also that between 2,800 and 2,600 B.C. a second wave from Arabia took the same course, covering not only Babylonia, but also Syria and Palestine and probably also Egypt [the Hyksos] (ibid. Vol. 5, p. 140-141).
The history books will tell you that from the early "bronze age," commencing about 3,000 B.C., successive waves of Semites (from "Shem," the son of Noah, and progenitor of all the Arabs and Israelitish tribes) moved into Palestine.
In 1479 B.C., Thutmose III of Egypt conquered the region. Egyptian control was challenged by other newly-arriving immigrants; the "Habiru" (Hebrews, not Jews, but earlier descendants from "Eber") from Mesopotamia, Amorites from the Lebanon, and Hittites from Anatolia (modern-day Turkey). It was not until 1,200 to 1,000 B.C. that the "Philistines" which meant "peoples of the sea," established themselves along the Agean, and the maritime plain of modern-day Palestine.
Around 1,225 B.C., the Israelites crossed the river Jordan following their hundreds of years captivity in Egypt, and settled in the land.
The Encyclopedia Americana says, "After 1,150 B.C., Egyptian control [of Palestine] slackened; and with the Philistines in the role of catalytic agent, unification of the Twelve Tribes of Israel took place—under their first king, Saul, and his two great successors, David and Solomon. At the time of his death in 973 B.C., David had conquered Jerusalem, made it his capital, and broken the power of the Philistines" (ibid. Vol. 21, p. 199).
At no time was Jerusalem ever the political capital of any Arab state. It is important to remember that Israel occupied the land of Palestine after the Exodus when no such religion as "Islam" existed. The peoples of early Palestine were entirely heathen. Many practiced infant sacrifice. They were polytheistic, worshiping "Baal" (Nimrod, or Isis) and various versions of Semiramus, or "Ishtar," (pronounced "Easter") the mother/wife of Nimrod, and founder of the Babylonish mystery religion.
Islam, or "Mohammedanism," the creation of "Mahomet," did not appear on the world scene until more than six centuries after the birth of Christianity, and more than three centuries after the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. The religion of the Middle East was at first that of the patriarchs following the flood, then of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and finally that of Israel, when they were brought out of slavery in Egypt, and into the promised land. There are marked similarities between the religion of Islam and that of Moses, and Muslims claim a distinct relationship to Abraham, not only religiously, but ethnically.
Mohammad and "Islam."
The faith called "Islam," as it was called by its founder, "Mahomet" or "Mohammad" (it is spelled variously in the histories) is virtually universal among the Arab races. Its roots are found in the life and teachings of Muhammad, who died, according to tradition on June 7th, 632 A.D., or, in Arab reckoning, 11 A.H. (After Hejirah). The term means "submission," or "to surrender." Allegedly, it finds its roots in the total surrender of Abraham's will to God in the circumstance of the near-sacrifice of Isaac, as well as Isaac's docile surrender to his father's will and purpose. It is presumed that Mahomet built his religion on this concept, and it is mentioned in the Koran several times.
Mahomet claimed to be a "prophet," or an "apostle." At different times he used both terms, the latter being Jewish. Since he claimed to be the only spokesman for God, he eventually became the "divinely appointed dictator" of his community. To disobey him would result in divine vengeance overtaking the disobedient. His earliest visions were said to have been accomplished by wrapping himself in a blanket, entering into a trance, and then, preceded by copious perspiration, uttering oracles or prayers. According to Mahomet, he was "directed" at the first, or so he said, to communicate his visions only to his nearest relatives.
Eventually, his followers began urging him to come forward, which ultimately resulted in his ouster from Mecca and his "Hejirah," or the famous flight to Medina. The date for this event is the same for Islam as "B.C. and A.D." ("Before Christ," and "Anno Domini," or "Year of Our Lord") for Christians. The Encyclopedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, says: "Rejecting accounts of Mahomet's first appearance as a public preacher, which are evidently comments on a text of the Koran, we have reason for supposing that his hand was forced by ardent followers, who many times in his career compelled him to advance. The astute rulers of the community perceived that the claim made by Mahomet was to be dictator or autocrat; and while this was naturally ridiculed by them, some appear to have been devoted adherents of the gods or goddesses whom he attacked...apparently there was a war of words, followed by a resort to diplomacy and then to force; and then a period in which Mahomet's attention was directed to foreign conversions, resulting in his being offered and accepting the dictatorship of Yathrib" (Ibid. Vol. 17: p. 403). Yathrib was afterwards known as Medina.
There were two important tribes in Yathrib called the Aus and the Khazraj which were engaged in a feud at the time. There was a significant Jewish community in Yathrib, or Medina. In a series of battles between the two feuding tribes, the Aus were bested by the Khazraj. The Jews took no part in the feud, but ultimately were compelled to fight on the side of the Aus in the battle of Bu'ath. Mahomet had used a "divine title" which the Jews recognized, "Rahman" (a name common among Muslims today). When the battle was won, it was no doubt attributed by the Jews to divine intervention.
As Mahomet preached his ideas to the people of Medina, some of his first converts appear to have been members of the Khazraj who desired to secure the aid of the Israelitish deity during their next conflict with the Aus. The Encyclopedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, states, "For this the plan was substituted of inviting the prophet to come to Mecca as dictator, to heal the feud and restore order, a procedure to which Greek antiquity offers parallels. The new converts were told to carry on secret propaganda in Yathrib [Medina] with this end in view. At the next feast some of the rival faction embraced Islam. A trusty follower of Mahomet, Mus'ab b. `Umair, who resembled Mahomet in personal appearance, was sent to Yathrib to assist in the work...we first hear at this time the conditions of Islam, i.e. a series of undertakings into which the convert entered: namely, to abstain from adultery, theft, infanticide and lying, and to obey Mahomet in licitis et honestis [completely and honestly]. The wholesale conversion of Yathrib was determined by that of two chieftains, Usaid b. Huraith and Sa'd b. Mu'adh, both Ausites. The example of these was quickly followed, and iconoclasm became rife in the place. At the next Meccan feast a deputation of seventy Yathribites brought Mahomet a formal invitation, which he accepted, after imposing certain conditions" (ibid. Vol. 17, pp. 403-404).
By force of personality and claims of divine authority, Mahomet had managed to deeply affect not only the Aus and the Yathribites, but was now seen, by the magnates of Mecca, as a bitter enemy. The same authority says, "Although the transactions with the people of Yathrib had been carried on with profound secrecy, the nature of Mahomet's contract with his new adherents was somewhat divulged to the Meccan magnates, and the danger of allowing an implacable enemy to establish himself on the high-road of their northbound caravans flashed upon them. The rule which forbade bloodshed in the sacred city had at last to be suspended; but elaborate precautions were to be taken whereby every tribe [except Mahomet's own clan] should have their share of the guilt, which would thus be spread over the whole community fairly. When the committee appointed to perpetrate the crime [they intended putting him to death] reached Mahomet's house, they found that it was too late; Mahomet had already departed, leaving Ali in his bed" (ibid. Vol. 17, p. 404). There is substantial literature available concerning Mahomet's raids on caravans, including the name of the very first person to be killed while fighting against a Moslem force. He was `Amr b. al-Hadrami, a member of a caravan attacked by the followers of Mahomet at the beginning of the sacred month of Rajab. Mahomet had decided to take advantage of his professed power to bind and to loose, and so had ordered the attack at a time when raiding was unknown, and the caravans felt safe. A few months later, Mahomet organized a raid against a caravan returning from Syria which had evaded him the previous year. A band of 300 were organized, including a large number of adherents who called themselves "Helpers." The leader of the caravan somehow learned of the impending attack, and so hurried home by forced marches.
Later, a major battle was fought between Meccans and the followers of Mahomet on March 17, 624 A.D. in which Mahomet won a decisive victory which he attributed to divine intervention. He alleged that God had dispatched a regiment of angels to fight on his side, while the devil confused the Meccans.
The Encyclopedia Britannica (Eleventh Edition) says, "In the narratives which have come down and which seem to be authentic the result is amply accounted for by the excellence of the Moslem discipline and the complete absence of any on the Meccan side. Mahomet himself is said to have fainted at the first sight of blood, and to have remained during the battle in a hut built for him to which swift camels were tied, to be used in case of a defeat; yet these accounts make him responsible for the tactics, whilst assigning the credit for the strategy to one Hobab b. al-Mondhir. Several of Mahomet's old enemies and friends of Meccans perished on this occasion; notably one Abu Jahl, his uncle...another hostile uncle, Abu Lahab, who is cursed in the Koran, was not present but died shortly after the battle" (ibid. Vol. 17, p. 405).
