Today in the news we hear from the Israel side and Palestine side why Jerusalem rightfully belongs to Israel or Palestine. Or that Palestine is being discriminated or Israel is being discriminated. This is a major political and religious issue that has been going on for sometime.

I have studied this topic deeply like many and have come to the conclusion that Jerusalem rightfully belongs to Israel, not Palestine. The Torah, Book of Jasher, and the Bible gives historical accounts and also supports Israel’s rightfully claim (Even Archeological Evidence). The foundation of this support begins with the (ברית בין הבתרים) covenant between Abraham and God.

The covenant that was made between God and Abraham came with a statute for Abraham and his descendants to follow from God. In Genesis chapter 17 we read the first clear condition of the covenant between God and Abram for his descendants other than Abraham obedience to God. Which is found in Genesis chapter 12:

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.
– Genesis 17:1-2

In the beginning of Chapter 17 introduces the first condition or what we would call today the first term of an agreement which is that Abram and his descendants must walk faithfully and blameless before God in order for the covenant to become into effect. This meant Abraham and his descendants had certain obligations which Genesis 17 states. More obligations added down the road with Abraham and his descendants. This covenant included Ishmael and Isaac and for their descendants.

Before Ishmael or Issac came into the picture God made a promise to Abraham and told him that he and Sarah will have a son. By the time Abraham was 85 and Sarah 75, and they had been married for 60 years without having children. Sarah selflessly decided to give her maidservant Hagar to Abraham so he could have children with her. Sarah was very concerned that her husband will not have an heir. This is how Ishmael came to be.

Abraham considered Yishma’el (Ishmael) as his first born. According to the Book of Jasher it records that Abraham reached out to his son Ishmael and was concerned for his well being as a father after he was sent away. There was reconciliation between father and son. Ishmael and his children ended up later dweling with Abraham many days until his death. So the covenant promise also belongs to Ishmael as long as he and his descendants must walk faithfully and blameless before God. That covenant is tied to the promise land. In which also the portion Abraham purchased and descendants claimed. Ishmael and his sons were part of Israel for a time. Until Ishmael descendants betrayed their kin and left the ways of God. The Torah, ten commandments, and the scriptures are all tied to the covenant.

I believe things would have been different between Ishmael and Issac descendants if it were not for the situation between Sarah and Hagar which began the seed of jealousy and hate that caused problems and still till this day. That jealousy between his mother and Sarah caused Ishmael to corrupt him. When he was about 15, he brought idols into his tent and began worshiping them, mimicking the Canaanite neighbors.

Sarah became aware of Ishmael’s ways and demanded that Abraham send away Ishmael, and Hagar who become arrogant toward her. Abraham felt conflicted about sending away Ishmael, until God intervened and commanded him to listen to his wife Sarah. So Abraham gave Hagar and Ishmael some food and a flask of water and sent them on their way.

Also down the road Ishmael repented and also made up with his brother Isaac, and when it came time to bury their father Abraham, Ishmael honored his brother by letting Isaac go first. This being recorded means that Ishmael recognized that God had chosen Issac to take their father mantle. As we read in the scriptures God usually tests and weights the hearts of man.

Origin of Palestine

The word Palestine derives from Philistia, the name given by Greek writers to the land of the Philistines, who in the 12th century B.C occupied a small pocket of land on the southern coast, between modern Tel Aviv–Yafo and Gaza.

The Philistines were sea peoples, who were a confederation of tribes that, according to Egyptian and other historical sources, appears to have wreaked havoc across the eastern Mediterranean at the end of the Late Bronze Age in the 13th century and early 12th century B.C. Coming from the mainland Greece, Crete, or Sardinia gathered from DNA evidence.

They were an advance technological society. The Philistines were masters at iron technology in the region compared to their surrounding neighbors. Until they were wiped out. Modern day people who call themselves Palestinians are not the original Palestinians based on DNA evidence, but most of them are the sons of Ishmael.

The Palestine name was reintroduced by the Roman Empire due to the continuous rebellion that was going on.During the time of the Romans Palestine people were not in the map. Emperor Hadrian changed the provincial administrative name of Judaea to Palestine. The Romans had enough. Henceforth up till 1948 A.D the region was mainly known as Palestine. Therefore began the Balfour Declaration and the re-establishment of Israel.