This is an important date in Mohammedan tradition, called "the Day of Deliverance." The story of supernatural aid for Mahomet soothed the feelings of the defeated Meccans; Mahomet gained in popularity and was able to strike at his enemies in Medina. The same authority says, "One of the sequels to the victory was a series of assassinations whereby critics of his actions were removed" (ibid. Vol. 17. p. 405). "Assassin" was originally the name for a secret murderer, and derives from the familiar "Hashish," an opiate made from the juice of hemp leaves. The "Hashishin" became "Assassin," which was originally the name of a branch of the Shi'ite Sect, known as "Isma'lites," founded by Hassan (ibn) Sabah.
Mahomet eventually subdued Mecca, and some years later the entire Arabian peninsula. His horizons continually expanded. "The conquest of Persia is said to have been contemplated by the prophet as early as A.H. 5, when the famous Trench was being dug, but it was not till the year A.H. 7, on the eve of the taking of Mecca, that the prophet conceived of sending missives to all known sovereigns and potentates, promising them safety if, but only if, they embraced Islam. Thus it was that Mahomet envisioned eventual world conquest. The Britannica says, "The prophet claimed throughout that his revelation confirmed the Jewish and Christian Scriptures, and this claim is on the whole reasonable, though his acquaintance with both was in the highest degree vague and inaccurate. Still he reproduced the Old Testament as faithfully as he could, and though he patriotically endeavors to shed some lustre on his supposed ancestor Ishmael, he does not appear to have questioned the Biblical theory according to which the founder of the north Arabian nations was the son of a slave girl...he even allows that Israel was the chosen people" (Ibid. p. 407).
The Religion Of Mahomet—Islam
The Arabic name for God is "Allah," which is similar in origin to the Hebrew "Elohim." For the many names, titles, and attributes of God in the Bible, see the "Divine Names and Titles" section under the name "God" in the Oxford King James Version of the Bible, or the notes and appendices in the Companion Bible, by Bullinger.
There are many similarities between Islam and Judaism, but there are also marked differences. As a monotheistic religion, Islam insists, in its first and primary article of faith, that "There is no God but Allah," which is one of the most common statements in Islamic doctrine. Muslims, or adherents to Islam, believe that God is One; He is pre-existent [before all things]; that he is Omnipotent and Omniscient. They believe he is the Creator of all things, and, according to the Koran, that he "begets not and is not begotten; nor is there like unto Him any one."
As the second most important article of faith, it is believed that Mahomet, or Muhammad, or "Mehmet" (Turkish), is the messenger of God, in the tradition of Noah, Abraham, Moses, or Jesus Christ. Islamic Arabs believe Jesus Christ was a "prophet" of God, but do not accept Him as Messiah. Rather, they believe Mahomet was the last and greatest of all the prophets, and that he ascended to heaven from the site of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.
As Christians, or at least some of them, believe the Bible is the revealed Word of God, so Islamic Arabs believe the Koran is the word of God which was dictated, word by word, by the archangel Gabriel. Another belief is that the Koran should only be studied and repeated in the "original tongue," or Arabic, and that the original Koran is in heaven—the "seventh heaven," where it is guarded by God and the angels.
As in the Levitical rites of purification, Muslims believe no-one should ever touch the Koran unless undergoing rites of purity and ablutions. As in the Bible, Muslims believe in angels; that they are superior spirit beings to humans, and the names attached to them are similar to those of the Bible.
Like a starving man wishes for food and water, so it would seem the dwellers of the desert pictured "paradise," or "heaven," as a place of shade and water, of comforts, relaxation, enjoyment and sensual satisfaction. The Koran states, "He hath awarded them for all that they endured [such as dying in warfare, or blowing themselves to bits aboard an Israeli bus], with Paradise and silk attire, reclining therein upon couches. Naught shall they know of sun or bitter cold. Its shades close upon them, and low shall its fruits hang down. Vessels of silver are brought round for them, and goblets like flagons, flagons made of silver whose measure they themselves shall mete. There they are given to drink a cup whereof the mixture is of ginger from the fount named salsbil. There go round among them boys of everlasting youth whom, when thou seest, thou wouldst take for scattered pearls. And when thou lookest at this, thou wilt see bliss and high estate. Their raiment will be of fine green silk and gold brocade. With silver bracelets will they be adorned, and their Lord will give them drink of a pure beverage" (Koran: 76:12-12).
Nothing is said about what "pure beverage" is to be drunk in the Islamic version of heaven, nor why such mundane metals as silver and gold, or "fruits" which are entirely biological, are to be found in "Paradise." Many religions envision escape from the mundane to some "higher level" of existence, and, even though they admit to such a transition as being entirely spiritual, tend to believe in purely physical, sensual rewards such as leisure, fine clothing, luxurious homes and fine foods.
Imagining enjoyment of the five senses appears ludicrous and illogical, since it is only the "soul" or the "spirit" which enters Paradise according to the belief, and not a physical metabolic organism which depends upon food and drink for survival.
Islamic believers also envision a final judgement day, believe in the immortality of the "soul," and, remarkably like millions of nominal Christians, believe in an ever-burning hell fire where the damned are to be tortured eternally.
Eventually, Islamic teachers explained that "hell" consisted of seven divisions, where evil-doers are consigned to varying degrees of torture depending upon the degree of their evil.
Like many other religions, including some of the "New Age" adherents and believers in aliens from outer space or a "mother ship" trailing along behind a comet, the entire religion of Islam is founded upon the concept of the "immortality of the soul."
Unlike nominal Christianity, Islam is not merely a "belief" which is essentially separate from one's life pursuits or practice. Millions of nominal Christians work together, play together, enjoy social contacts, yet attend different churches, and believe very different things. Islam, on the other hand, demands constant outward practice.
No pastor of a nominal Christian church really knows whether his parishioners pray or not, even though he may deliver any number of sermons exhorting them to pray. But Islam requires a verbal profession of God, and verbal acknowledgment that only Mohammad (or "Muhammad") is his prophet.
There are five religious "duties" in Islam. The first is as expressed above. The second is to practice five legally prescribed acts of prayer each day. In my many visits to the Middle East, I have poignant memories of the recorded voices emanating from loudspeakers in the minarets from Amman to Cairo, and from Jerusalem to Istanbul, echoing about the cities with the "call to prayer."
In mosques all over the world of Islam, millions of Arabs kneel in orderly rows, listening to the prayers as they repeatedly press their foreheads to the carpet on the floor. Prescribed preparation for prayer includes ceremonies of purification and ablution. Following the required ablutions (in the absence of water even sand or dust is used), the Moslems stand with faces toward Mecca, then recite various formulas, and, kneeling on the floor, perform a number of genuflections. This is done at early dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, at sunset, and at night.
Many wealthy Arabs from the oil-rich Middle East such as Saudi Arabia possess their own luxurious jet aircraft, including such massive planes as the Boeing 747. I have seen the interior sketches and designs for one such airplane which was being prepared for the king of Saudi Arabia. It featured a large, plush room in which a gyro-driven pointer was mounted in a bubble in the ceiling which always pointed toward Mecca, no matter in which direction the airplane was flying. Thus, at the required time, those on board could gather in the large lounge room, turn on a tape-recorded Islamic prayer, and bow toward Mecca.
The third duty of Islam is almsgiving, which, in the early years of the religion were collected by officials appointed for the purpose, and were assumed to be used for the building of mosques and helping the poor. As the religion spread over the world, the practice of almsgiving became personal.
Fasting is the fourth duty, and "Ramadan," supposedly the month in which the Koran was revealed. Since the early calendar used by Moslems was a lunar one, "Ramadan" can rotate through the solar year, falling even in the heat of the summer. The "fast," however, is to be endured only from dawn until sunset. One may eat to the full from sunset until the following dawn.
The fifth obligation is to perform at least a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to the holy places in Arabia, preferably Mecca. The Arabic word for pilgrim is "hajj." Once a Moslem has made such a pilgrimage, he is entitled to wear the name like a title, in front of his name. A highly recommended book is "The Haj," by best-selling author Leon Uris of "Exodus" fame, which gives fascinating insight into the attitudes of Arabs and Israelis who lived side by side in Palestine for decades prior to the creation of the state of Israel and the 1967 six-day war.
There is a sixth and last obligation, according to at least one Islamic sect, and that is the duty of waging "Jihad," or "holy war." This view sees Islam as occupying one zone of the world; a zone in which peace reigns. The other zone is occupied by non-Moslems, and it is the duty of every Moslem to bring them under the banner of Islam. One passage in the Koran says, "Fight in the path of God against those who fight against you, but be not the aggressors; for verily God loveth not the aggressors. And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter."
This is especially significant in the light of present-day conditions in Palestine. Like the infamous "kamikaze" ("divine wind") suicide bombers of Japan in the latter stages of the war in the Pacific during World War II, Islamic fanatics become suicide bombers by blowing themselves to bits aboard crowded buses, or in busy coffee shops and shopping centers. They believe that they are guaranteed instantaneous entry into the Islamic version of paradise if they lose their lives while killing "infidels," or unbelievers in Islam.
Average nominal Christians, who believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ, who said, "love your enemies," find it difficult to understand the depths of such hatred or fanatical belief. To average nominal Christians, this physical life is precious; a gift from God during which one should strive to follow the teachings of Christ and the Bible. Unfortunately, there is little defense against a determined suicide bomber, as events over many years in Israel have proven. The teachings of Mahomet eventually spread throughout the Middle East and Africa; found its way to Pakistan and Malaysia, and to the Philippines and Indonesia. Every seventh human being on earth is an adherent to Islam. Mahomet lived in Mecca, which city appears nowhere in historical records. Its pre-Islamic religion was almost certainly pagan, and featured a sanctuary shaped of "black stone," called a "Cube" (Arabic, "ka'ba). During the fourth century of Islam, the black stone was stolen by the Carmathians, but afterwards returned (though it was never proven to be the same stone).
Like all religions, Islam had its detractors and defectors, as well as its would-be leaders of offshoots with their own agendas. One such sect was that of the Carmathians, or "Qarmathians," which took its name from Hamdan Qarmat, who was himself a convert to what was then called "the religion of the Ishmaelites," or "Islam." He lived in Iraq. His teacher was Hosain ul-Ahwazi, son of a Persian Shiite, Abdallah ibn Maimun, who introduced various "degrees" of a "secret society" within the religion to attract followers. Like so many cults and sects, one of the primary requirements was to be in strict personal submission to the leader.
Also like so many cults, once one was initiated into the faith, one progressed from certain levels to the next, until one had passed through seven degrees. This was later expanded to nine. In the first stage, the believer paid a sum of money, took an oath of complete submission and was then shown that there was "mystery" in the Koran that could only be explained by a special teacher, an "imam." As he progressed through the various stages, he was shown that the mainstream Islamic teachers were wrong in doctrine, and that the imams alone were infallible.
They learned there had "always been an imam," whether openly or in secret, and that, since an imam could do no wrong, and that Is'mail, the eldest son of the sixth imam had drunk wine, then wine drinking could not be wrong. The drinking of alcoholic beverages is strictly condemned by Islamic fundamentalists.
By the time the adherent had passed through the fifth state of secret doctrines, he had ceased to be a believer in Islam altogether. Their doctrines were said to remain extant in Syria, Arabia, Iran, and India, as well as Zanzibar, into the early twentieth century.
The Abbasids, Seljuk Turks and Ottomans
From shortly after the death of Mohammed, or Mahomet, various dynasties emerged which eventually ruled over the entire Middle East. At the height of the Ottoman Empire, the Islamic religion held sway from Vienna in Austria to well within India.
The eldest uncle of Mahomet was "Abbas," who lived from A.D. 566 to 652. His family regarded themselves as rightful heirs of the prophet Mahomet, in competition with the Omayyads, the descendants of Omayya, who claimed the same right. The word "caliph" means "successor." Shortly after the death of Mahomet, various arguments ensued as to who was his rightful successor. There is much history available to a serious student of the caliphates, and the gradual development of Islam. In brief, the citizens of Medina believed themselves to be in charge of their own affairs, and, following Mahomet's death, wished to appoint one of their own as caliph, or successor. The term eventually came to mean "ruler" more than "successor."
There became three main divisions of the Mohammedan rulers in the east who were "caliphs." They consisted of the first four caliphs, who were the immediate successors of Mahomet, the Omayyad caliphs, and the Abbasid caliphs. The Encyclopedia Britannica (Eleventh Edition) says, "Throughout the second period of the Omayyads, representatives of the family were among their [the Abbasids'] most dangerous opponents, partly by the skill with which they undermined the reputation of the reigning princes by accusations against their orthodoxy, their moral character and their administration in general, and partly by their cunning manipulation of internecine jealousies among the Arabic and non-Arabic subjects of the empire" (Ibid. Vol. 1, p. 10). There is truly nothing new under the sun. To this day, the identical tactics are used by would-be leaders of religious groups who attempt to build a following based upon their accusations against perceived competitors or former leaders.
The Seljuk Turks, who campaigned into present-day European and Asiatic Turkey, inherited their power from the then decadent caliphate of Baghdad.
From the 11th century until fairly recent times (at the end of World War I), the Middle East and Palestine were ruled by the Turks. The Seljuks were Turkish family members who formed several dynasties over more than three centuries. Their rule forms the first part of the history of the Turkish empire.
They came from the deserts of Turkestan (the term meant "one who looks like a Turk"), and were no doubt Edomites. Their rise to power reestablished the power of orthodox Islam, ending a decaying, subversive influence of the ultra-Shiite tenets of the religion, which threatened the continuance of Islam itself. The first Seljuk rulers were Toghrul Beg, Chakir Beg and Ibraim Niyal. Seljuk was their grandfather.
Much literature is available concerning these dynasties. With only the temporary exception of some of the crusades, the Seljuks, followed by the Ottomans, ruled Palestine, and therefore Jerusalem, for many centuries.
Legend says "Oghuz," the son of Kara Kahn, was the "father of the Ottoman Turks." The Ottoman Empire ruled the Middle East for about seven hundred long years. It is very important to note that not once during this vast period of time was there ever a suggestion on the part of any of the Arab or Turkish leaders that a "separate Palestinian state" be established in Palestine, or that Jerusalem be made a political capital.
During the many centuries of the Ottoman Empire, the sword of Islam advanced to the gates of Vienna, conquered much of the Balkans, and at one time extended from India to Austria. It would require a very large book to detail only a portion of this vast history; of the intrigues, wars, treaties, treachery and murder that occurred. As an illustration from this immense and detailed history of the roots of the present-day conflict over Palestine and Jerusalem, study this excerpt from The Encyclopedia Britannica (Eleventh Edition) concerning the tsar of Russia's interest in Turkey (as geography naturally required, and as past wars and conflicts demanded): "By his [Tsar Nicholas'] concert with the other powers in the affair of Mehemet Ali, the tsar had abdicated his claim to a unique influence at Constantinople, and he began to revive the idea of ending the Ottoman rule in Europe, an idea which he had only unwillingly abandoned in 1829 in response to the unanimous opinion of his advisers. In 1844 he took advantage of a visit to England to propose to British ministers a plan of partition, under which Great Britain was to receive Egypt and Crete, Constantinople was to be erected as a free city, and the Balkan states were to become autonomous under Russian protection. This proposal, as might have been expected, only served to arouse suspicions as to Russia's plans; it was politely rejected, and the whole Eastern Question slumbered, until, early in 1850, it was awakened by an incident trivial enough in itself, but pregnant with future trouble: a quarrel of Catholic and Orthodox [Greek] monks about the holy places in Palestine" (Ibid. Vol. 27, p. 459, emphasis added).
The geopolitical fallout from this quarrel was immense. It eventually resulted, as we shall see, in a division of the entire region; a vast area from Austria to Pakistan, by the three major powers, Russia, France and Great Britain, who emerged victorious following the wars of the next fifty years, including World War I.
Long prior to the birth of Mohammad, or Mahomet, the nominal Christian religion had laid claim to "holy places" in and about Jerusalem. Monasteries were founded, cathedrals built. With the eventual splitting of the Catholic Church into Greek Orthodoxy and the Roman church, inevitable competition between the two churches occurred. Remember, nominal Christianity preceded the faith called Islam in Palestine by about eight hundred years. Today, the source of strife is the conflict between Islam and Judaism, with the nominal Christian world looking on in deep concern because of the vital energy resources in Saudi Arabia and the gulf states. Early on, the conflict was between Greek Orthodoxy and the Roman Catholic church, and between both of the nominal Christian religions and Judaism. Islam was late to arrive on the scene.
As a result of the strife between Orthodox monks and Catholic monks in Jerusalem in 1850, Napoleon III handed the Ottoman government in Constantinople a formal demand for the restitution of rights of Catholic clerics in Jerusalem. As the above quoted authority states, "It was now clear that no less an issue was involved than a contest between France and Russia for paramount influence in the East, a contest into which Great Britain would inevitably be dragged" (Ibid. Vol. 27, p. 460). This is important. Britain's interests were primarily economic, even though the period of the Crusades into Palestine were fueled by religious strife. Concessions were made, during which the British government urged a compromise upon Constantinople in which Protestants and Mohammedans were given equal rights with the Ottoman Turks providing "protection." Neither Napoleon nor Nicholas really desired a settlement, however. Napoleon wanted a war because he wanted to expand the French empire, and Nicholas wanted a war because he wanted to expel the Muslims from Europe; especially from the Balkans. The influence of Islam in the Balkans planted the seeds which have blossomed into genocidal wars for centuries, including the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia in recent times, and the protracted butchery that took place between Serbs (many of whom are Greek Orthodox) and Croats (many of whom are of Islam) in Bosnia.