Israel Right to Claim Because of the Covenant

From Abraham, Issac, Jacob….. and the 12 tribes of Israel. They are the people who have retained their identity as a nation and most importantly their heritage and honored the laws of God since the time of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob. There had been times that Israel has rebelled against God. Yet, there are many in this day continue to honor the first condition of the covenant and the promise that God gave Abraham which is to walk before Him (God) faithfully and be blameless. To honor his laws.

Without God covenant to Abraham being honored and followed no son of Abraham has any right to the land promised by God. This condition to walk before Me (God) faithfully and be blameless is not the only condition that must be followed they are other conditions. The Torah goes more into detail. Where God added more to Issac and Jacob to the covenant.

In the past because of Israel’s unfaithfulness, according to scriptures God removed Israel from the promised land and gave them to their enemies for not honoring the covenant. Just as Ishmael sons were removed because they betrayed their kin and went to their own thing and decided not to honor God’s covenant.

On May 14, 1948 A.D the day that Israel became a nation again. It upset very much the sons of Ishmael. This is why the modern Palestinian exists today because they set it up. Because many of them believe they are the rightful heirs to the land and the covenant.

According to the scripture they can reclaim the promise that was given to Abraham, but only if they acknowledge and honor the covenant. This will take minimum between two to three generations until they begin seeing the fruit and follow the ways dictated in the scriptures given by God. There are sons of Ishmael who have recognized the ways of God and their generations after them have been blessed or will be blessed if they recognize the covenant and walk in the ways of God. The heritage and blessings of the promise grow more as each generation passes.

One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.
Exodus 12:49

According the the scriptures Jerusalem rightfully belongs to Israel as long as they honor the covenant and the commandments given by God to them. The sons of Ishmael can also partake in the blessings only if they honor the covenant and the commandments given by God to Israel.

Summary

This post I wrote is a summary of a high level overview that I could write a book about. I just hit the high points to why I believe that Jerusalem rightfully belongs to Israel according to scripture, archeological evidence,  and heritage. I did not even touch upon in more detail the land claim of Jerusalem and other land areas.

And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do.
Exodus 18:20

I believe this dispute between the Palestine State and Israel can only be solved in talks only if the covenant is brought to the negotiating table. It must also be recognized by both sides that Ishmael sons were removed because they betrayed their kin (Issac sons) and went to their own thing and decided not to honor God’s covenant. They missed out.

So what God gave to Abraham, Issac, and Jacob and their descendants Israel.  Are the the statutes and the laws that must be honored to live in the promise land and to receive the blessings of God.

Faith versus religion or faith and religion? Which of these is the absolute? Does faith and religion work against each other? Or does faith and religion work side by side? In my finding on this topic I have found that in Matthew Chapter 23, Jesus put it plainly and direct what religion is and how it hinders the body of Christ. Jesus spoke in Chapter 23 to the crowd addressing on how the teachers of the Law and pharisees say and preach one thing about the law of Moses (Torah). Then do wrong in the eyes of God according to the law of what they preach as well as on the false testimony of the faith based on their actions. Jesus goes on to call them serpents, brood of vipers.

What it comes down to is that religion is a social and cultural system, which is based on rituals, practices and organizations founded on a faith. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. As well as Emunah which means trust in Hebrew. Faith also means to believe in something.

Faith and religion comes down to one foundational principle which is a foundational base which is righteousness. Romans 1:17 ESV states, For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” From the old to the new testament in the the Bible it is written what moves the heart of God. Among all those things what moves the heart of God. One of the most important one’s that pleases Him is the righteousness in the heart of a man or woman.

Whenever we read in the Bible about Abel, Enoch, Methusaleh, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Samuel, Deborah, Elijah, Elisha, Esther, and John the Baptist. As well as many others one of their most important quality as an individual they had was righteousness.

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

Mahatma Gandhi

Organized religion, rituals, and works to please will not move the heart of God. We must keep in mind and remember that God is the creator of the universe. Maker of all things visible and invisible. The one who created and formed the law of thermodynamics, the wind, and time. One does not have to be a religious person to realize that an Intelligent Designer created and programmed the universe, not evolution. (I encourage you to read Working with the Law by Raymond Holliwell.)

There are many who have left the church or left a congregation because the true faith in God was replaced by religion. When faith leaves a congregation so does the Holy Spirit including its manifestations. Then that leaves an open door to the opposite of what God represents. It opens the door for evil to manifest. Just as King Saul in the Bible had God on his side and for a season did what was right in His eyes. When Saul began to trust in himself rather than God, he began to screw up and do things that did not please God. God was mercy-full and gracious for a time. But the last straw was Saul’s rebellion in his heart.