Nicholas believed France "...would never come single-handed to the assistance of Turkey; Austria would be bound at least to benevolent neutrality by `gratitude' for the aid given in 1849; the king of Prussia would sympathize with a Christian crusade; Great Britain, where under the influence of John Bright and Richard Cobden the `peace at any price' spirit seemed to be in the ascendant, would never intervene. Nicholas even hoped for the active sympathy of Britain...Early in 1853 the Russian army was mobilized, and Prince Menshikov...was sent to present the emperor's [Tsar Nicholas] ultimatum [concerning the holy places in Jerusalem] at Constantinople" (Ibid. P. 460).
On April 22nd, the French, Russian and British ministers came to an agreement on the holy places. Menshikov nevertheless delivered his ultimatum to the Ottoman government, and on the same day, Russian troops crossed into the Balkans. This caused a major degree of excitement in Britain, where the government still attempted to preserve peace in the region. But it was too late. Russia wanted the Ottomans and Islam out of the Balkans.
Eventually, the Crimean War resulted. The Turkish government declared war on Russia in the beginning of October of that year, and the French and British fleets passed through the Dardanelles, with the clear message to Tsar Nicholas that, so long as the Russians did not pass the mouth of the Danube, the status quo would be maintained. To Nicholas, this was tantamount to a declaration of war because he had no intention of stopping at the Danube. The Russian naval forces attacked and slaughtered a Turkish squadron in the harbor of Sinope, which resulted in the combined French and British fleets entering the Black Sea.
The war came to an end after British and French forces landed in the Crimea in 1854, and the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1856. Its provisions were as follows: "Russia abandoned all pretensions to exercise a protectorate over the Christians in Turkey, or to an exclusive right of interference in the Danubian principalities [modern-day Bulgaria, Hungary, and Serbia, among others], to which Bessarabia was restored; the navigation of the Danube was made free and placed under the supervision of an international commission; the Black Sea was closed to warships, while open to the commercial flags of all countries; the Asiatic frontier between the two empires [Russia and Turkey] remained unchanged; Turkey was admitted to the concert of Europe." The treaty further provided "...for a large measure of local autonomy for the Christian communities [including Protestant, Catholic, and Greek Orthodox who were in Jerusalem]. Fanatical outbreaks of violence by Mohammedans against Jews and Christians in Jidda and Syria, however, resulted in French occupation, which in turn resulted in autonomy for "the Lebanon." A Christian governor was appointed by the three triumphant powers, and the arrangement lasted for many years.
As you will remember, the bloody civil war that destroyed Beirut, Lebanon, formerly called "The Paris of the Mideast," which took so many lives, was primarily a clash between Maronite Christians, the Phalangists, and Islamic fundamentalists. In 1958, the United States was dragged into the conflict when U.S. Marines landed in Lebanon and remained from May until October, 1958. The history of Lebanon's civil war between the Maronites, Phalangists and other Christian groups and the leftist Muslims and Palestinian groups is a bloody, repelling story. Over 60,000 were killed and billions of dollars of damage incurred during the 1975-76 civil war, and Israel twice occupied Lebanon. In 1983, some 50 were killed in a terrorist bombing of the U.S. Embassy, and on April 18th of that year, 241 U.S. Marines and 58 French soldiers were killed in a massive suicide attack on their barracks.
To this day, Israeli soldiers continue to occupy a portion of southern Lebanon, where frequent terrorist attacks and Israeli retaliation in the form of air and sea attacks and artillery barrages have driven up to a half million civilians from their homes.
The Ottoman Empire joined with Austria-Hungary and Germany during World War I, which eventually resulted in a victory by Britain in Palestine, when General Allenby defeated the Turks in 1917.
Lord Balfour's declaration was accepted, which provided for a "Jewish national homeland." The various caliphates and the Ottomans had been in control of Palestine and Jerusalem for many hundreds of years until this time. Never was there a move on the part of the caliphate of Baghdad, or the Ottoman Turkish empire to provide for a separate "Palestinian State," or a move toward making Jerusalem into a political capital. Resulting from the Balfour Declaration, significant Jewish immigration began in 1920, when a British Palestine Mandate was established. The tide of refugees and immigrants swelled considerably in the 1930s as Jews fled Hitler's Germany and other nations in Europe. In 1922 the land east of the Jordan was detached from the Palestine Mandate, and became "Trans-Jordan."
Israel, Jordan And The Palestinian Refugees
When the truth about the "holocaust" became widely known in the closing months of World War II, the civilized world was astonished. Millions of Jews had been systematically starved, gassed and cremated in concentration camps all over Germany and Eastern Europe. Names like Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Dachau, Maidenek, and Belsen are etched into the minds of generations. The "Yad Vashem" in Jerusalem, the Jewish Holocaust Memorial, is a museum which impacts the visitor as no other. The life-size pictures of Nazi atrocities become deeply etched into one's mind, and stir the emotions unforgettably.
In this regard, one needs only to research the dozens of titles available about this infamous period to understand. The world found a collective conscience when, in 1947, the United Nations voted to partition Palestine. Like other attempts at big-power partitioning of antagonists, one of the latest being the disastrous attempts to do so in the case of Bosnia-Herzgovina in the aftermath of the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the partitioning plan was doomed to failure from the beginning.
The United Nations, keenly aware of the continuing turmoil in Palestine, set up a "Special Committee on Palestine" (UNSCOP), to study the problem and suggest "...such proposals as it may consider appropriate for the solution of the problem of Palestine." A majority view was that the earlier big power mandate for Palestine should "terminate as soon as possible" and that two states should come into being; the one Jewish and the other Arab; that "economic union" should occur, but that Jerusalem should be excluded from both states, and made into a "corpus separatum," or "separate entity," so that it would not be a political capital for either state, but continue to be an open city, with free access to adherents of the three great monotheistic religions.
The Arabs rejected the proposal. The Jews agreed, but made it plain they disagreed on the exclusion of Jerusalem. Resolution 181(11), dated November 29, 1947, agreed with the majority view of UNSCOP, and urged that the armed forces of the mandated territories be evacuated from Palestine no later than August 1, 1948. As actually occurred, the British finally withdrew from Palestine on May 14, 1948. On that very day, the "Jewish National Provisional Council" proclaimed that the "State of Israel" and sent a cablegram to the Secretary General of the UN on the following day.
The declaration is as important to Israelis as the 1776 Declaration of Independence is to Americans. Excerpted, it states: "Eretz-Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people...In the year 1897 the first Zionist Congress...proclaimed the right of the Jewish people to national rebirth in its own country. The right was recognized in the Balfour Declaration, 1917, and reaffirmed in the Mandate of the League of Nations which...gave international sanction to the historic connection between the Jewish people and Eretz-Israel, and to the right of the Jewish people to rebuild its National Home...On the 20th November, 1947, the U.N. General Assembly passed a Resolution calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz-Israel...This recognition by the U.N. of the right of the Jewish people to establish their State is irrevocable. This right is the natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their sovereign State.
"Accordingly, we...by virtue of our natural and historic right and on the strength of the Resolution of the General Assembly hereby declare the establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz-Israel to be known as the State of Israel."
The Balfour Declaration was actually a personal letter from Lord Balfour to Lord Rothschild, dated November 2nd, 1917.
It reads: Dear Lord Rothschild:
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspiration which has been submitted to, and approved by, The Cabinet:
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 object.
It being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
(Signed: Lord Arthur James Balfour)
Balfour had been British Prime Minister from 1902 until 1905, and in June, 1915, was one of the elder statesmen of Britain. He became Minister of Foreign Affairs, and had visited the United States earlier the same year of the writing of the letter reprinted above.
As might be expected, the declaration was viewed with great dismay and hostility by the various Arab states in the Mideast. Arabs argue that from the inception of the British Mandate in 1922 there were about half a million Moslems to only 83,790 Jews in Palestine; 71,764 Christians and some 7,000 others.
In the early 1980's, I visited the royal palace in Amman, Jordan, and interviewed His Royal Highness Hassan Bin Tallal, Crown Prince of Jordan, brother to King Hussein. He gave me an autographed copy of his book, Palestinian Self-Determination: A Study Of The West Bank And Gaza Strip. It is a concise setting forth of the basis for the claims of Palestinian Arabs for self-determination.
He wrote, "The disturbances in the closing years of the Mandate, 1945-8, arose largely through the resumption of Jewish immigration after the Second World War. There had also been extensive acquisition of Arab land as well as industrial investment in Palestine by Jewish organizations. From 1946 both communities, Arabs and Jews, formed armed bands which fought each other and the Mandatory. By 1947 it had become apparent to the Mandatory that it was no longer able to maintain law and order in Palestine. By that date the demographic balance had changed considerably in favour of the Jews...In the event, the Mandatory withdrew its administration and military forces from Palestine on 14 May 1948" (Ibid. pp. 60,61).
It was not that the armed bands "fought each other" so much as Arabs fought Jews, and Jews fought both Arabs and the British. British officers were killed or kidnapped. Many civilians on both sides died.
During the 1940s the "Fighters for Freedom of Israel" displayed a poster in England worded as follows:
TO THE PEOPLE OF ENGLAND!
TO THE PEOPLE WHOSE GOVERNMENT PROCLAIMED "PEACE IN OUR TIME"
THIS IS A WARNING !
YOUR GOVERNMENT HAS DIPPED His Majesty's Crown in Jewish blood and polished it with Arab oil —YOUR GOVERNMENT HAS VIOLATED every article of the Eretz-Israel Mandate, Flouted international law and invaded our country.
Oswiecim [Auschwitz], Dachau and Treblinka made way for the "Exodus" to the Hitler-Bevin Alliance—To the murder of the survivors whom Hitler's wrath could not reach
WE ARE RESOLUTE
That it shall not come to pass again!
WE WILL CARRY THE WAR
To the very heart of the empire!
WE WILL STRIKE
With all the bitterness and fury of our servitude and bondage
WE ARE PREPARED TO FIGHT
a war of liberation now to avoid a war of enslavement tomorrow.
PEOPLE OF ENGLAND!
PRESS YOUR GOVERNMENT TO QUIT ERETZ-ISRAEL NOW!
DEMAND THAT YOUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS RETURN HOME OR YOU MAY NOT SEE THEM AGAIN
Clearly, the British people were put on notice by the Jews that they placed some of the blame for the holocaust at the door of the British government, which had clamped down on Jewish immigration into Palestine, held tens of thousands of survivors of the war in such places as southern France and Cyprus, and turned away "illegal" ships crowded with refugees at the port of Haifa. The poster threatened violence in London and other British cities, and throughout the British Empire. As portrayed in the motion picture "Exodus," many Jews died when, turned away in sight of Israel, they jumped overboard and attempted to swim to shore from old freighters which had carried them there from Europe.
For many years prior to British withdrawal from Palestine, violence had spilled blood between the Arabs and Jews. Such Jewish organizations as the "Haganah," the "Palmach," and the "Irgun" were known to resort to assassinations and terrorist attacks against the occupying British and the Arabs alike. The Arabs likewise resorted to violence against the increasing number of Jews whom they saw as "illegal immigrants" to the land of Palestine. When the British Palestine Mandate had been recognized by the League of Nations in 1920, following World War I, violent riots occurred. Violence broke out again the following year, and again in 1929 and 1936. Almost non-stop violence ensued following World War II, and the British finally sought to rid themselves of the problem of the League of Nations Mandate by turning over the responsibility of Palestine to the United Nations. Late in the 19th century, there also has been heavy Arab immigration from Syria and Lebanon into Palestine.
When the British withdrew in May of 1948 and Israel declared itself a sovereign state, six Arab states attacked tiny Israel. Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia all sought to destroy the fledgling Jewish state. A famous book by Leon Uris entitled Exodus, which was later made into a major motion picture, lends vivid color to the period of post-war Jewish immigration to Israel and the war for independence.
To this day, when one drives up the steep, winding highway from the Maritime Plain to Jerusalem, one may see the wrecked hulks, which have been preserved as a memorial by heavy application of red lead paint, of the armored relief convoy that fought its way to Jerusalem. Many Israelis died in the attempt, but a number of the vehicles finally succeeded in reaching the surrounded, desperate defenders of west Jerusalem. Had the convoy not managed to fight its way through Jordanian armed forces who were ensconced on both sides of the road on the heights, a very different chapter of history would have been written. The story of the ancient roadway, and the armed force that managed to surprise the Arabs from an unsuspected direction is told in the history of that war.
Instead of being annihilated, or "driven into the sea," as the combined Arab armies stated their intention, the Israelis gained territory. Following Israel's "war for independence" in 1948—and this is very significant—Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip, and Jordan occupied the WestBank and the old city of Jerusalem.
From 1948 until 1967, a span of nineteen years, U.N. forces occupied a "demilitarized zone" between the Arabs and Israelis. A swath of land was declared "no man's land," and was festooned by sandbagged machine-gun emplacements and barbed wire. The white-painted military vehicles of the U.N. patrolled the region. However, frequent terrorist raids occurred. Israeli farmers were shot while they tilled the fields near the Sea of Galilee by Arabs ensconced on the steep, precipitous slopes of the Golan Heights. Terrorist attacks were mounted from Egypt and the Sinai; from Syria, and from Jordan.
Another war resulted in 1956 when Israel invaded Egypt's Sinai. For a short time, both British and French forces entered into the war, and a U.N. cease fire was arranged by November 6th.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan occupied the West Bank of the Jordan River, Syria occupied the Golan Heights overlooking the Sea of Galilee, and Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip.
Never did the three Arab governments propose the creation of a separate Palestinian state in any of these regions, or in any aggregate of them. For one thing, one of the major sources of income for Jordan was tourism. The old city of Jerusalem, Hebron and Bethlehem, among other sites, were favorite tourist attractions, and crowded with pilgrims from the west during Christmas and Easter holidays.
When the 1967 war broke out, it was as a result of Egyptian demands that the UN emergency force occupying the Gaza Strip be withdrawn. The UN acquiesced, and Egyptian armed forces promptly reoccupied Gaza, then closed the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping. Once again, combined Arab armies sought to destroy the state of Israel. Israel destroyed the Egyptian Air Force, mostly by precision bombing and rocket attacks in Egypt and the Sinai, catching many airplanes in their revetments. In a stunning victory at the famed Mitla Pass in the Sinai, Israeli warplanes caught huge Egyptian tank columns in a bottleneck, and destroyed them. Israel achieved major victories over massive Syrian forces in the Golan, drove Jordan's desert legion from the old city of Jerusalem and the West Bank. After just six days, the UN arranged a cease-fire between the warring parties.
Israel now occupied the West Bank of the Jordan, the Golan Heights overlooking Galilee, the Sinai and the Gaza Strip.
However, the Egyptians and Syrians launched a sudden attack against Israel once again on "Yom Kippur," the Day of Atonement, in 1973. For many years, Israeli forces had been dug in along the famous "Bar-Lev Line," on the east bank of the Suez Canal. The defensive fortifications were reminiscent of the Siegfried or the Maginot lines of post World War I fame, featuring concrete artillery emplacements and a huge, hundred-mile-long berm of bulldozed sandbanks, with linked defensive hard points.
Egyptian forces successfully brought up high-pressure hoses and breaching equipment, and managed to break through the line, spilling into the Sinai. In the initial phases of this bloody and violent war, both Syria and Egypt seemed to have the upper hand, until a major counterattack by Israeli tanks in the Golan drove the Syrians back. The Israeli army crossed the Suez to the south, outflanking the Egyptian 3rd army, and was headed toward Cairo when the Soviet Union and the other major powers began calling for a cease fire. Israel withdrew from the west bank of the Suez in 1974. Anwar Sadat was the President of Egypt at the time. I shall now interject a brief personal experience which I have always believed may have had something to do with major events which followed.
"Egypt Under Sadat"
When the 1967 six-day war broke out, my father and I were en route to Jerusalem. I had left Pasadena, and was in England, preparing to go on to Jerusalem, where our radio program was to be broadcast to the Mideast for the first time. Mr. Adlai Muhtadi, who was head of the Jordanian Broadcasting Corporation, had arranged for a contract with the station in Jerusalem, which was then in Jordanian hands. We were inspired and elated to think that the gospel of the Kingdom of God could now be preached over an Arab owned Middle Eastern radio station, and my father and I intended doing the first few inaugural broadcasts in person. When the war suddenly broke out, Mr. Muhtadi, who has remained a close personal friend, lost his very fine home; found himself back in Amman. The radio station was now no longer in Jordanian hands, so the war brought an end to plans for our broadcast going to the region.
Mr. Muhtadi is a Palestinian Arab, with a lovely family, several of whom live and work in the United States. He and his wife Saida were here to visit us in our offices near Tyler in 1997. He is a very prominent individual among leaders in the Mideast, and remains a consultant to the Jordanian Government. His eldest daughter was personal secretary to Crown Prince Hassan Bin Tallal, King Hussein's brother. In late 1976, when I asked him to help arrange a special series of television interviews with President Sadat, he went to Egypt, and began setting up the meeting. He told me it would be necessary for me to meet a number of other officials there before I would be able to interview Mr. Sadat personally.
It required a second trip for me to finally interview the President and First Lady of Egypt. On the first visit, Mr. Muhtadi had set up interviews with several major officials of the Egyptian government, including their "Speaker of the House," (who was later assassinated by terrorists in Cyprus), the publisher of "Al Ahram," the official Cairo daily newspaper, and several cabinet-level members of the government. I wanted them all to know that I was completely "apolitical" in my views; that I intended presenting both sides of all the issues fairly, and these many meetings were necessary to reassure the Egyptian government on that point. I was invited to a private dinner in the home of former Secretary General of the United Nations, Butros-Butros Galli, who then resided in Cairo.