In 1 Samuel 15:22-28 we read the following from the ESV version.

22 And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.” 24 Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25 Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me that I may bow before the Lord.” 26 And Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you. For you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” 27 As Samuel turned to go away, Saul seized the skirt of his robe, and it tore. 28 And Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you.

1 Samuel 15:22-2

Once a humble, obedient man of faith, Saul had become an arrogant, disobedient king. Right after that incident the anointing that God placed on Saul and His spirit left him. Saul was then tormented by an evil spirit. For a while the king was restless until one of his servants found a harp player named David and was able to aid the king to give him great comfort thru his music he played with his harp. Because when he played the evil spirit left Saul.

What it comes down to is that God takes care of business specially with His church. He start out in love, mercy, and will warn one before a corrective action. Why does God do this? Because he is also the God of order. Right now the church is in a state of decadence and disorder, not all but the majority are. I believe the time is now of correction is at hand. Because the church has fine tuned religion to become the mechanism for man to please man in the eyes of man replacing faith in Christ. The lifestyle of seeking to discover personally God, living a righteous life, caring about ones neighbor, and doing what is right. Where did the christian lifestyle go?

One last thing I want to point out about is Prince Jonathan, King Saul’s son. Everyone in Israel knew what Samuel prophesied to Saul in 1 Samuel 15:22-28. Before Saul, Samuel lead Israel. Israel’s government was a theocracy. So everyone knew it was a big deal on what he told Saul because every also knew he was a true prophet of God. Jonathan knew of what has been prophesied of his father and took it to heart. When Jonathan met David and their bond grew he knew in his heart that God had chosen another rather than his father to be the next King of Israel. When he discovered that the anointing was on David, he did not retaliate against him for he knew that if God choose him how he could go against God if he is just a man.

The anointing that was once his father’s now is on David, but a much stronger one. It was the same anointing that enabled David to kill Goliath, and go against impossible odds in battles which he had seen first had in combat. He also took note that David married his sister Michal. He was family and his bond with David was of trust, honesty and deep admiration for each other. So when the time came when his father Saul wanted to kill David because of jealousy that he had the anointing to become the next King of Israel. Jonathan stood in the way to protect David just as David would have done for Jonathan when things got serious.

25 The king sat on his seat, as at other times, on the seat by the wall. Jonathan sat opposite,[a] and Abner sat by Saul’s side, but David’s place was empty. 26 Yet Saul did not say anything that day, for he thought, “Something has happened to him. He is not clean; surely he is not clean.” 27 But on the second day, the day after the new moon, David’s place was empty. And Saul said to Jonathan his son, “Why has not the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?” 28 Jonathan answered Saul, “David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem. 29 He said, ‘Let me go, for our clan holds a sacrifice in the city, and my brother has commanded me to be there. So now, if I have found favor in your eyes, let me get away and see my brothers.’ For this reason he has not come to the king’s table.” 30 Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman, do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness? 31 For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Therefore send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.” 32 Then Jonathan answered Saul his father, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?” 33 But Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him. So Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death. 34 And Jonathan rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had disgraced him.

1 Samuel 20:25-34

At the end of the conflict between Saul and David. What ended up happening is that all of King Saul’s sons died in battle including Jonathan. When Saul heard what had happened he took his own life in the battlefield. The actions of Saul caused much harm towards his family. What one reaps one sows. David took it very bad the news specially about Jonathan. Before Saul’s jealousy got the best of him. Both him and David had a good relationship. He was also his mentor. (Saul should of taken to heart in a repentant humble way what God had told him because of his disobedience to Him he was taking away Israel from him)

17 And he said to him, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Saul my father also knows this.”

1 Samuel 23:17

Years later David sought out and took care of Jonathan’s disabled son, Mephibosheth. David never forgot his vow to Jonathan. David told Mephibosheth to not be afraid. “I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul and you will always eat at my table” (2 Samuel 9:7). When Mephibosheth came before David he thought he was going to kill him and thought very low of himself. He was told lies during his upbringing about David.

To conclude religion goes no where and faith goes a long way in the eyes of God. Again faith and religion comes down to one foundational principle which is a foundational base which is righteousness. If in a christian who asked Jesus into their heart. If the fruits of the spirit are not present in that individual specially righteousness. Is he a christian? Can a christian call themselves a christian and at the same time do wrong and believe that God is on their side? Ask King Saul. Or ask King David when he intentionally tried to hide a wrong by killing another woman’s husband so he could have her?