On my second visit, I was able to interview both First Lady Jihan Sadat, in Cairo, and President Anwar Sadat, in the Presidential Palace just outside of Cairo, in separate interviews. Our television crew had shot hundreds of feet of footage all over Egypt; at the Suez Canal, the pyramids, and in Cairo. We put together a one-hour special television program which was shown all over the United States entitled "Egypt Under Sadat," and another half-hour television program also featured excerpts of the interviews.
Of course, all my questions directed towards the Sadats regarded the Middle East, Egypt, Israel and the other Arab nations; past wars, and the future, with my assurance that I would present their point of view fairly.
Following our formal on-camera interview, I had an opportunity for a free-wheeling discussion with President Sadat, who spoke feelingly of his past, his family, and his younger brother, who had been an officer in the Egyptian Army during the Yom Kippur war, and who had been killed in the fighting. "He was like a son to me," Mr. Sadat said, explaining the large age difference, and how he had helped raise his younger brother. It was obvious he was moved by the loss of his brother. He spoke of how he had died a hero, fighting for Egypt. Mr. Sadat had a very easily visible callous in the precise center of his forehead from his five-times daily prayers as a Moslem. All the billboard size pictures of him in Cairo and in the press showed the callus clearly. He smoked a pipe during the interview and the discussion which followed. His voice was a very deep bass; a low rumble. Personable, likeable, intelligent—a man of the people—Anwar Sadat had come from a small village along the Nile, and risen to become an officer in the Egyptian Army. He became Vice President of Egypt during the presidency of Gamel Abdel Nasser, and succeeded him upon Nasser's death in 1970.
He was very proud of having ordered the Russians out of Egypt. He told me of a secret trip he had taken to Moscow, and of how the Egyptian armed forces had become too dependent upon the Soviets for equipment and spare parts. The Soviets were attempting to exert too much influence; had a large number of diplomats and military advisers inside Egypt. Angered over their attitude, Sadat ordered the Soviets to pack up and leave. He was the only modern leader to have done so. Very large numbers of Soviets and their dependents were forced to leave Egypt in only a matter of days.
His wife, Jihan, had spoken to me of her first trip to New York. She had gone there with her daughter, and was tremendously impressed with the power and strength of America. She told me of her personal impressions of the United States; how she had said to her husband upon her return, "Anwar, why are we fighting with these people?" Of course, she referred not to actual fighting, but the political debates that had taken place over the years as the U.S. continued to be a supporter of Israel.
I had not planned to say anything specific to President Sadat other than the questions I asked him for the interview, but somehow the moment seemed right. Israel had turned over the Sinai to Egypt two years previously, not only handing back Egypt's domestic oil supplies, but enabling them to become an oil exporter. This had been a tremendous conciliatory gesture on the part of Israel. Our on-camera interview had covered the entire geopolitical spectrum of the region, of which I was keenly aware. I said, "Mr. President, why don't you just go to Israel? Why not just tell them you're coming, get on your airplane, and go there? You would go down in history as a great leader, who brought peace to the Middle East."
I reminded him that Egypt was the largest Arab nation in population; in labor force. I said, "The Israelis are like a brain trust. There is a very high per capita proportion of scientists, educators, doctors, engineers and the like. Why not combine the very large Egyptian labor force with the skills and expertise of the Israelis for the mutual benefit and prosperity of all?"
I went on for some time about the tragedy of war, and the great benefits to be had by peaceful cooperation. I had no need to remind him of the poverty and squalor that was everywhere visible in Cairo.
He told me he could not go to Israel; cited, without naming any specific organizations, the dangers of his doing such a thing because of the outrage it might stir up among his own people; how some of his own supporters might feel betrayed; spoke of his political enemies, and how they might use such a move on his part to their advantage.
He indicated that he felt he might be rebuffed by the Israelis. I specifically remember saying, "But if you just went there—told them you were en route for personal talks—what would they do? They wouldn't dare shoot down the personal airplane of the President of Egypt!" I mused aloud about how the entire Middle East could become a major power on the world scene; how, if real cooperation among all the Arab states and Israel could occur, a kind of a "United States of the Middle East" could be created which would be of great benefit for all.
At length our meeting came to an end. I have carried vivid memories of it in my mind ever since. I cannot help but wonder, in retrospect, if I planted some seeds of thought in his mind which led to his later actions. Within only months of our talk, in November of 1977, President Anwar Sadat, in a surprise visit, went to Jerusalem to meet Prime Minister Begin of Israel.
The Camp David meetings followed. Then came the signing of the "Camp David Accords" at the White House, and a formal peace treaty was signed between Egypt and Israel on March 26, 1979.
During the Sadat's visit to Washington, my wife and I received a formal, engraved invitation to a reception and banquet in honor of the Sadats. We responded to the invitation, flew to Washington, D.C., and joined with several dozen others who were also attending.
When my wife and I walked up the wide staircase with the many other guests, it was to find the Sadats in formal attire, in a receiving line. Mrs. Jihan Sadat greeted us warmly, turned to her husband as he finished speaking to the gentleman just ahead of us, and said, "Anwar, it is Mr. and Mrs. Garner Ted Armstrong"!
President Sadat said, "Of course!" and shook our hands very warmly. I told him I had mentioned to Dr. Henry Kissinger, whom I had met at a reception in Dallas, how Mr. Sadat had said, during our talk in Cairo, "I trust Henry." He had spoken of his many meetings with Henry Kissinger during Kissinger's term as Secretary of State during the Nixon Administration. We had only a few moments to speak, and then moved on into the banquet hall. There, I met and shook hands with Senator Nelson Rockefeller, former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, Senator Hubert Humphrey, and a number of other government officials, and, incidentally, ABC's Barbara Walters. Each of the government officials told me he watched my television program often. At the time, we had a very good time on a major Washington, D.C. station.
Only two years later, I was deeply shocked and painfully grieved when I saw the brutal assassination of Anwar Sadat on television in 1981. He was dressed in a military General's uniform, reviewing the Egyptian army, which had cracked down on militant Islamic fundamentalists only a month earlier, in September. It was October; a sunny, brilliant day in Cairo, and a proud one for Anwar Sadat, when suddenly, some of the soldiers passing in parade before him rushed to the reviewing stand, and began spraying the crowd with submachine fire. President Sadat stood up, facing them, held out the palms of his hands, and shout "NO!" as several bullets struck him. His murder resulted in the arrest of some of the conspirators. Vice President Hosni Mubarak succeeded Anwar Sadat.
Unlike other Arab nations, Egypt has cracked down on Islamic fundamentalists and terrorists. During the 1990s, a number of Islamic terrorists have been captured, tried, and executed. President Mubarak himself barely escaped assassination during a visit to Ethiopia in June of 1995. The Egyptian government blames Sudanese fundamentalists for the attack.
God's Word shows that Egypt will figure prominently in major events in the near future. Daniel's eleventh chapter gives us great details of a time yet ahead of us when a great northern power will invade Egypt, occupy Palestine, and set its headquarters in Jerusalem. Here is what it says: "And at the time of the end [this prophecy is dated, in a sense. It takes place at the "time of the END"] shall the king of the south [this was always Egypt during the period of the Ptolemy and Seleucid kings] push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.
"He shall enter also into the glorious land [Palestine; modern Israel] and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom [probably Turkey], and Moab [probably Iraq], and the chief of the children of Ammon [probably Jordan. The capital of Jordan is Amman].
"He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.
"But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians [Put and Cush. This could indicate Pakistan and India, rather than modern Libya and Ethiopia] shall be at his steps.
"But tidings out of the east and out of the north [Russia, and China lie to the north and east!] shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many [This results in the Battle of Armageddon: Revelation 16:12-16].
"And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain [between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean; in Jerusalem!]; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him" (Daniel 11:40-45).
The "king of the north" mentioned several times in this lengthiest of all Bible prophecies was one of the Seleucid kings who divided up Alexander's empire following his death. Eventually, the Roman Empire rose to world dominance, and occupied Palestine and Egypt.
The prophecy of Daniel 11 strongly indicates that the "King of the North," which may well be this final Beast power from central Europe, will storm into Palestine, probably occupying Syria, Lebanon and Israel, then advancing into Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries, until arriving at the borders of Pakistan and India. This means that such a force would have possession of the bulk of the world's oil supplies!
For many decades, would-be prognosticators have predicted that the Soviet Union would invade Palestine! This was because of their assumption that the "king of the North" meant Russia, rather than a major ten-nation European power. For over forty-two years, I have said repeatedly that a war between Russia and the United States was not prophesied! During the very darkest days of the cold war; even during the Kennedy-Khrushchev Cuban missile standoff, when the world believed we were on the brink of nuclear war with the Soviets, I was saying over radio and television, and to large live audiences, that we would not go to war with Russia.
Instead, I continually emphasized that a "United States of Europe" would eventually emerge in Europe, following the collapse of present-day governments, and the emergence of military dictatorships in many countries.
In order to truly grasp all aspects of prophecy about Jerusalem, Palestine and the Middle East, one must correctly understand the lengthy "Olivet" prophecy of Jesus Christ that He delivered to His disciples from the Mount of Olives. Always, there were religious reasons for the many, many wars that have savaged Jerusalem and the land of Palestine. It will be no different in the final conflict, outlined by Christ, and prophesied in both Daniel and the Book of Revelation.
The Palestinian Refugees
For decades, tens of thousands of Palestinian Arabs have lived in squalor and poverty in refugee camps. Early on, following the 1967 six-day war, there were encampments in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt.
Today, there are many, many thousands of young Arabs in southern Lebanon, and in the Gaza strip, who have been born in such camps, and who are in their teens, twenties, and early thirties. They have been fed a steady diet of hatred by their parents and peers.
When one sees television reports of the latest riots in Gaza or the West Bank, one almost always sees mere youths hurling stones and bottles at Israeli police or soldiers. Each act of terror from either side fuels additional resentment and hatred; spawns reasons in the minds of the young Arabs for revenge.
In recent years, it has become commonplace to see riotous, shouting, weeping, gesticulating young Arabs carrying aloft on their shoulders a coffin, draped with a Palestinian flag, containing the body of yet another of their compatriots who has died as a result of either real or rubber bullets. Each such event fuels yet other events, until the burning hatred in the minds of thousands takes on a life of its own.
It must be noted, and thoroughly understood, that, for all the rhetoric and support from Arab governments for the Palestinians' cause—statehood—none of the neighboring Arab governments truly allowed the Palestinians to become assimilated into their populations! For years, then decades, Palestinian Arabs have been kept in "refugee camps" along Israel's borders. There are several painfully obvious reasons for this: (1) It has been in the interests of Yassir Arafat's PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) to keep these displaced persons in the camps as a continual reminder of their plight; as if they are poised, ready at any moment, to move back into the "occupied territories," meaning lands Israel seized in 1967. (2) The camps have been a hotbed of seething hatred, and a ready source for terrorist attacks into Israel. (3) None of the "host" Arab countries have allowed the Palestinians to assimilate.
The Palestinian Arabs are progressive, intelligent, energetic. Thousands of them have been allowed to hold jobs in such places as Saudi Arabia (many were deported during the Gulf War because of anti-Israeli sentiments), where they have sent part of their earnings to help support their families in Gaza or in the camps.
One of the most infamous events in the history of Israeli armed forces was on September 16, 1982. Israel had invaded Lebanon in a coordinated land, sea and air attack, because the PLO was openly operating from strongholds inside Lebanon. Its headquarters were in Beirut itself. Syrian armed forces fought against the Israeli armored columns in the southern Bekaa Valley, but Israel eventually encircled Beirut by August 21st. A new government was to be put in place in Lebanon. The Maronite Christian elected Bashir Gemayal, a very popular leader, who was promptly assassinated in a bomb explosion on September 14th. In a rage, Lebanese Christian Phalangists entered two of the refugee camps and slaughtered hundreds of men, women, and children.
The Israeli armed forces had surrounded the camps. Israeli troops without could hear the gunfire, and Israeli officers were accused of having allowed the Lebanese Christians to enter the camps. A wave of outrage and protest occurred in Israel. For the first time, the elite Israeli Army experienced incidents of soldiers and airmen directly resisting orders from their superiors. A number of Israeli fighter bombers simply dumped their bombs into the sea, because they said they could not trust the veracity of their assigned targets. Were they bombing helpless civilians, or terrorists?
Southern Lebanon remains a continual battlefield. In 1993, Israel struck back at guerilla bases in the region with air strikes and artillery barrages, causing over 200,000 people to flee their homes. Again in 1996 Israel struck at terrorist bases, which dislocated some half a million people. The problem is not resolved. Each such attack inevitably causes "collateral" death and injury, and becomes the newest outrage for the displaced Palestinian Arabs. Then, another terrorist attack is planned and executed; Russian-made "katyusha" rockets are launched, which results in yet another Israeli retaliatory air and artillery strike.
Jerusalem In Prophecy
What is ahead for Jerusalem, and the Mideast? Jesus Christ foretold that the time would come when Jerusalem would be destroyed; when a great False Prophet would be ensconced "in the temple of God" claiming to possess the very powers of God; when Jerusalem would be "surrounded with armies."
Remember, all prophecy is dual, having a previous, or "typical" fulfillment, and a later, or literal fulfillment. There was a great destruction of Jerusalem about 40 years after the ascension of Christ by the armies of Titus. But there was no great false prophet in the temple, nor were there any heavenly signs, and Jesus Christ did not return! Yet, much of Christ's prophecy in Matthew 24 dealt with THESE great, imagination-defying events.
Study all of Matthew 24, and notice how all the globe-girdling events of wars, rumors of wars, droughts, famines and pestilences lead up to the second-coming of Jesus Christ!
Christ did not return in 71 AD! Titus' armies did not leave Jerusalem in such utter destruction that "not one stone remained atop another," even though they wrought great death and destruction. Therefore, the destruction of Jerusalem at that time was a foretaste, or a typical fulfillment of the soon-coming literal fulfillment of Christ's prophecy.
When the Jewish government of Israel decided to declare that Jerusalem was once again the capital city of their state, they began implementing complete integration of the formerly divided city. The infrastructure of the city began to become integrated; things like water and electrical lines, telephone lines, sewage lines, streets, bus routes; Jerusalem became one great city.
When I interviewed long-time Mayor of Jerusalem Teddy Kolleck a few years ago, I asked him on camera whether Israel would ever consider "trading land for peace" by handing over east Jerusalem to the Arabs. He said, repeating it twice, very emphatically, "NOT ONE INCH! NOT ONE INCH!" Subsequent national governments have reiterated the same thing. The Netanyahu government has stated over and over again that Jerusalem is "not negotiable," notwithstanding strident claims by Yassir Arafat the Palestinian Authority.
To the three great monotheistic religions, Jerusalem is one of the most important cities in the world. Called the "holy city" by nominal Christians, it is also the holiest of sites to Zionists and orthodox Jews, and one of the holiest of sites to Muslims.
Bible prophecy does not predict peace for Jerusalem or the world. Instead, Jesus Christ showed that Jerusalem would be completely destroyed prior to the second coming of Christ! As horrifying as it sounds, yet another HOLOCAUST is going to overtake the Jewish people in Palestine! Jerusalem is to become the flash point of the last great wars in the history of man; a great third world war, a final phase of which will be the battle of Armageddon!
In His famous "Olivet Prophecy," Jesus Christ foretold that the coming Great Tribulation would be triggered by events in Jerusalem. "And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and His disciples came to Him for to show Him the buildings of the temple.
"And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
"And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?" (Matthew 24:1-3). The Greek word means "age."
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
"For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
"And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet."
"For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places" (Matthew 24:1-7).
There are those who scoff and sneer; who say, "Oh well, there have always been wars; there have always been droughts and famines — all these things are cyclical!"
But Christ showed that all these events would grow in intensity; that the Tribulation would totally eclipse all previous human catastrophes!
Then Christ went on to describe how religious persecution of His true followers would occur. As he told His disciples, the time would come when those who kill God's people will "think they do God a service"! Speaking of this time of terrible wars, Jesus said, "All these are the beginning of sorrows.
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
"And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
"And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
"And because iniquity [lawlessness: the breaking of God's Ten Commandments] shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
"But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" (Matthew 24:8-14). The ONLY way in which God is intervening in the course of human events just now is through the proclaiming of the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God to the world!
God is not moving to stop the nightmarish suicide bombings in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem! He is not preventing terrorism and murder, or genocidal wars such as that which tore apart the former Yugoslavia. God is not taking an active hand in the affairs of man at all! He is ONLY intervening by guiding and directing HIS WORK of preaching the gospel as a witness and a warning to the world!
After warning about false prophets and religious persecution, Christ went on to say, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
"Then let them which be in Judaea [Jerusalem and the former Roman province of Judaea] flee into the mountains:..."For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
"And except those days should be shortened [by Divine intervention], there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (Matthew 24:14-22). Plainly, this prophecy of Christ says that unless God would step in and CUT SHORT the horrifying war of MASS DESTRUCTION which will occur, ALL HUMANITY would be destroyed!
The Frantic Race To Obtain Weapons Of Mass Destruction By Arabs and "Third World" Nations.
Once the Soviet Union imploded, millions of Americans heaved a vast sigh of relief, and began believing there are no more enemies in the world—at least, no major ones! But Americans are not lining up outside government stations to obtain upgraded gas masks! Recently, Israelis were!
Never could the prophecies of Christ about the possible annihilation of all mankind be understood until the invention of weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical and biological weapons, and atomic and hydrogen bombs! Today, Russia still possesses twenty-five thousand nuclear warheads. Atomic fuel is being secretly smuggled into such nations as Iran and Iraq—bitter enemies of Israel. Pakistan (which is Muslim), has the bomb, and has threatened to conduct tests.
In a recent edition of the Jerusalem Post, the HEADLINE shouted, "IRAN HAS THE BOMB!" The article showed that Iran had obtained "several nuclear warheads" from a former Soviet Republic, and that they had been "maintained" by Russian scientists. It was asserted that a U.S. government consultant admitted secret documents had been obtained which were "real, and we have had them for years."
Iran, though not Arabic (they are Persians), is Islamic. Iran is known to have harbored and sponsored various of the terrorist organizations which seek to annihilate Israel.
Many, many nations have nuclear arsenals, and the rockets with which to deliver them. This includes the United States, Britain, France, Russia, the Ukraine, Georgia, India, Pakistan, China and Israel. It is suspected that South Africa, Brazil, and several other countries possess nuclear weapons, and, as was just mentioned, Israel believes Iran now has a small nuclear arsenal.
Major news media were shrilly trumpeting the possibility of imminent WAR breaking out between the U.S. and Iraq in early 1998, when UN inspectors were hindered from inspecting suspected chemical and biological weapons sites. In this instance, albeit perhaps temporarily, a major war in the gulf was averted when Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, made a quick, desperate journey to Baghdad, gaining a few feeble concessions from the Iraqi government, thus averting a major U.S. air strike perhaps only hours before it was scheduled.
True to Jesus Christ's prophecies, these events demonstrated how "rumors of wars" can become major events; costing billions of dollars, and creating massive movements of ships, planes, and men. Scoffers notwithstanding, this world is poised on the brink of gigantic wars; mass destruction; incalculable loss of human life—just as Christ said it would be!
Notice Daniel's prophecy of the coming "Great Tribulation" to strike our peoples: "And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time [this is describing the GREATEST WAR IN ALL HISTORY!]: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
"And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt [the time setting of this prophecy is at the time of the resurrection, and the return of Christ to this earth!].
"And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever" (Daniel 12:1-3). This shows the reward of those who are busily engaged in God's WORK of witness and warning! Notice how closely it is tied to the events of the GREAT TRIBULATION; to the major HEADLINES of the next few years!
When Jesus Christ spoke of the potential of all of humanity being killed, He could only have implied our day, now!
In order to understand the two specific prophecies for which we are to WATCH today, you need to know what Jesus Christ means when He warned about the "Abomination of Desolation," and the time when we will see "Jerusalem surrounded with armies"!
Whose armies? Why? Approximately when?
Just as in the case of the Crimean War, when Tsar Nicholas used a squabble over the holy places as a pretext to drive the Muslims from the Balkans, so will a modern power move into Palestine to IMPOSE PEACE upon the bitter, warring Arabs and Jews who cannot resolve their differences and live in peace. A great human religious leader will ensconce himself there, claiming to possess the very powers of God! He will be the "anti-Christ" of the Bible; the "false prophet" of prophecy, and he will be backed and protected by the armies of the BEAST!
Here are some of the major events for which we should be watching in the months and years ahead:
(1) The disintegration of society; moral and spiritual decay, will continue in the United States, Britain, the commonwealth countries, and the democracies of Northwestern Europe. The breakup of the family, mounting divorce, "same sex" marriages, the "gay rights" movement, "women's lib" movements, and the dozens of other narrow causes such as legal moves to oust any mention of God from all education and from the courts, will continue to erode any remaining concept of right from wrong; of the fundamental truths of God by which we should live. You know that you live in a society where children, acting out the sickening violence they are fed daily on television, become mass murderers! God says, "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths" (Isaiah 3:12). Millions of American homes are "matriarchies"; millions of children, especially among minorities, grow up without a father in the home.
A few decades ago, illegitimacy was a shameful, sinful thing. Today, MILLIONS of illegitimate children are growing up in "homes" with unwed mothers; farmed out to grandmothers, put out on the streets; several children with the same mother, but with different fathers who they will never know. Today, major sports figures, multimillionaires all, openly flaunt the fact that they have fathered any number of illegitimate children by different women! Our Godless, degenerate society will continue on a toboggan-slide of licentiousness, lawlessness, and immorality. Violence and crime RULE in thousands of neighborhoods, just as vile corruption festers in city, county, state and the federal government, as greedy politicians betray the public trust by dipping their hands into the public till. Our societies will continue to implode, and we will finally be destroyed as much by the "enemy from within" as the "enemy from without."
(2) The inflated bubble that is the global economy will eventually burst. Billions will be lost overnight when the stock markets of the major nations crash. The United States and Britain will be reduced to the kind of poverty and joblessness that was extant during "the Great Depression," only worse. Our cities will begin to resemble some of those of Bangladesh.
(3) When that happens, massive unemployment, and the strident voices of ultra-nationalists will be heard in the streets of many nations, especially in Europe and Germany.
Already, Germany is witnessing a steep rise in ultra right-wing violence as various neo-Nazi groups commit thuggery, cause riots, demonstrate against the government, and spray graffiti against foreigners. A special, flying riot squad has been organized in Berlin to deal with the rapid rise of skinhead violence. If Germany slips into deep depression, look out!
(4) The trend will be the emergence of military dictatorships in countries all over the world; in Europe, and in Germany and Japan, to combat total chaos, and rapidly spreading poverty and crime. Martial law will be declared. Civil rights will be abolished. Freedom of assembly, of the press, will be denied. Huge armies will form.
(5) As a response to alarming militarism in Russia and China, Europe will unite. The remaining difficulties with a single currency and tariffs will be overcome. Ultimately, ten nations will pool their economic and military power into one great superpower (Revelation 17:12-14).
(6) A "king of the south" which MAY yet prove to be a leader in Egypt, will "push at" a coalescing European power. Probably, this means cutting off the flow of Middle Eastern oil to Europe and other countries, which will bring about an immediate military response (Daniel 11:40-45).
(7) The United States and Britain will be attacked both from within and from without. Writhing in the midst of unbridled crime and violence; race war; total chaos, our peoples will not be prepared to withstand the combined blows of economic collapse, and the threat, or the actual use, of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons against us. The prophesied "Great Tribulation" (Matthew 24:21,22) will have begun.
(8) A great false prophet, calling himself "The Prince of Peace," and taking divine titles, will say he is moving the headquarters of the "true church" back to its birthplace—Jerusalem! At some point in time, perhaps even before point number (6) above, a temple may be built in Jerusalem. IF orthodox Jews destroy the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aksa mosque in order to replace them with a Jewish temple, all the Arab nations would unite, and a major war would break out. This time, the Arab nations may well use biological and chemical weapons against the Jews. The ostensible reason for European intervention in the Mideast would be to "save" the surviving Jews from being exterminated. This move, by the false prophet AND by combined European armies, would fulfill Christ's prophecies about the "Abomination of Desolation" and "Jerusalem surrounded with armies."
(9) Shortly after this massive war and subsequent invasion of the Mideast by the Beast power, there will be threatened retaliation by Russia, and the many nations allied with her, perhaps including China (Daniel 11:40-45). The moving of millions of men into the region around Megiddo would result in the "battle of Armageddon" (Revelation 16:12-16), which will be halted by the heavenly signs (Revelation, 6th chapter).
(10) God will send the seven trumpet plagues upon the Beast, who will attempt to fight Christ at His coming. Jesus Christ will arrive on this earth accompanied by the seventh of the seven last plagues (Revelation, 19th chapter).
What is ahead of the Jewish state of Israel is a time of terrible tribulation! Events which will be triggered in Jerusalem will drag the major powers into WAR with one another! As you read in Daniel's prophecy, many countries will be overthrown. Don't count out Japan as a participant in the coming time of tribulation for the United States of America!
As you have seen, the roots of conflict in the Mideast are buried very deep in the soil of the past. They extend all the way back to Isaac and Ishmael; to Moses and the Amorites; to David and the Philistines; to the days of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. The conflict extends back to the days of the early Mohammedans who swept into Palestine and Egypt; to the British Mandate following World War I; to the declaration of the State of Israel in 1948, and to the 1967 six-day war between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The roots of conflict are so deep that no mere humanly devised "peace process" will succeed.
That is why there will be NO PEACE in Jerusalem until the final intervention by the Only One who can truly impose PEACE on this war-torn, hating, virulent world—Jesus Christ of Nazareth Himself!
Those who attempt to delude themselves by hiding their eyes from the HEADLINES of our time, and playing the game of "pretending" that all these things are not REAL; that they are not IMMINENT, are due for a very rude shock!
ARMAGEDDON is shaping up! It is COMING, and it will affect the WHOLE WORLD! Jesus Christ warned us all, "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" (Luke 21:36). If YOU are one whom God is calling to take part in His WORK during these last days of proclaiming the witness of Christ; the Good News of His soon-coming intervention in human affairs; if YOU are one who wants to have a part in the "work of the watchman" (Ezekiel 33), then call, or write immediately to find the name and number of the hosted fellowship group or chartered church nearest your home. €
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The Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association
P.O. Box 747
Flint, TX 75762
Phone: (903) 561-7070 • Fax: (903) 561-4141
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